Pt 2: Hubble & Science - Yesterday, the Canadarm aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis gingerly plucked the Hubble Space Telescope from the depths of space and maneuvered it into its payload bay, 560 kilometres above the Earth's surface. Now comes the delicate business of five separate space-walks to install new cameras and other equipment, followed by a series of complex repairs in what amounts to an orbiting garage.
Pt 3: Letters - It's Thursday and that's mail day and our Friday host Bob McKeown joined Anna Maria in studio to help with the mail.
It's Thursday May 14th.
Space Shuttle Atlantis is on a mission to refit the Hubble Space Telescope to further refine and expand its ability to see into deep space.
Currently, the Hubble's next mission will be to find what black hole Canadian science and technology funding disappeared into.
This is The Current.
Sri Lanka - LTTE
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam remain cornered ... trapped in a shrinking five-square kilometre piece of land in Sri Lanka's northeast. And trapped alongside those fighters are an estimated 50,000 civilians.
The Sri Lankan Army continues its offensive, Human Rights Watch is accusing both sides of treating the civilians like "cannon fodder." And now US President Barak Obama has urged both sides to stop. They each welcomed that but each ignored his criticism of their own side.
Yesterday, doctors at the only functioning hospital in Mullaitivu district say the hospital was shelled by government troops for a second time this week. On top of that, the international community is worried that the LTTE may still be recruiting child soldiers.
This morning Reuters is reporting that thousands of Sri Lankan civilians are crossing a lagoon to espcare the combat zone. They are quoting government sources for that information. We reached Sarasi Wijeratne in Columbo she is with the Internation Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
Sri Lanka - Poet
Just three years ago, the prospect of a peaceful end to Sri Lanka's civil war was still very much in play. After a six-year peace process led by mediators from Norway, representatives from the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE were set to sit down face-to-face to negotiate a peace deal. But in June of 2006, the LTTE refused to meet with the Sri Lankan Government and the whole process unraveled.
At the time, V.I.S. Jayapalan was one of the people trying to hold it together. He is a well-known Tamil poet and peace activist and he was an external consultant to the team of mediators. He now splits his time between Sri Lanka and Norway and today he was in Oslo, Norway.
Hubble & Science
Yesterday, the Canadarm aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis gingerly plucked the Hubble Space Telescope from the depths of space and maneuvered it into its payload bay, 560 kilometres above the Earth's surface. Now comes the delicate business of five separate space-walks to install new cameras and other equipment, followed by a series of complex repairs in what amounts to an orbiting garage.
Clearly, this is not your average oil change. Think of it as doing watch repairs in zero gravity while wearing hockey gloves. It's a high-risk mission that will cost about a Billion US dollars. But it's essential if the Hubble's 19-year-life is to be extended until 2014 or beyond.
The Hubble has cost some 10 Billion dollars over the course of its life ... a pretty hefty price tag, especially in the midst of a global recession. But its proponents say that's a small price to pay for something that has fundamentally changed our understanding of the universe and our place in it.
For some perspective on what we've learned from the Hubble over the years, we were joined by Frank Florian. He's the Director of Space Science at the Telus World of Science and he was in our Edmonton studio. Ron Pearlman is a Professor of Biology at York University in Toronto and member of the council of the Royal Canadian Institute for the Advancement of Science. And Gwyn Morgan was the founding CEO of the energy company EnCana.
It's Thursday and that's mail day and our Friday host Bob McKeown joined Anna Maria in studio to help with the mail.
Wait Times: Waiting for medical care can multiply health problems for patients -- as stress, increased medication and fatigue factor into their health equation. Monday on The Current, we took a closer look at how long Canadians are waiting for tests and treatment. We spoke to Dr. Michael Rachlis, a health police analyst at the University of Toronto. He pointed to queuing theory as something that could solve wait time problems. This prompted some mail in our inbox.
One listener had a particular interest in our story on Monday. Roy Romanow was the head of the Royal Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada. His report was released in 2002. And he was in our Saskatoon studio.
Running Shoes: On Monday's program we examined whether running shoes are really helping or hurting runners. Well there are lots of runners out there and we got an earful in the mail. Not only are runners debating the merits of which shoe fits best - or no shoe at all - it seems opinions on the best way to actually run is just as divisive.
One listener swears by a program called Evolution Running.
And another letter referred to ChiRunning which applies the priciples of T'ai Chi to running. It promises injury free and effortless running. We wanted to find out more so we sent out freelance producer Kristy Rich to figure out what its all about.
Babylon Tourism: Yesterday we brought you the story of Iraq re-opening the ancient site of Babylon and welcoming tourists to the country. We spoke with Geoff Hann, the Managing Director of Hinterland Travel. He took a group of tourists to Iraq two months ago, the first time since 2003. Well, Roberta Wong is a Vancouver traveller who was one of eight people on Geoff Hann's tour in March. We wanted to know what that was like, and she was on phone.
Update on Doc: The Current aired a documentary in December that told the story of a young photographer named Warren Zinn. In 2003 Zinn was working in Iraq when he snapped what would turn out to be an iconic photo. The image was of an American soldier in full army fatigues carrying to safety an injured Iraqi boy and the picture ended up on the cover of newspapers all over the world. The radio documentary chronicled the photographer's relationship with soldier in the picture, Joseph Dwyer from his overnight media stardom to his depression upon returning to the US. to his eventual suicide.
The Current's documentary was called Out Of Frame. And Halifax actor/playwright Charles Mancini has since turned that radio story into a play by the same name. The play opened last night at the Neptune Theatre in Halifax. The Current caught up with Charles at rehearsals this week.
Out of Frame - the play based on the radio documentary runs until May 17th at the Neptune Studio Theatre in Halifax.