Tag Archives | France
Soon we may have a glimpse of the world’s first star garden — imagine sitting within its confines on a summer night. BLDG BLOG writes:
An artificially excavated limestone pit in the south of France will soon host star-making technology. Construction involves inserting a supergrid of rebar into the quarried pit, securing the limestone walls with concrete foundation work, then pouring seismically-stabilized plinths that will support the so-called International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, a kind of concrete garden that produces stars.
Nestled in its semi-subterranean, mine-like site and buzzing inside with radiation-resistant robot elevators, the ITER will recreate, again and again, “the process that powers the sun and most other stars. At extremely high temperatures, hydrogen nuclei will fuse to form helium, spitting out more energy than the process consumes, something that has never yet been achieved by a human-made device.”
Reports Eleanor Beardsley for NPR:
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In France, an elderly man is fighting to make a formal break with the Catholic Church. He’s taken the church to court over its refusal to let him nullify his baptism, in a case that could have far-reaching effects.
Seventy-one-year-old Rene LeBouvier’s parents and his brother are buried in a churchyard in the tiny village of Fleury in northwest France. He himself was baptized in the Romanesque stone church and attended mass here as a boy.
LeBouvier says this rural area is still conservative and very Catholic, but nothing like it used to be. Back then, he says, you couldn’t even get credit at the bakery if you didn’t go to mass every Sunday.
LeBouvier grew up in that world and says his mother once hoped he’d become a priest. But his views began to change in the 1970s, when he was introduced to free thinkers.
One can only hope he doesn’t become some sort of perverse martyr. From AFP:
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A self-proclaimed Al-Qaeda militant died in a hail of bullets on Thursday as he jumped out of an apartment window at the end of a 32-hour siege in southern France.
Mohamed Merah, the main suspect in a wave of shootings that killed seven people, had tried to blast his way out of the siege in the city of Toulouse after members of an elite force known as RAID entered his flat.
But Interior Minister Claude Gueant said the 23-year-old had been found dead on the ground in a dramatic end to the lengthy standoff.
“The killer came out from the bathroom shooting very violently. The bursts of gunfire were frequent and hard,” Gueant said. “A RAID officer who is used to this kind of thing told me that he had never seen such a violent assault.
Still available in the good ole USofA … Jessica Ravitz and Saskya Vandoorne report on a bizarre iPhone app for CNN:
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“Jew or not Jew?”: That is just part of the question.
An iPhone app bearing this name has been yanked from Apple’s App Store in France amid threats of a lawsuit and demands for its removal.
The app, still available elsewhere, pulls together a database of thousands of famous Jews – including movie stars, musicians, Nobel Prize winners and more – and offers insights into their backgrounds. Jewish mother? Jewish father? A convert? For $1.99 in the United States, app owners can know.
In an iTunes store description, it says: “Hey, did you know that Bob Dylan is Jewish? Of course I did! But was Marilyn Monroe really Jewish? And what about Harrison Ford? How many times have we had this conversation without being able to know for sure?
A Trip to the Moon (French: Le Voyage dans la lune) is a 1902 French black-and-white silent science fiction film. The film was written and directed by Georges Méliès, assisted by his brother Gaston. It is based loosely on two popular novels of the time: From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne and The First Men in the Moon by H. G. Wells. It is the first science fiction film and uses innovative animation and special effects, including the well-known image of the spaceship landing in the moon's eye.
In an attempt to reduce the amount of ‘free publicity’ given to social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, the French have banned any mention of specific sites in their TV and radio broadcasts. One of the reasons for this ban is to allow a fair platform for smaller networking companies in the future. BBC News reports:
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French TV and radio presenters have been banned from mentioning social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter on air.
The country’s broadcasting watchdog has ruled that doing so would break guidelines on advertising.
Stations can still talk about services without naming them, it said.
The French government is seen by many internet watchers as overly keen to regulate in relation to new media and the web.
In a ruling, published online, the Conseil Superieur de l’Audiovisuel (CSA), said: “Referring viewers or listeners to the page of the social network without mentioning it has the character of information.
IKEA’s business has been booming. Although no one was significantly injured, this coordinated attack had alarm clocks exploding in three different European countries. Via Reuters:
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French, Belgian and Dutch police have launched investigations after minor explosions struck IKEA [IKEA.UL] stores in each country late on Monday in what appears to have been a coordinated attack.
No one was seriously hurt in the blasts at the world’s biggest furniture retailer, although two workers in Belgium suffered minor injuries.
Rigged alarm clocks blew up in IKEA stores in Ghent in Belgium and Lille in France, and there was an explosion in a bin outside the IKEA store in Eindhoven in the Netherlands.
The alarm clocks were linked to small amounts of gunpowder, and prosecutors said they did not think that the bombers had intended to cause significant injury.
“Federal police with dogs did a sweep of other stores but there was nothing suspect that was found,” An Schoonjans, a Ghent prosecutor, told Reuters.
Here’s a story that illustrates the chasm between how France and America handle men, women and rape. The French elite are outraged over what they see as American vulgarities surrounding the treatment of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former IMF chief and putative 2012 presidential frontrunner, accused of raping a 32-year-old Sofitel chambermaid in Manhattan last weekend. Among the "barbaric" American practices under critique by Parisians: showing photos of the accused in handcuffs; marching him through a scrum of photographers on the way to court; and pillorying him tabloid style — the NY Post called him "a horny toad,” for example. As GlobalPost has reported, French law restricts some media coverage of alleged perpetrators prior to conviction, including publication of images showing the accused in handcuffs, to preserve the dignity of the innocent.