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COVID-19: Okanagan resort closes temporarily after staffer tests positive – Revelstoke Review

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Sparkling Hill Resort is closing for 11 days Friday after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19.

The popular tourist destination said its immediate closure effective Friday, Oct. 30, is a proactive and precautionary measure.

“Due to the extensive COVID-19 plan in place at the resort, Interior Health confirmed there is no concern for any guests that stayed recently,” the resort said in a statement.

The individual contracted the novel coronavirus outside the resort and immediately self-isolated. Any other staff members who were in close contact with the affected member of staff have been identified and contacted by the regional health agency with information and advice.

The resort will resume operations Monday, Nov. 9.

Any guests who have upcoming reservations will be contacted and provided with options.

“The health and safety of our staff, guests and community are a top priority,” the statement reads. “While the closure is not required by Interior Health, the immediate actions are taken to ensure there is no further spread of the virus.”

In September, the resort was notified a guest that had recently visited had tested positive for COVID-19 (Sept. 3).

READ MORE: COVID-19 case confirmed at Vernon’s Sparkling Hill Resort

READ MORE: Hunters free themselves from rollover on Westside


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

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'The blob': Scientists confirm discovery of a completely new undersea species – National Post

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Deep in the dark, murky waters of our oceans, a gelatinous blob, shaped like a dislodged human molar, floats along the seabed.

Thanks to its love for extreme depths and remote oceanic corners, no one had ever seen the blob, or even knew it existed, until a team of scientists accidentally discovered it during a deep-sea dive off the coast of Puerto Rico in 2015, with help from an underwater, remotely-operated vehicle called ‘Deep Discover.’

Five years on, in a paper published this month, scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have confirmed that the blob is an entirely new species of undersea creature, Duobrachium sparksae – a never-before-seen species of jelly-like ctenophore. It’s also the first time that researchers have discovered a species using high-definition video footage only.

“It’s unique because we were able to describe a new species based entirely on high-definition video,” explained NOAA marine biologist Allen Collins in a release.

“We don’t have the same microscopes as we would in a lab, but the video can give us enough information to understand the morphology in detail, such as the location of their reproductive parts and other aspects.”

Ctenophores, also known as comb jellies, have bulbous, balloon-like bodies, from which protrude two tentacle-like strings, known as cilia. There are between 100 and 150 species of comb jellies, according to the NOAA, and despite their name, they are not at all related to jellyfish. Ctenophores, the group explains, are carnivorous, and many are highly efficient predators that eat small arthropods and many kinds of larvae.

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Massive Puerto Rico radio telescope collapses – CBC.ca

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A huge, already damaged radio telescope in Puerto Rico that has played a key role in astronomical discoveries for more than half a century completely collapsed on Tuesday.

The telescope’s 816-tonne receiver platform fell onto the reflector dish more than 122 metres below.

The U.S. National Science Foundation had earlier announced that the Arecibo Observatory would be closed. An auxiliary cable snapped in August, causing a 30-metre gash on the 305-metre-wide dish and damaging the receiver platform that hung above it. Then a main cable broke in early November.

The collapse stunned many scientists who had relied on what was until recently the largest radio telescope in the world.

“It sounded like a rumble. I knew exactly what it was,” said Jonathan Friedman, who worked for 26 years as a senior research associate at the observatory and still lives near it. “I was screaming. Personally, I was out of control…. I don’t have words to express it. It’s a very deep, terrible feeling.”

Friedman ran up a small hill near his home and confirmed his suspicions: A cloud of dust hung in the air where the structure once stood, demolishing hopes held by some scientists that the telescope could somehow be repaired.

“It’s a huge loss,” said Carmen Pantoja, an astronomer and professor at the University of Puerto Rico who used the telescope for her doctorate. “It was a chapter of my life.”

Scientists worldwide had been petitioning U.S. officials and others to reverse the NSF’s decision to close the observatory. The NSF said at the time that it intended to eventually reopen the visitor centre and restore operations at the observatory’s remaining assets, including its two LIDAR facilities used for upper atmospheric and ionospheric research, including analyzing cloud cover and precipitation data.

The telescope was built in the 1960s with money from the Defence Department amid a push to develop anti-ballistic missile defences. It had endured hurricanes, tropical humidity and a recent string of earthquakes in its 57 years of operation.

The telescope has been used to track asteroids on a path to Earth, conduct research that led to a Nobel Prize and determine if a planet is potentially habitable. It also served as a training ground for graduate students and drew about 90,000 visitors a year.

“I am one of those students who visited it when young and got inspired,” said Abel Mendez, a physics and astrobiology professor at the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo who has used the telescope for research. “The world without the observatory loses, but Puerto Rico loses even more.”

He last used the telescope on Aug. 6, just days before a socket holding the auxiliary cable that snapped failed in what experts believe could be a manufacturing error. The National Science Foundation, which owns the observatory that is managed by the University of Central Florida, said crews who evaluated the structure after the first incident determined that the remaining cables could handle the additional weight.

But on Nov. 6, another cable broke.

A spokesperson for the observatory said there would be no immediate comment, and a spokesperson for the University of Central Florida did not return requests for comment.

Scientists had used the telescope to study pulsars to detect gravitational waves as well as search for neutral hydrogen, which can reveal how certain cosmic structures are formed. About 250 scientists worldwide had been using the observatory when it closed in August, including Mendez, who was studying stars to detect habitable planets.

“I’m trying to recover,” he said. “I am still very much affected.”

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Chinese robot probe sent to retrieve lunar rocks lands on the moon, officials say – Global News

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A Chinese robot probe sent to return lunar rocks to Earth for the first time since the 1970s landed on the moon Tuesday, the government announced, adding to a string of increasingly bold space missions by Beijing.

The Chang’e 5 probe “successfully landed” at its planned site, state TV and news agencies reported, citing the China National Space Administration. They didn’t immediately announce any more details.

The probe, launched Nov. 24 from the tropical southern island of Hainan, is the latest venture by a Chinese space program that fired a human into orbit in 2003, has a probe en route to Mars and aims eventually to land a human on the moon.

Read more:
China successfully launches fast-tracked mission to land rover on Mars

Plans call for the robot lander to drill into the lunar surface and load 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) of rocks and debris into an ascent stage that will blast off to return them to Earth.

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If it succeeds, it will be the first time scientists have obtained fresh samples of lunar rocks since a Soviet probe in the 1970s.

The Chang’e 5 flight is China’s third successful lunar landing. Its predecessor, Chang’e 4, became the first probe to land on the moon’s little-explored far side.

The latest flight includes collaboration with the European Space Agency, which is helping to monitor the mission.


Click to play video 'China making renewed commitment to lunar missions'



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China making renewed commitment to lunar missions


China making renewed commitment to lunar missions – Aug 16, 2018

China’s space program has proceeded more cautiously than the U.S.-Soviet space race of the 1960s, which was marked by fatalities and launch failures.

In 2003, China became the third country to fire an astronaut into orbit on its own after the Soviet Union and the United States. It also launched a crewed space station.

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Space officials say they hope eventually to land a human on the moon but no time line or other details have been announced.

China, along with neighbours Japan and India, also has joined the growing race to explore Mars.

The Tianwen 1 probe launched in July is en route to the red planet carrying a lander and a robot rover to search for water.

© 2020 The Canadian Press

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