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SpaceX deploys 60 satellites for internet service – Yahoo News Canada

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The Canadian Press

School boards struggle to find supply teachers amid rise in absences due to COVID-19

TORONTO — As several Ontario school boards grapple with a rise in teacher absences due to the COVID-19 pandemic, at least one Toronto-area board said it has had to ask administrators, specialty teachers and lunch supervisors to step in. The Toronto Catholic District school board said those measures have been taken on some occasions to “ensure the safety of students and staff” as it strives to broaden its pool of occasional, or supply, teachers. “Like many boards across the province, the TCDSB continues to bolster its occasional teacher roster but struggles to address challenges associated with increased teacher absences, greater incidences of short-term sick leave, and an unwillingness of available occasional teachers to accept daily jobs during this pandemic,” the board said in a statement Tuesday. Multiple teachers’ unions said their members are increasingly in need of leaves of absence due to mounting stress and burnout stemming from the health crisis. Illness and isolation requirements, as well as parenting and caregiving responsibilities, also contribute to absences, they said. And as more schools experience outbreaks, occasional teachers are reluctant to expose themselves to the virus, making it difficult to find replacements, said Julie Altomare-DiNunzio, president of the Toronto Elementary Catholic Teachers’ union. “It’s not that we don’t have enough occasional teachers, the issue is that they aren’t accepting the jobs … they don’t feel safe,” said Altomare-DiNunzio, whose union represents 5,000 teachers and occasional teachers working at the TCDSB. Because of COVID-19 measures on cohorting, in-person classes can’t be combined to ensure supervision when a teacher is absent, she said. And since children can’t be left unsupervised, someone already in the school – including special education or music teachers – can be called in to cover when the board can’t secure an occasional teacher, she said. “It’s a vicious circle because programs are being cancelled because there’s classes that require a teacher,” she said. Altomare-DiNunzio called the situation “untenable” and said the union will push for more schools to be closed after the spring break if cases continue to rise and more outbreaks occur. According to the latest provincial data, 997 of Ontario’s 4,828 schools – or roughly 20 per cent – have at least one reported case of COVID-19, and 48 are closed. West of Toronto, the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board has recently halted in-person learning at several schools as COVID-19 outbreaks force teachers and other staff into isolation due to stricter public health measures. Spokesman Bruce Campbell said Tuesday that 12 schools have moved classes online, two more than last week. The high level of teacher absenteeism and difficulties in finding occasional teachers have placed “immense pressure” on the board’s ability to provide safe supervision and in-person education in some schools, he said. “On a daily basis, we find ourselves unable to fill almost 50 per cent of all teaching absences in the elementary panel, because not enough occasional teachers are accepting jobs to fill in for absent teachers,” he said in an email. “In response to situations like this, we have made the decision to temporarily switch to remote-only operation at those schools until a sufficient number of staff have completed their self-isolation and can return to work, or there is sufficient occasional teacher coverage to provide safe and adequate supervision and maintain in-person learning.” The board is “exploring many options” to ensure students are properly supervised, and has adopted “non-traditional methods of student supervision,” Campbell said, though he did not elaborate on those methods. The Toronto District School Board also said it has faced “challenges” in finding occasional teachers to cover classes for those who are absent or on leave. Education Minister Stephen Lecce acknowledged Monday that staffing shortages, rather than public health concerns, have led to the closure of several schools. He stressed, however, that the government has taken steps to increase the pool of available teachers and occasional teachers by increasing the number of days retired teachers can work without affecting their pension. The province also created a new temporary certificate allowing some education students nearing the end of their studies to work as occasional teachers when no others are available. “We do not want schools to close for operational reasons,” Lecce said. Both the Elementary Teachers’ Union of Ontario and the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation said occasional teachers would be more likely to accept work if they felt safe in schools. Harvey Bischof, president of the OSSTF, said reducing class sizes, setting standards for safe ventilation and increasing asymptomatic testing in schools would go a long way towards improving confidence in school safety. Meanwhile, Karen Brown, vice-president of ETFO, said vaccinating educators would also alleviate many of those concerns, for occasional and full-time teachers alike. “Once all vulnerable populations are vaccinated, the government should provide vaccination to education workers who choose to receive it,” she said. “This is one additional way of helping to keep schools open safely and sustainably.” This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 23, 2021. Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press

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China launches second crewed mission to build space station

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China on Saturday launched a rocket carrying three astronauts – two men and one woman – to the core module of a future space station where they will live and work for six months, the longest orbit for Chinese astronauts.

A Long March-2F rocket carrying the Shenzhou-13 spacecraft, which means “Divine Vessel”, blasted off from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the northwestern province of Gansu at 12:23 a.m. (1623 GMT on Friday).

The vessel successfully docked to the port of the space station on at 6:56 a.m. (2156 GMT), and the astronauts entered the space station’s core module at 10:03 a.m., the China Manned Space Agency said.

China began constructing the space station in April with the launch of Tianhe – the first and largest of the station’s three modules. Slightly bigger than a city bus, Tianhe will be the living quarters of the completed space station.

Shenzhou-13 is the second of four crewed missions needed to complete the space station by the end of 2022. During the first crewed mission https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/science/chinese-astronauts-return-after-90-day-mission-space-station-2021-09-17 that concluded in September, three other astronauts stayed on Tianhe for 90 days.

In the latest mission, astronauts will carry out tests of the key technologies and robotics on Tianhe needed to assemble the space station, verify onboard life support systems and conduct a host of scientific experiments.

The mission commander is Zhai Zhigang, 55, from China’s first batch of astronaut trainees in the late 1990s. Born to a rural family with six children, Zhai carried out China’s first spacewalk in 2008. Shenzhou-13 was his second space mission.

“The most challenging task will be the long-term stay in orbit for six months,” Zhai told a news conference on Thursday. “It will exact higher demands (on us), both physically and psychologically.”

He was accompanied by Wang Yaping and Ye Guangfu, both 41.

Wang, also born to a rural family, is known among colleagues for her tenacity. The former air force pilot first travelled to space in 2013, to Tiangong-1, a prototype space lab.

She is China’s second female astronaut in space, following Liu Yang in 2012.

Shenzhou-13 is the first space mission for the third astronaut, Ye.

After the crew returns to Earth in April, China plans to deploy six more missions, including deliveries of the second and third space station modules and two final crewed missions.

China, barred by U.S. law from working with NASA and by extension on the International Space Station (ISS), has spent the past decade developing technologies to build its own.

With the ISS set to retire in a few years, China’s space station will become the only one in Earth’s orbit.

China’s space programme has come far since late leader Mao Zedong lamented that the country could not even launch a potato into space. China became the third country to put a man in space with its own rocket, in October 2003, following the former Soviet Union and the United States.

(Reporting by Carlos Garcia and Xihao Jiang; additional reporting by Josh Horwitz; Writing by Ryan Woo; Editing by Nick Macfie and William Mallard)

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Meteorite found in B.C. could shed light on solar system's origin says physicist – Vancouver Sun

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Peter G. Brown, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Western Ontario, says the meteorite made its fiery way to Earth on Oct. 3, after spinning out of its orbit in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, nearly 180 million kilometres away.

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LONDON, Ont. — A small, angular rock that one Canadian physicist says looks like a chunk of black cheese has the potential to help scientists understand how the early solar system formed.

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Peter G. Brown, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Western Ontario, says the meteorite made its fiery way to Earth on Oct. 3, after spinning out of its orbit in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, nearly 180 million kilometres away.

It tore through the roof of a home in Golden, B.C., narrowly missing the head a sleeping woman.

Brown says the woman has loaned the rock to the university and, for the next month or so, it will become “a small piece of a larger puzzle” as scientists “disentangle how the early solar system formed.”

He says the 4.5 billion-year-old meteorite is older than anything on Earth but is formed of minerals found here, like iron and nickel, although in much larger proportions, giving it unusual weight for a rock its size.

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The exact chemistry is still being studied, but Brown says the findings will link the rock to specific asteroids spinning beyond Mars, while his goal is to use photos of the Oct. 3 fireball to compute the meteorite’s orbit, then merge the chemical and physical data to track the rock’s origin.

It will eventually be returned to the woman whose roof it punctured, but Brown says it will first have given scientists a peek at how the asteroid belt formed, how asteroids evolved and how all that played a role in the formation of the planets.

A hole from a meteorite that fell through the roof of Ruth Hamilton’s home.
A hole from a meteorite that fell through the roof of Ruth Hamilton’s home. Photo by Ruth Hamilton /THE CANADIAN PRESS

“This piece is sort of a primitive piece of the original material that formed in the early solar system,” Brown says in an interview from his office in London, Ont.

“The sheer quantity of information that’s hidden in the rock that we can tease out, in a lot of ways it’s like a really, really dense messenger of information about the early solar system.”

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The recovery of this meteorite and the associated photos of its fireball over southwestern Canada are fairly rare, Brown says.

It happens only once every five or ten years, but he says the data produced will be combined with similar events elsewhere in the world.

“We are building up a bigger statistical collection of these sorts of samples with spatial context but each one is unique, and it certainly makes the meteorite science a lot more valuable to know what the original orbit was of the object.”

“We learn a lot of new things about the solar system each time we do this,” Brown says.

Initial analysis of the meteorite could take a few weeks to a month, but more detailed examination “could go on for years,” he says.

  1. A meteorite rests on Ruth Hamilton's bed after it crashed through her ceiling while she slept on Oct. 4.

    B.C. woman nearly hit by meteorite that crashed through bedroom ceiling: ‘I’ve never been so scared in my life’

  2. This map shows the area where dozens of small meteors likely landed in and around Golden B.C. on Oct. 3.

    Golden B.C. residents asked to search for dozens of small meteorites in and around their town

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Meteorite Hits Canadian Woman's Home – Snopes.com

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A Canadian woman had an exceedingly unlikely experience when a meteorite smashed through her roof and landed on her bed during a meteor shower on the night of Oct. 3, 2021.

Ruth Hamilton, a resident of Golden, British Columbia, told Canadian news outlet CBC on Oct. 12 that she had been sleeping during the meteor shower, just before midnight, when her dog woke her up by barking. It seems that her dog saved her life.

“The next thing was just a huge explosion and debris all over my face,” Hamilton told CBC.

Hamilton told various news outlets that the rock crashed through her roof and landed on her pillow, where her head normally rests. She was unharmed.

“I just jumped up and turned on the light, I couldn’t figure out what the heck had happened,” she told Victoria News, adding that she then called 911 and with the help of local authorities, determined that the only place the rock could have come from was above.

“I’m just totally amazed over the fact that it is a star that came out of the sky, It’s maybe billions of years old,” Hamilton stated.

Peter Brown, Canada Research Chair at Ontario’s Western University, told The Golden Star newspaper that the chances of a meteorite landing on someone’s home were 100 billion to one.

“Every meteorite is older than the oldest rocks on earth,” Brown told the Sun. “If we can study them, we can learn about how planets in the solar system formed.”

The 2.8-pound rock that crashed into Hamilton’s home was identified as part of the Oct. 3 meteor shower by Alan Hildebrand, a planetary scientist at the University of Calgary.

Scientists are asking area residents to contact them and submit any videos or pieces of meteorites that landed on the ground during the event, which was highly visible in the night sky, per the Vancouver Sun. The Sun reported the path of the event “tracked through central and southern Alberta and southeastern B.C. before making landfall in Golden.”


Sources:

Palmer, Claire. “B.C. Woman Awakes to a Hole in Her Roof and a Space Rock on Her Pillow.” Victoria News, 8 Oct. 2021, https://www.vicnews.com/news/b-c-woman-awakes-to-a-hole-in-her-roof-and-a-space-rock-on-her-pillow/.

Carrigg, David. “Golden B.C. Residents Asked to Search for Dozens of Small Meteorites in and around Their Town.” Vancouver Sun, 13 October 2021, https://vancouversun.com/news/golden-b-c-residents-asked-to-search-for-dozens-of-small-meteorites-in-and-around-their-town.

CBC. “Woman Rocked Awake by Meteorite Chunk Crashing into Her Bedroom | CBC News.” 12 October 2021, https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/meteorite-crashes-into-womans-bedroom-golden-bc-1.6207904.

Palmer, Claire. “Researcher Says Golden’s Meteor on the Pillow Was a 100 Billion to 1 Shot.” The Golden Star, 13 Oct. 2021, https://www.thegoldenstar.net/news/researcher-says-goldens-meteor-on-the-pillow-was-a-100-billion-to-1-shot/.

Neuman, Scott. “A Meteorite Crashes through a Home in Canada, Barely Missing a Woman’s Head.” NPR, 14 Oct. 2021. NPR, https://www.npr.org/2021/10/14/1045990641/meteorite-canada-british-columbia-bed.

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