Category:Science and technology

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Australian Mitchell Dean wins Honolulu Triathlon

Monday, May 15, 2006

Australian Mitchell Dean won the Honolulu Triathlon on Sunday, defeating American Manuel Huerta by five seconds to win the event in 1 hour, 46 minutes, and 55 seconds.

Huerta came in second at 1 hour and 47 minutes flat, and Haven Barnes finished third at 1 hour, 47 minutes, and 6 seconds.

In the women’s race, Jasmine Oeinck of Littleton, Colorado won in 1 hour, 56 minutes, and 21 seconds. Sarah Groff finished second in 1 hour, 57 minutes, and 18 seconds; and Sara McLarty finished third in 1 hour, 58 minutes, and 8 seconds.

Dean and Oeinck both earned US$3,000 for their victories.

About 900 triathletes entered the event, which includes a 1.5 km swim at Ala Moana Beach Park just west of Waikiki, a 40 km out-and-back bicycle leg along Nimitz Highway to Aloha Stadium, and a 10 km run around Ala Moana Beach Park and Kewalo Basin. About 250 fewer athletes entered this year, a drop attributed to local triathletes concerned about water quality after the recent sewage spill in nearby Ala Wai Canal.

This year’s course was changed from last year’s amid complaints from East Honolulu residents frustrated with the number of sporting events scheduled in the area, including the Honolulu Marathon.

The Honolulu Triathlon hosted the 2004 U.S. Olympic triathlon trials, and was the only International Triathlon Union World Cup event in the United States in 2005. It is one of four such qualifying events in the U.S. this year.

On the campaign trail in the USA, July 2016

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The following is the third edition of a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2016 presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after an overview of the month’s biggest stories.

In this month’s edition on the campaign trail: two individuals previously interviewed by Wikinews announce their candidacies for the Reform Party presidential nomination; a former Republican Congressman comments on the Republican National Convention; and Wikinews interviews an historic Democratic National Convention speaker.

Contents

  • 1 Summary
    • 1.1 RNC
    • 1.2 DNC
  • 2 Reform Party race features two Wikinews interviewees
  • 3 Former Congressman responds to Cruz RNC speech
  • 4 Wikinews interviews history-making DNC speaker
  • 5 Related articles
  • 6 Sources

Endangered Luzon Buttonquail photographed alive by Philippines documentary

Sunday, February 22, 2009

According to ornithologists, a rare Philippines buttonquail feared to have gone extinct was recently documented alive by a cameraman inadvertently filming a local market, right before it was sold and headed for the cooking pot. Scientists had suspected the species—listed as “data deficient” on the 2008 International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List Category—was extinct.

Last month, native bird trappers snared and successfully caught the Luzon Buttonquail (Turnix worcesteri or Worcester’s buttonquail) in Dalton Pass, a cold and wind-swept bird passageway in the Caraballo Mountains, in Nueva Vizcaya, located between Cordillera Central and Sierra Madre mountain ranges, in Northern Luzon.

The rare species, previously known to birders only through drawings based on dead museum specimens collected several decades ago, was identified in a documentary filmed in the Philippines called Bye-Bye Birdie.

British birder and WBCP member Desmond Allen was watching a January 26 DVD-video of a documentary, Bye-Bye Birdie, when he recognized the bird in a still image of the credits that lasted less than a second. Allen created a screenshot, which was photographed by their birder-companion, Arnel Telesforo, also a WBCP member,in Nueva Vizcaya’s poultry market, before it was cooked and eaten.

i-Witness: The GMA Documentaries, a Philippine documentary news and public affairs television show aired by GMA Network, had incorporated Telesforo’s photographs and video footage of the live bird in the documentary, that was created by the TV crew led by Mr Howie Severino. The Philippine Network had not realized what they filmed until Allen had informed the crew of interesting discovery.

Mr Severino and the crew were at that time, in Dalton Pass to film “akik”, the traditional practice of trapping wild birds with nets by first attracting them with bright lights on moonless nights. “I’m shocked. I don’t know of any other photos of this. No bird watchers have ever given convincing reports that they have seen it at all… This is an exciting discovery,” said Allen.

The Luzon Buttonquail was only known through an illustration in the authoritative book by Robert S. Kennedy, et al, A Guide to the Birds of the Philippines. This birders “bible” includes a drawing based on the skins of dead specimens collected a century ago, whereas the otherwise comprehensive image bank of the Oriental Bird Club does not contain a single image of the Worcester’s Buttonquail.

“With the photograph and the promise of more sightings in the wild, we can see the living bill, the eye color, the feathers, rather than just the mushed-up museum skin,” exclaimed Allen, who has been birdwatching for fifty years, fifteen in the Philippines, and has an extensive collection of bird calls on his ipod. He has also spotted the Oriental (or Manchurian) Bush Warbler, another rare bird which he has not seen in the Philippines.

“We are ecstatic that this rarely seen species was photographed by accident. It may be the only photo of this poorly known bird. But I also feel sad that the locals do not value the biodiversity around them and that this bird was sold for only P10 and headed for the cooking pot,” Wild Bird Club of the Philippines (WBCP) president Mike Lu said. “Much more has to be done in creating conservation awareness and local consciousness about our unique threatened bird fauna. This should be an easy task for the local governments assisted by the DENR. What if this was the last of its species?” Lu added.

“This is a very important finding. Once you don’t see a bird species in a generation, you start to wonder if it’s extinct, and for this bird species we simply do not know its status at all,” said Arne Jensen, a Danish ornithologist and biodiversity expert, and WBCP Records Committee head.

According to the WBCP, the Worcester’s buttonquail was first described based on specimens bought in Quinta Market in Quiapo, Manila in 1902, and was named after Dean Conant Worcester.

Since then just a few single specimens have been photographed and filmed from Nueva Vizcaya and Benguet, and lately, in 2007, from Mountain Province by the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Illinois.

Dean Conant Worcester, D.Sc., F.R.G.S. was an American zoologist, public official, and authority on the Philippines, born at Thetford, Vermont, and educated at the University of Michigan (A.B., 1889).

From 1899 to 1901 he was a member of the United States Philippine Commission; thenceforth until 1913 he served as secretary of the interior for the Philippine Insular Government. In 1910, he founded the Philippine General Hospital, which has become the hospital for the poor and the sick.

In October, 2004, at the request of Mr Moises Butic, Lamut CENR Officer, Mr Jon Hornbuckle, of Grove Road, Sheffield, has conducted a short investigation into bird-trapping in Ifugao, Mountain Province, Banaue Mount Polis, Sagada and Dalton Pass, in Nueva Vizcaya.

“Prices ranged from 100 pesos for a Fruit-Dove to 300 pesos for a Metallic Pigeon. Other species that are caught from time to time include Flame-breasted Fruit-Dove and Luzon Bleeding-heart; on one occasion, around 50 of the latter were trapped! All other trapped birds are eaten,” said Hornbuckle. “The main trapping season is November to February. Birds are caught at the lights using butterfly-catching type nets. Quails and Buttonquails were more often shot in the fields at this time, rather than caught, and occasionally included the rare Luzon (Worcester’s) Buttonquail, which is only known from dead specimens, and is a threatened bird species reported from Dalton Pass,” he added.

In August, 1929, Richard C. McGregor and Leon L. Gardner of the Cooper Ornithological Society compiled a book entitled Philippine Bird Traps. The authors described the Luzon Buttonquail as “very rare,” having only encountered it twice, once in August and once in September.

“They are caught with a scoop net from the back of a carabao. Filipino hunters snared them, baiting with branches of artificial red peppers made of sealing wax,” wrote McGregor and Leon L. Gardner. “The various ingenious and effectual devices used by Filipinos for bird-trapping include [the] ‘Teepee Trap’ which consists of a conical tepee, woven of split bamboo and rattan about 3 feet high and 3 feet across at the base, with a fairly narrow entrance. ‘Spring Snares’ were also used, where a slip noose fastened to a strongly bent bamboo or other elastic branch, which is released by a trigger, which is usually the perch of the trap,” their book explained.

A passage from the bird-trap book, which explains why Filipinos had eaten these endangered bird species, goes as follows:

Thousands of birds appear annually in the markets of the Philippine Islands. Snipe, quails, wild ducks, silvereyes, weavers, rails, Java sparrows, parrakeets, doves, fruit pigeons, and many more are found commonly. Some of these are vended in the streets as cage birds; many are sold for food. Most of them are living; practically none has been shot. How are these birds obtained? The people possess almost no firearms, and most of them could ill afford the cost of shells alone. Nevertheless, birds are readily secured and abundantly exposed for sale. In a land which does not raise enough produce to support itself, where the quest for food is the main occupation of life, where the frog in the roadside puddle is angled, the minnow in the brook seined, and the all-consuming locust itself consumed, it is not surprising (though regrettable) that birds are considered largely in the light of dietary additions.Philippine Bird Traps, by Richard C. McGregor and Leon L. Gardner, 1930 Cooper Ornithological Society

A global review of threatened species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) indicates drastic decline of animal and plant life. This includes a quarter of all mammals, one out of eight birds, one out of three amphibians and 70 percent of plants.

The report, Red List of Threatened Species, is published by IUCN every year. Additionally, a global assessment of the health of the world’s species is released once in four years. The data is compiled by 1,700 experts from 130 countries. The key findings of the report were announced at the World Conservation Congress held in Barcelona, Spain.

The survey includes 44,838 species of wild fauna and flora, out of which 16,928 species are threatened with extinction. Among the threatened, 3,246 are tagged critically endangered, the highest category of threat. Another 4,770 species are endangered and 8,912 vulnerable to extinction.

Environmental scientists say they have concrete evidence that the planet is undergoing the “largest mass extinction in 65 million years”. Leading environmental scientist Professor Norman Myers says the Earth is experiencing its “Sixth Extinction.”

Scientists forecast that up to five million species will be lost this century. “We are well into the opening phase of a mass extinction of species. There are about 10 million species on earth. If we carry on as we are, we could lose half of all those 10 million species,” Myers said.

Scientists are warning that by the end of this century, the planet could lose up to half its species, and that these extinctions will alter not only biological diversity but also the evolutionary processes itself. They state that human activities have brought our planet to the point of biotic crisis.

In 1993, Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson estimated that the planet is losing 30,000 species per year – around three species per hour. Some biologists have begun to feel that the biodiversity crisis dubbed the “Sixth Extinction” is even more severe, and more imminent, than Wilson had expected.

The Luzon Buttonquail (Turnix worcesteri) is a species of bird in the Turnicidae family. It is endemic to the island of Luzon in the Philippines, where it is known from just six localities thereof. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical high-altitude grassland, in the highlands of the Cordillera Central, although records are from 150-1,250 m, and the possibility that it frequents forested (non-grassland) habitats cannot be discounted.

The buttonquails or hemipodes are a small family of birds which resemble, but are unrelated to, the true quails. They inhabit warm grasslands in Asia, Africa, and Australia. They are assumed to be intra-island migrants, and breed somewhere in northern Luzon in April-June and that at least some birds disperse southwards in the period July-March.

These Turnicidae are small, drab, running birds, which avoid flying. The female is the more brightly coloured of the sexes, and initiates courtship. Unusually, the buttonquails are polyandrous, with the females circulating among several males and expelling rival females from her territory. Both sexes cooperate in building a nest in the earth, but only the male incubates the eggs and tends the young.

Called “Pugo” (quail) by natives, these birds inhabit rice paddies and scrub lands near farm areas because of the abundance of seeds and insects that they feed on regularly. These birds are characterized by their black heads with white spots, a brown or fawn colored body and yellow legs on males and the females are brown with white and black spots.

These birds are very secretive, choosing to make small path ways through the rice fields, which unfortunately leads to their deaths as well, they are hunted by children and young men by means of setting spring traps along their usual path ways.

Buttonquails are a notoriously cryptic and unobtrusive family of birds, and the species could conceivably occur in reasonable numbers somewhere. They are included in the 2008 IUCN Red List Category (as evaluated by BirdLife International IUCN Red List of Threatened Species). They are also considered as Vulnerable species by IUCN and BirdLife International, since these species is judged to have a ten percent chance of going extinct in the next one hundred years.

New fossils from 10 million year old ape found in Ethiopia

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Researchers say that new, ten million-year-old fossils found in Ethiopia, prove that the theory that humans may have evolved from a species of great apes eight million years ago, may not be true, but that humans may have split from apes as long as 10.5 million years ago.

At least nine fossilized teeth, one canine tooth and eight molars, of a previously unknown species of apes found in Africa were discovered by a team of researchers from Ethiopia and Japan who then compared the 3-D make up of the teeth to other fossils that date back as far as 8 million years and found that the fossils are likely a “direct ancestor” of apes currently living in Africa and that the new ape fossils were that of a species of gorilla who ate mostly plants high in fiber.

Current fossils and research say that the evolutionary split from apes to humans occurred at least eight million years ago. The new fossils say that the split may have happened as long as 10.5 million years ago.

“Based on this fossil, that means the split is much earlier than has been anticipated by the molecular evidence. That means everything has to be put back,” said researcher at the Rift Valley Research Service in Ethiopia and a co-author of the study, Berhane Asfaw.

Despite the finds, other researchers are not convinced that the findings are correct.

“It is stretching the evidence to base a time scale for the evolution of the great apes on this new fossil. These structures appear on at least three independent lineages of apes, including gorillas, and they could relate to a dietary shift rather than indicating a new genetic trait,” said a Professor at the London Natural History Museum in the United Kingdom, Peter Andrews who also added, “but the fossil evidence for the evolution of our closest living relatives, the great apes, is almost non-existent.

Researchers have named the newly discovered species Cororapithecus abyssinicus whose remains were found in the Afar Region of Ethiopia, the same place where the remains of Lucy were discovered in 1974.

F1: Massa wins 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix, Hamilton wins championship

Monday, November 3, 2008

Ferrari driver Felipe Massa won yesterday’s FIA Formula One (F1) 2008 Grande Prêmio Santander Brazilian Grand Prix at Autódromo José Carlos Pace, São Paulo, Brazil.

Lewis Hamilton, who drives for McLaren, was able to hold on to take the F1 Driver’s Championship. He had a seven point lead in the season standings entering the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Fernando Alonso came second while his Renault team mate Nelson Piquet Jr. slipped in the Senna’s S-curve and broke his car’s rear due to the wet track.

Massa’s teammate Kimi Räikkönen came third.

On the final lap, Sebastian Vettel passed Lewis Hamilton, with help from the lapped Kubica, seemingly taking the championship chance from the McLaren driver.

However, in the short straight before the final corner “Juncao”,Timo Glock lost traction due to being on dry weather tyres in the wet conditions and lost his position to Vettel. Hamilton also passed him to win the Drivers’ championship of the 2008 Formula One season.

Massa missed out on the season title by just one point. Ferrari maintained the lead over McLaren to win the F1 Constructors’ Championship.

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Why Catalogues are Essential for your Brand and Products?Catalogues are the powerful way of appealing the prospective customers. Catalogues have proved their significance over the years in terms of tried and tested marketing and advertising material. Designing catalogues is one of the best ways to display your brand and products in front of the potential customers.However, there is another aspect attached to with the product catalogues or magazines. Although, they have the potential to add new dimension to your product or services, however, if they lack the required look and feel to impress the people, the whole purpose and investment go in vain. Hence, its not just about designing or preparing a Catalogue, you should ensure that you get it designed by the most efficient and experienced Advertising and Modeling agency. A well-designed and created catalogue can immensely contribute in terms of perfect branding of your product and consequently, boosting your sales. However, if you have not selected the Advertising and Modeling agency for your product Catalogue or Magazine shoot, you may consider Majesty Advertising- a leading Product and Fashion Photography Company in Delhi.Majesty Advertising- Giving New Dimension to your Product or Brand EndorsementThe Majesty Advertising Fashion is one of the foremost Services for Product and Fashion Photography in Delhi. It provides all the key services for advertising and branding via print media. With an experienced of over two decades in the industry, it has achieved great milestones over the years in terms of providing tremendous recognition to the brands and products of its clients through vibrant and appealing magazine and product Catalog Shoot in Delhi NCR and other parts of India. Key Servicing being offered by Majesty Advertising1. Creative Print Media Services2. Magazine and Catalog Design3. Brochure and Catalog Shoot4. Fashion / Advertising / Product Photography 5. Male / Female / Child ModelsMajesty Advertising has successfully contributed to the branding and marketing success of over 500 clients all across the globe. Providing Male/Female/Child modelsIt is not only offers excellent photography services, but also offers wide range of model management for male, female and child models. It provides all the professionals associated with advertising and modeling genre, i.e. photographer, makeup & hair stylist, and fashion stylist etc. So, if you are all set to design or prepare a Product Catalogue or Magazine for branding and advertising, get in touch with Majesty Advertising for customized Product and Fashion photography services.

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PBS show asserts greenhouse gases, atmospheric pollutants dimming future

Saturday, April 22, 2006

This week, the Public Broadcasting Service aired a NOVA program titled “Dimming the Earth”, which presented research by leading scientists on the complex systems of our global climate and human activity’s effect on it. One of the largest interactions (or “inputs”) humans have with the atmosphere is the ever-increasing use of fossil fuels. Consumption has risen 2% per year for this decade.

Fossil fuels burnt in factories and automobiles send their waste into our atmosphere in two forms. The first is CO2 and other greenhouse gases, which have received substantial attention in the last few years because of the way they trap heat in the atmosphere. The second is the tiny particles of sulfur dioxide, soot and ash, which scientists call aerosols (basically smog). Research into understanding the negative health effects of air pollution has resulted in the development of catalytic converters for cars as well as devices to remove particulate solids from industrial waste before it reaches the air.

More recently, atmospheric scientists have come upon the phenomenon of the reduction of direct sunlight reaching Earth’s surface— observing a nearly a 5% decline between 1960 and 1990, with evidence of a recovery since then. This has been dubbed the “global dimming” effect, and is probably due to the way these aerosols act upon clouds. It is important to realise that this does not represent a net loss of this much sunshine to the climate system – if so, large temperature declines would have been observed. Instead, the sunshine is absorbed elsewhere in the system, with a much smaller net loss.

Clouds form when moisture gathers around airborne particles, such as pollen or dust. Clouds formed by the aerosol particles emitted by fossil fuel consumption are made of many more tiny droplets than “natural” clouds. These smog-created clouds have two notable effects: they shield sunlight from reaching Earth’s surface and, due to water’s reflective nature, the millions of tiny droplets suspended in them reflect light back into space, allowing even less light to reach Earth.

Many scientists now believe that global dimming caused by these pollutants has mitigated the temperature rises brought about by global warming. Over the last thirty years, Earth’s temperature has increased by about 0.5 oC.

In the absence of global dimming, however, the Earth might be 0.3 oC warmer than it currently is, suggesting that a “tug-of-war” exists between greenhouse gases and particulates released by burning fossil fuels. Efforts to mitigate the human health dangers of smog have allowed more heat into our atmosphere and brought about a sharper increase in global warming.

Dr. James E. Hansen, professor at Columbia University and the head of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies [1], believes that if we continue on our current pattern, this warming could be as much as five degrees in the next thirty years and ten to fourteen degrees over the course of the century. Such a temperature rise would devastate life on Earth, likely bringing on a cascade of self-reinforcing warming effects. Earth’s forests drying and burning, a steady thawing of the Greenland and arctic ice sheets, and, most dangerous of all, a release of the methane hydrates that are now frozen at the bottom of the oceans, could remake the planet into something inhospitable to human life. Dr. Hansen warns that, according to his research, man has just 10 years to reduce greenhouse gases before global warming and other responses to human activity by Earth’s climate reach a “tipping point”, becoming unstoppable.

Category:Health

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  • 20 May 2018: Hawaii’s K?lauea volcano releases ash plumes to 30,000 feet, prompting aviation alerts
  • 25 January 2018: Healthy cloned monkeys born in Shanghai
  • 17 January 2018: British surfers catch more than waves: Scientists find antibiotic-resistant bacteria
  • 15 December 2017: England: Baby born with heart outside body operated on; surviving, three weeks after birth
  • 20 October 2017: Arrangement of light receptors in the eye may cause dyslexia, scientists say
  • 27 July 2017: Publisher withdraws book about Nelson Mandela’s final days after family complaint
  • 28 April 2017: Shrink-wrapped sheep survive: Researchers say ‘Biobag’ artificial uterus, successful on lambs, may one day be suitable for use on premature human babies
  • 16 April 2017: Canada to legalise marijuana to ‘make it more difficult for kids to access’
  • 27 March 2017: Numerous home pregnancy tests recalled after false negative results reported
  • 9 March 2017: Scientists say excess cerebrospinal fluid may serve as early sign of autism
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CEO of GM outlines plan for “New GM” after auto company declared bankruptcy

Thursday, June 4, 2009

In a New York press conference at 16:15 UTC, June 1st, Fritz Henderson, the Chief Executive Officer of General Motors, which filed for bankruptcy and Chapter 11 protection from its creditors earlier today, outlined a plan for what he called a “New GM”.

Speaking to the press under safe harbor provisions of U.S. law, Henderson described the events of today as a “defining moment” in the history of General Motors. Speaking to the public he said that “The GM that let you down is history,” and described a “New GM” that he expected to result from the bankruptcy process.

Henderson stated that he envisioned the bankruptcy process would take between 60 and 90 days. He stressed several times his view that the process would be one that is executed quickly, saying that not just a sense of urgency but “pure unadulterated speed” was his expectation of the process. He emphasized that “GM remains open for business” during the bankruptcy period, continuing to sell and to support its products, and that day one motions had been filed in the bankruptcy court in order to allow this.

Regarding the bankruptcy process he said, “We will do it right. And we will do it once.”

He stated that the plan for General Motors had the support of the United Auto Workers union, the Canadian Auto Workers union, the GM VEBA, and a majority of the unsecured bondholders of GM. He also mentioned that GM had already received €1.5 million in bridge financing from the German government.

In response to questions about the possibility of the United States federal government, a majority shareholder in the restructured company, dictating future product development and strategy, such as the sale of more fuel-efficient and green vehicles; he first observed that the federal government had already stated to him that it had “no real interest in running our business” and that he expected that still to be his job. Of the specific hypothetical scenario where the management of GM wants to make one type of car, because it thinks that it is the right thing for the business, and the U.S. government wants to make another type of car, he stated that “I don’t think it’s going to happen.” Expanding on that point he stated that he expected the “New GM” to focus upon “highly fuel-efficient and green technology”, and that operating both in accordance with U.S. environmental laws and in response to customer demand would naturally result in the New GM producing the types of vehicles that the U.S. government would encourage.

The “New GM” he also expected to focus on “four core brands”, and will size its dealership to match that. He stated that GM would offer a “deferred termination” package to dealers, to allow them to cease dealing in GM vehicles in a managed and gradual way.

He stated that the bankruptcy filings did not cover General Motors’ businesses in Latin America, Europe and the Middle East, and Asia and the Pacific. Of GM’s profitable ventures in China, specifically, he stated that they were “a critical part of the New GM”. In response to questions of whether the New GM would import cars from China to the U.S., he stated the formative company’s core principle that “We build where we sell” applied in both directions, with GM building in China to sell in China and building in the U.S. to sell in the U.S., stating that this shortened supply chains.

He declined to predict when the New GM would return to profitability, stating that the goal was rather to lower the break-even EBIT point for the company. He also declined to speculate upon when the U.S. government would sell its stake in the company, saying that that was a question “better addressed to the U.S. Treasury”, and merely saying that he expected it to be “years, not months” when the U.S. Treasury felt it would give “the right return for taxpayers.”