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Crews rescue parachutist dangling from Arizona power lines

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Crews rescue parachutist dangling from Arizona power lines

A military parachutist who dropped onto high-voltage power lines in southern Arizona had to dangle for several hours before he could be safely rescued by firefighters and utility crews.

Firefighters arranged to have the lines de-energized before crews using a ladder truck could get near the parachutist and pull off the rescue Friday, Eloy Fire District Assistant Chief Robert Maestas said. He called the man “extremely lucky.”

The jump went awry south of Arizona City near a small private airport that had been the planned landing point for the training jump. That area of southern Arizona is popular for parachute jumps, including training for military personnel.

The parachutist was making in the jump with other members of a small group of military personnel from a foreign country, Ian Mackenzie, military operations director for Airborne Support Group, an Arizona company that runs the drop zone, told The Associated Press on Saturday.

Citing security reasons, Mackenzie declined to identify the foreign country.

A statement issued by the fire district said crews had to carefully disentangle the parachutist from the power lines “as a quick release would have caused a slingshot effect on the power lines already under tension.”

“On one hand, we didn’t want him to make too much contact with the energized power equipment, and then, on the other hand, we didn’t want him to fall,” Maestas told KSAZ-TV.

The man was taken to a hospital for evaluation, but he wasn’t seriously injured, Maestas said. “He was awake and alert and extremely lucky.”

The lines are owned by the Western Area Power Administration, which is run by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Casa Grande Dispatch reported.

Arizona City is nearly 60 miles northwest of Tucson.

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NASA releases 3D video of Ingenuity Mars Helicopter flight

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NASA releases 3D video of Ingenuity Mars Helicopter flight

NASA released a video this week giving viewers the chance to witness the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter’s historic third flight in 3D.

In a release on Wednesday, the agency said that the video was meant to approximate standing on the Martian planet and witnessing the action “firsthand.”

“When NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter took to the Martian skies on its third flight on April 25, the agency’s Perseverance rover was there to capture the historic moment. Now NASA engineers have rendered the flight in 3D, lending dramatic depth to the flight as the helicopter ascends, hovers, then zooms laterally off-screen before returning for a pinpoint landing,” the agency said.

The Perseverance Mars rover’s zoomable dual-camera Mastcam-Z instrument produced the video and other images NASA says provide “key data” for navigation and aids in scientists’ efforts to locate rocket targets – and potentially ancient microbial life.

NASA also announced Tuesday that the rover’s robotic arm had begun conducting science operations, including a close examination of the planet’s terrain and environment. 

The Mastcam-Z imager took shots of reddish-brown Martian rocks that the team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California is trying to classify as sedimentary or igneous, or formed by volcanic activity.

JPL imaging scientist Justin Maki led the team that put together the video of the rotorcraft’s flight, according to the release, which noted that frames of the video had been reprojected to optimize viewing in an anaglyph.

The video was a first for Maki, who had reportedly been creating 3D imaging of Mars since his days as a graduate student. 

“The Mastcam-Z video capability was inherited from the Mars Science Laboratory MARDI (Mars Descent Imager) camera,” he said. “To be reusing this capability on a new mission by acquiring 3D video of a helicopter flying above the surface of Mars is just spectacular.” 

Perseverance’s drivers and arm operators reportedly use a “more sophisticated” 3D system, but Maki’s team members have also been reviewing still 3D images to map out rover drives.

“A helicopter flying on Mars opens a new era for Mars exploration. It’s a great demonstration of a new technology for exploration,” he said. “With each flight we open up more possibilities.”

Ingenuity’s April 25 flight was one of five successful experimental endeavors – with one failed attempt.

In April, NASA announced that the helicopter would enter a new operations demonstration phase, having already proven that powered, controlled flight is possible on the red planet.

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Today is tax deadline day for 2021

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Today is tax deadline day for 2021

The tax man cometh. 

Monday is the deadline for filing federal taxes without incurring a penalty, unless you seek an extension. 

This past spring, the IRS pushed back its usual April 15 deadline by more than a month, saying it wanted to be understanding given the coronavirus pandemic. 

“This continues to be a tough time for many people, and the IRS wants to continue to do everything possible to help taxpayers navigate the unusual circumstances related to the pandemic,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a statement at the time.

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Jeffrey Epstein gave advice to Bill Gates about ending his marriage

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Jeffrey Epstein gave advice to Bill Gates about ending his marriage

Jeffrey Epstein reportedly gave advice to Bill Gates about ending his marriage with his now-estranged wife Melinda during meetings the two had at the pedophile’s Manhattan townhouse.

Epstein, who killed himself in August 2019 in a lower Manhattan jail cell, gave some pointers to Gates about what the Microsoft co-founder called his “toxic” marriage to Melinda, two sources told The Daily Beast.

Epstein and Gates met dozens of times from 2011 to 2014, the report said, with Gates treating the get-togethers as an escape, a person who attended some of the meetings told the publication.

Most of the gatherings occurred at Epstein’s Upper East Side pad.

“[It’s] not an overstatement. Going to Jeffrey’s was a respite from his marriage. It was a way of getting away from Melinda,” a source told the outlet.

During some of the meetings, Gates spoke to Epstein about possibly getting involved with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the report said.

A spokesperson for Bill Gates refuted the allegations in a statement to The Daily Beast.

“Bill never received or solicited personal advice of any kind from Epstein — on marriage or anything else. Bill never complained about Melinda or his marriage to Epstein,” the spokesperson said.

“Your characterization of his meetings with Epstein and others about philanthropy is inaccurate, including who participated,” the spokesperson said to the outlet.

The rep also said Gates never spoke with Epstein about him possibly getting involved with the foundation.

Bill and Melinda Gates said they were ending their 27-year marriage earlier this month, saying, “We no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives.” In a divorce petition, Melinda said their marriage was “irretrievably broken.”

Melinda reportedly hired divorce attorneys in 2019, after her husband’s ties to Epstein were made public, setting in motion the couple’s divorce announcement.

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