6A - Thursday, October 18, 2012
The Michigan Daily - michiganclaily.com
6A - Thursday, October18, 2012 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom
Syria's wealthy businesses
feel impact of deadly civil war
Pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria jumps out of his capsule during the final mannedflightfor Red Bull Stratos.
Skydiver's feat could influence
spacesuit design for astronauts
aim to improve
survival rate of
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP)
- Now that the dust has settled
in the New Mexico desert where
supersonic skydiver "Fearless
Felix" Baumgartner landed safely
on his feet, researchers are exhil-
arated over the possibility his
exploit could someday help save
the lives of pilots and space travel-
ers in a disaster.
jump Sunday from a balloon
24 miles above Earth yielded a
wealth of information about the
punishing effects of extreme
speed and altitude on the human
body - insights that could inform
the development of improved
spacesuits, new training proce-
dures and emergency medical
A NASA engineer who spe-
cializes in astronaut escape sys-
tems said Baumgartner's mission
"gives us a good foundation" for
improving the odds of survival
for professional astronauts, space
tourists and high-altitude pilots
"What I would hope is that,
perhaps, this is just the first step
of many, many advancements to
come" in emergency bailouts,
said Dustin Gohmert, who heads
NASA's crew survival engineer-
ing office at the Johnson Space
Center in Houston.
In an interview after
Baumgartner became the first
skydiver to break the speed
of sound, Gohmert noted that
researchers have spent decades
working on self-contained space
escape systems, with no signifi-
cant advances since Joe Kittinger
in 1960 jumped from 19.5 miles up
and reached 614 mph, records that
stood until Sunday.
Baumgartner's feat was spon-
sored by energy drink maker
Red Bull, and NASA had no role.
But Dr. Jonathan Clark, a former
NASA flight surgeon who lost his
wife, Laurel, in the space shuttle
Columbia accident and dedi-
cated himself to improving crew
escape systems, was in charge of
Baumgartner's medical team.
And he was thrilled at how
much was learned.
By going well beyond Mach 1,
or the speed of sound, Baumgart-
ner provided even more data than
anticipated. Wearing a pressur-
ized suit and helmet, he acceler-
ated to an astonishing 834 mph
and was supersonic longer than
expected. The speed of sound at
that altitude is close to 700 mph.
"It was Mach 1.24, which is
really huge. I mean, that's a much
higher level than we'd ever antici-
pated, so we learned a lot by going
faster and higher," said Clark,
who teaches at the Baylor College
School of Medicine.
Clark said his team is still
analyzing all the medical data -
heart rate, blood pressure and the
like - collected from sensors on
During his descent through
the stratosphere, Baumgartner
went into an out-of-control spin
for about 40 seconds, experienc-
ing around 2.5 G's, or 2.5 times the
force of gravity, before stabilizing
Baumgartner's technique for
righting himself may prove useful
for companies like Virgin Galac-
tic that are developing spacecraft
that will take tourists up into
space and right back down. These
enterpriseswill needto have some
sort of emergency escape plan.
NASA's next-generation space-
ship, the Orion vehicle intended
for deep-space exploration, will
parachute home like the old-style
Mercury, Gemini and Apollo cap-
sules. The lessons learned from
Baumgartner's effort probably
won't apply directly to the Orion
design, since it will be safer for
astronauts to remain in the vessel
all the way back to Earth, Gohm-
As for the now-ended shuttle
program, Columbia was travel-
ing too high and too fast during
its 2003 descent for a Baumgart-
ner-style exit to have helped the
seven astronauts. The spaceship
broke apart about 40 miles up
while traveling more than Mach
17, unleashing forces that tore the
crew members' bodies apart.
CAIRO (AP) - Syria's wealthy,
long cultivated by President
Bashar Assad as a support for his
es pummeled by the bloody civil
war. Factories have been burned
down or damaged in fighting.
International sanctions restrict
their finances. Some warn that
their companies are in danger
of going under, worsening the
country's buckling economy.
Assad may not have lost the
backing of Syria's business elite,
but some are losing faith. Many
of those who can have fled
abroad, hoping to ride out the
turmoil, which is now in its 19th
month and is only getting worse
as rebels and regime forces tear
apart the country in their fight
Several businessmen inter-
viewed by The Associated Press
say resentment is growing
against Assad over the crisis -
but they also aren't throwing
their lot in with the rebellion.
They are hunkering down, trying
to salvage their companies.
One young businessman said
his family factory in the sub-
urbs of Damascus was dam-
aged Wednesday, with windows
blown out and part of the ceiling
was destroyed when warplanes
hit rebels in a neighboring build-
ing. Its several hundred employ-
ees had to hide in the basement
until fighting eased enough that
they could be bused out to safety.
"I feel that they are both just
as bad as each other," he said of
the rebels and the government.
"I could have died today because
they (the rebels) were across
the street from us and they (the
planes) could have bombed us."
Syria's economy has been
heavily hurt by the conflict,
which activists say has left
more than 30,000 dead. Infla-
tion has risen to at least 36 per-
cent. The currency has dropped
around 50 percent, now trad-
ing at 75 pounds to the dollar
on the black market, according
to the factory owner. The gov-
ernment estimates economic
losses at $34 billion - almost
half the gross domestic prod-
uct - though the opposition
puts the losses at nearly three
times that amount. Fuel short-
ages have become widespread
as the regime burns through
hard currency to import diesel
and oil at the same time that it
finances the war effort.
Though the economic blow
has been hard, "we are not at
the stage that the rug has been
pulled from under the regime,"
said Anthony Skinner, head of
Middle East and North African
division at Maplecroft political
Assad has so far been able to
keep his head above water with
financial support from top ally
Iran, he noted.
"The question is whether this
is sustainable in the longer term'
and I don't think it is," Skinner
said. "What Assad is counting on
at present is a bare-bones econo-
my that is able to fuel his armed
The businessmen interviewed
by AP spoke on condition they
remain anonymous and that
some identifying details of their
industries not be specified for
fear of repercussions for talking
about the situation in Syria.
They all come from the coun-
try's Sunni Muslim elite, which
Assad ensured prospered as
he carried out free market
reforms over the past decade.
The reforms transformed the
long isolated nation, bring-
ing in foreign businesses and
chains and greater consumer
goods, though it also sharply
increased the gap between rich
and poor. While the rebellion
has largely been fueled by the
Sunni majority, the elite have
stuck by Assad for most of the
The businessmen say they
are caught in the middle - both
of the fighting and of Western
sanctions they say hurt them
more than the regime itself. The
civil war has made it difficult to
distribute goods since roads are
cut off, warehouses have been
shut down and 24-hour opera-
tions have been slashed to eight
hours in places where it is too
risky for employees to travel at
night. Numerous factories have
had to close or reduce produc-
tion. A pharmaceutical compa-
ny in Aleppo was also recently
burned down in the city's fight-
ing, said a businessman with
close ties to the owners.
DC Comics retain rights in fight
over Superman comic character
DC, Warner Bros.
hold all rights
to media texts,
LOS ANGELES (AP) - DC
Comics will retain its rights to
Superman after a judge ruled
Wednesday that the heirs of
one of the superhero's co-cre-
ators signed away their abil-
ity to reclaim copyrights to the
Man of Steel roughly 20 years
The ruling means that DC
Comics and its owner Warner
Bros. will retain all rights to
continue using the character
in books, films, television and
RELEASE DATE- Thursday, October 18, 2012
Los Angeles Times Daily Crossword Puzzle
Edited by Rich Norris and Joyce Nichols Lewis
1 Browns' org.
14 SS supplement,
15 Golfer who was
#1 when she
retired in 2010
16 Missouri's _
17 TUMS target
20 Modem address
23 oa hathet job
28 Burning rubber
34 Green hole
35 Wings it, musically
40 Fix-it guide
44 Like manyeBay
45 Tuscany city
46 Hum attachment?
47 Fable messages
56 He voiced Elmer
60 Leap in a tutu
63 Office purchase,
and in away,
whatcan be seen
in this puzzle's
67 Fish lacking pelvic
68 Aptlynamed bug
69 Newproduct div.
72Out of port
73 "Srange Magic'
1 Soon to happen E
2 Its name usually
has ony two or
3 Da Vinc s
4 Humanities maj.
a libraiy volume?
7 Primary arterp
80 eworking 0o
9 Dump truck
10 Israeli arms
expert __ Gal
12 Gardner who
13 Depict untairp
19 Common menu
21A la mode
26 Woodwind instr.
27 Franklin's genre
29 Mexican cheese
31 Magnum, for one
32 Krupp Workscity
33 Did Ebert's job
36 Roast hosts, for
37 Part of PBK
41 First famly
42 "Mad Money'
43 Put on the' 56 Amtyou
48 Desolate to pap
49 Poet Silverstein 57 Wide-mouthed
51 Pilgrimage to pourer
Mecca 58 limming choice,
53 Gha'scapital breitfl
54 Apple messaging 61 Marsh duck
tool 62Sailor's patron
55 Horses with 64 Plague
interspersed 65 Ending with
colored and white fluor-
hairs 66 Nutritional stat
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other mediums, including a the
film reboot planned for next
DC Comics sued the heirs
of artist Joe Shuster in 2010,
seeking a ruling that they lost
their ability to try to reclaim
the superhero's copyrights in
1992. U.S. District Court Judge
Otis Wright II agreed, stating
that Shuster's sister and broth-
er relinquished any chance to
reclaim Superman copyrights
in exchange for annual pension
payments from DC Comics.
Shuster and writer Jerry Sie-
gel created Superman, who made
his comic book debut in 1938 in
Action Comics (hash)1. Both men
battled for increased compensa-
tion for the superhero through-
out their lives and Siegel's heirs
have also foughtDC forastake in
copyrights to Superman.
Shuster's heirs had argued
that the copyright agreements
could be terminated under pro-
visions that allowed creators of
works made before 1978 a mech-
anism to reclaim their rights.
Wright ruled that the decision by
Shuster's sister to accept higher
annual payments created a new
agreement and the pre-1978
rights no longer applied.
"We respectfully disagree
with its factual and legal con-
clusions, and it is surprising
given that the judge appeared
to emphatically agree with our
position at the summary judg-
ment hearing," the Shusters'
attorney Marc Toberoff wrote in
a statement. He declined further
comment, and Warner Bros. and
its attorney Daniel Petrocelli also
declined comment on the ruling.
Toberoff had argued that
an agreement altering copy-
right interests would have been
much longer than the one-page
1992 agreement between DC
Comics and Shuster's sister,
Joan Shuster Peavy, and his
The latest Superman film,
"Man of Steel" is scheduled to
land in theaters in 2013. Direc-
tor Zach Snyder told fans ear-
lier this year at Comic-Con that
his film would make the super-
hero more relatable than previ-
ous depictions that showed him
as "a big blue Boy Scout up on
the throne and you can't really
In April, the $412 check that
DC Comics wrote to acquire
Superman and other creative
works by Shuster and Siegel
sold for $160,000 in an online
(c)2012Tribune Medari ces, I ncl .