December 15, 2015

Top News Stories –

Spacecraft carrying Russian, American, Briton docks with space station –
A Soyuz spacecraft successfully delivered a Russian, an American and a Briton to the International Space Station on Tuesday after blasting off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The otherwise smooth journey ended with a slightly delayed docking at 1733 GMT as Russian commander Yuri Malenchenko aborted the automatic procedure and manually guided the spacecraft towards the station. Alongside Malenchenko, a veteran of long-duration space flights who is on his fourth space mission, were NASA astronaut Tim Kopra and Briton Tim Peake, both former Apache military helicopter pilots. Peake, 43, a former army major who is on a six-month mission for the European Space Agency (ESA), became the first astronaut representing the British government and wearing a Union Jack flag on his arm. The first Briton in space was Helen Sharman, who travelled on a Soviet spacecraft for eight days in 1991. [Reuters]
Timothy_PeakeTimothy Peake

Star Wars: Force Awakens gets world premiere –
The hotly anticipated latest addition in the Star Wars franchise, The Force Awakens, has had its world premiere in Los Angeles. Stars from the original series including Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher joined newcomers including John Boyega and Daisy Ridley. The plot of the film remains a closely-guarded secret and a media embargo on reviews is in place until Wednesday. Fans had been camping out for days outside the TCL Chinese Theatre, which along with other LA venues screened the seventh Star Wars instalment. Security was tight, with a giant tent shrouding the red carpet. The TCL Chinese Theatre – formerly known as Grauman’s Chinese Theatre – showed the first Star Wars movie in 1977. [BBC]

‘Late’ Madonna rebuffs fans over Manchester gig complaints –
Pop singer Madonna has told fans she is no “diva” after technical hitches meant she was late on stage for a gig in Manchester. The 57-year-old artist made the comments on Monday at the Manchester Arena during her Rebel Heart tour. “If you diva bitches want to keep complaining about it, then don’t come to my show,” she said. She added: “I’m not back there eating chocolate and filing my nails and getting my extensions done, all right?” However, the singer told fans: “Tonight, our video crashed, and we had no video, and our back-up file was – I don’t know – it was compromised, put it like that… So praise the Lord and thank you God but that is why we are late, all right? For no selfish diva bitch reason.” [BBC] In July 2015 Madonna compared herself to Pablo Picasso.

World’s longest-surviving castaway sued for $1 million after being accused of ‘eating his colleague’ –
A fisherman who stunned the world by surviving 15 months lost at sea is being sued for $1 million (£650,000) by the family of his dead colleague, who accuse him of eating their relative to ensure his own survival. Salvador Alvarenga, 36, is the only man known to have survived for over a year at sea. And when he set sail from the coast of Mexico in November 2012, he thought he was setting out on a two-day fishing trip, having paid 22-year-old Ezequiel Cordoba $50 to accompany him. But a vicious storm with 10ft waves knocked out the 25ft boat’s communication systems, and washed their supplies overboard. The pair survived for several months by catching fish and birds, and drinking turtle blood and rainwater. He eventually died, extracting promises from Mr Alvarenga not to eat his corpse, and to find Cordoba’s mother and tell her what happened. [Daily Telegraph]

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The Physics of Car Crashes

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