VICTORIA, B.C. – The Government of British Columbia has appointed Northern Health’s current interim chair Colleen Nyce as its new board chair, and appointed Frank Everitt as a board member.“Nyce and Everitt have been instrumental in providing leadership to their communities for many years and now they will lend their expertise to Northern Health’s board,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix. “Their previous experience will help them play a key role in contributing to a strong public health-care system to benefit residents of northern British Columbia. The values held by our newest members will help showcase the North as an attractive choice for families, doctors and students to live, work and study.”Dix also thanked previous Northern Health board member Pat Bell for his service.- Advertisement –
PricePEAKPEAKREGREGREGREGPEAK For the most up-to-date numbers, check out our Crowd Calendar.WeatherCool, wetter weather continues this week. In fact, only one day is predicted to reach 70, and there is at least a chance of rain every day. Make sure you dress for the weather! ShowSatSunMonTueWedThuFri As always, it’s wise to double check the weather as the day of your visit approaches. Check out the most up-to-date forecast here.ShowsFrom an entertainment standpoint, the main attractions are Disneyland’s holiday shows, like the new Mickey’s Happy Holidays parade at Disney’s California Adventure and Disneyland Park’s A Christmas Fantasy Parade and Believe… In Holiday Magic fireworks. Detailed show schedules, including smaller diversions like The Disneyland Band, can be found here. SatSunMonTuesWedThurFri World of Color2211112 Disneyland8-128-128-108-108-108-108-12 SL SL Admission and HoursFor those of you buying tickets as day guests, single-day tickets during the week are Peak pricing ($149/$141) on the weekends (including Friday) and Regular Price ($129/$122) the remaining days. Regular park hours are as follows this week: A Christmas Fantasy Parade2222222 DisneylandSL SC DX FXSL SC California Adventure8-108-108-98-98-98-98-10 Fantasmic!2200002 For early admission, the parks will open one hour early for eligible guests at Disneyland Park Saturday, Tuesday, and Thursday, and at Disney California Adventure Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Resort guests can take advantage of these hours every day of their stay for Extra Magic Hours, while guests eligible for Magic Mornings can use that benefit one day at Disneyland Park only. Full park hours can be found by clicking on each date in the Crowd Calendar.Passholder blockouts ease off a bit this week. Flex reservations are required on Saturday, Sundays and Friday, and are unavailable for Saturday as this goes to press; check here for the most up-to-date information. Share This!With Thanksgiving in the rear view mirror, you can look forward to low crowds (and, sadly, rain) at Disneyland Resort this week. Read on to find out about this and more in this week’s Disneyland news.Special Events and NotesWe are in the thick of the holiday season now, highlighted at Disneyland by the Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure, which is a celebration of holiday-themed food, drink, and entertainment! New this year is Mickey’s Happy Holidays, a twice daily parade/dance party of characters. Over at Disneyland Park, in addition to holiday decor galore, A Christmas Fantasy Parade and Believe… In Holiday Magic fireworks are now running nightly, and holiday merchandise is available for sale in the parks as well. In addition to the Festival and the special holiday shows, make sure you check out the ¡Viva Navidad! celebration featuring traditional costumes, music, and entertainment, and a street party with the Three Caballeros. Some attractions are also getting into the holiday spirit — in addition to Haunted Mansion Holiday, which continues, Cars Land favorites transform to Luigi’s Joy to the Whirl and Mater’s Jingle Jamboree, and its a small world gets its annual holiday overlay. Finally, there’s a new Let It Glow tree display distributed throughout the Downtown Disney District. You can find more information about all of the holiday offerings here.Frozen is now in theaters, but guests experiencing Frozen — Live at the Hyperion will still have an opportunity to check out a sneak peek of Frozen 2.CrowdsCrowds dip noticeably as compared to last week, as kids are back in school until winter break. Only Saturday is predicted to have crowds of any consequence. California AdventureSL SC DX FXSL SC Believe… Holiday Fireworks1111111 SatSunMonTuesWedThurFri Mickey’s Happy Holidays2222222 Early EntryDLDCADCADLDCADLDCA Key: SL: Southern California Select Annual Passport; SC: Southern California Annual Passport; DX: Deluxe Annual Passport; SG: Signature Annual Passport: FX: FlexRefurbishmentsEverything is showing open this week at Disneyland Park. Over at California Adventure, the Red Car Trolley remains dark until next spring. As always, however, refurbishments can pop up unexpectedly, so check out our refurbishments page to make sure your favorite ride is still running, and for details on exactly what will be down and for how long.That should do it for this week’s news. Check back next week and every week to find out what’s coming down the pike. Got questions? Aware of anything else that prospective guests should know about? Let us know in the comments.
It’s 4:35pm at work on a sunny Friday afternoon. You’ve been on hold with customer service on the phone for the past 15 minutes trying to get an issue resolved. You tried to get the problem resolved on social media earlier in the day, but no one from the company replied to your Facebook post or tweet. Your family is home, packed and ready to leave for the cottage as soon as you get home from work. Now all you can do is wait for their customer representative to get back to you. In fact, can you remember the last time you contacted customer service about an issue and received a solution quickly without any hassle? Why does getting customer support have to be so hard?In a recent study by Ovum and LogMeIn, customers and call center managers were asked about customer service experiences and support channels. The infographic from LogMeIn highlights the results from the study. One takeaway didn’t surprise me: customers want quick answers and access to customer support agents. What did surprise me was the number of customers who stopped doing business with a company following a bad experience: 76 percent. That’s three out of four customers. That’s scary.While there’s a lot of frustrations voiced from customers in the study, contact center managers are listening. They’re working to improve access and offer additional customer support options: over 20 percent will invest in live chat in 2015.I’m a big fan of live chat, using it weekly to for customer support. It’s handy, fast, and I like getting a quick answer. Even better, I don’t have to invest a lot of time waiting for an answer. Check out more of the highlights from the infographic.Source: LogMeIn: Where Contact Centers are Missing the Mark with Customer Care. Where Contact Centers are Missing the Mark with Customer Care: Customer Loyalty is at RiskSeventy-six percent have stopped doing business with a company following a bad customer experience.Customers are frustrated by long wait times and lack of access to live agents.48 percent believe that the ability to reach the right representative has worsened over the last two years43 percent stated that automated telephony systems are annoyingBusinesses want to improve wait times and allow customers to connect quickly.76 percent of call centers are tracking customer satisfaction28 percent of contact center managers will prioritize response time improvements and invest in web and mobile toolsLive chat is becoming an important support channel for customers.The number of customers using live chat has doubled in two years, from 14 percent to 28 percentOver 20 percent of contact center managers will invest in live chat in 2015Many customers research information online before speaking to a contact center agent.If customers knew they could get a resolution to their issues on the first attempt, over 70 percent would choose a channel other than phone61 percent use the web to find information before calling a contact centerBut only 11 percent successfully resolve their issues using websites or FAQ pagesThis drops to just 5 percent that have resolved issues on social mediaUltimately customers want fast resolutions and access to agents.On average, customers expect a response within four minutes for chat and phone interactions64 percent want easier access to representativesAs long as customers get personalized assistance to pressing issues and resolutions, they will be satisfiedLive agent access could include interactions in any channel from chat to social media to phoneShare this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like Loading…RelatedState of Multichannel Customer Service in 2015 [Infographic]What caught my attention when I discovered this customer service infographic was the heading in the top right section: Customer Service is not a Department. It’s Everyone’s Job. That’s what I’ve said for years. It’s not one person’s job; it’s the goal for everyone in the company to make sure…In “Business”How Customer Service Can Impact Your Business [Infographic]Providing good customer service to all of your customers is key to building your business. Customers who receive excellent service will improve the bottom line of your business by returning to you with repeat business. Four out of five people are more likely to work with a business after receiving…In “Business”Improve Customer Service With a Social Customer Care Policy [Infographic]Over the past several years, more companies have turned to social media to provide support for their customers. And it’s no surprise. Social media has become one of the first touchpoints for customers who no longer pick up a phone to contact customer support. I’ve done my share of asking…In “Social media”
Is Uber’s recognition of the Independent Driver’s Guild (IDG) in New York a step in the right direction or an evil red herring? It depends, of course, on which lawyer you ask.One the one hand, lawyers for the IDG say the agreement with Uber will guarantee drivers monthly meetings to raise concerns, create an appeals process for driver termination decisions and provide legal services and benefits to drivers at discounted rates.Some view this agreement as a positive development – the forging of an unlikely and unsteady alliance. The agreement will provide some protection for drivers while also helping Uber stem the flow of litigation. Uber also gains an ally in its attempt to repeal a New York law taxing “black car” rides 9%, but which exempts traditional yellow taxi cabs.On the other side of the debate, we have Senator Elizabeth Warren, who says the “gig economy” is merely a symptom of the erosion of worker rights over time. Taking on-demand taxi gigs is a sort of last-ditch effort to create economic security and autonomy by workers who’ve been marginalized and squeezed by corporate America while all the wealth flowed to the top. She may have a point.To be fair to Uber, unionizing gig economy workers is really difficult. It starts with the mentality of such workers, having watched as their influence over wages at the corporate level dissipated steadily over the years and as traditional trade unions were pushed out. Union membership rates have been declining consistently for about 50 years. And during that time, wages for the vast majority of Americans remained stagnant while the C suite got paid. About that, Senator Warren is correct.Now, however, workers have the technology to fight back. They can use apps like Uber and Lyft to provide transportation, Miniluxe or Shortcut to provide onsite hairstyling and even source temporary staffing apps like Shiftgig and TaskRabbit to find short-term jobs. They can choose their own wages, essentially, by choosing how often they want to work. The catch, of course, is that workers who want both the flexibility and the money are hung out to dry when they have a medical or financial crisis because their “employer” doesn’t provide health insurance. Not to mention, the lack of a practical, portable retirement savings account (in the absence of employer-sponsored 401(k)s for contractors) means those workers may be left hanging in retirement as well.The other catch is that being a contractor (employee?) for one of these companies means your choices about work are going to be very personal. The amount of individual control workers have over these apps and their work schedules makes it very difficult to get them to agree on broad labor terms, let alone specifics like benefit plans or wages. That makes it extremely impractical and difficult to get them to band together and that is why the formation of the IDG and its recognition by Uber is a big development, albeit on a small scale.As usual, the solution is a compromise and perhaps a reimagining of some labor regulations to reflect modern working conditions. Uber drivers are not, after all, gathering at some shady parking lot in downtown San Francisco at 5 a.m. every day to wait for work. They’re scanning smartphones for gigs in their downtime between hipster beard trimming class and Yoga.Senator Warren says there should be three major objectives for policy makers, legislators and worker unions in trailblazing the gig economy’s path when it comes to labor regulations: Improve the safety net by providing catastrophic insurance coverage, Make healthcare benefits portable; and Make retirement benefits portable.Those goals remain lofty and far off for now as the IDG won’t do much of that for Uber drivers in New York. But Uber’s recognition of the IDG is a small, tentative step in the right direction.Discrimination NationColleen Dominguez’s sex and age discrimination suit against Fox Sports 1 (FS1) will proceed to trial after the employer’s motion to dismiss the case on First Amendment grounds was denied. FS1 argued that it withheld assignments from Dominguez based on its right to craft its own programming message, but according to the court, that argument completely misses the point of the lawsuit. If crafting a corporate message results in the marginalization of individuals based on their sex or age, it’s still illegal.In this case, Dominguez claims she was asked to get an “Erin Andrews makeover” (complete with a facelift and hair extensions). This was in addition to numerous other comments and critiques about her physical appearance, issues which were not common with male or younger female colleagues. Now that the case can proceed, that will open up the “discovery” phase, during which time lawyers for Dominguez may get to see exactly what FS1 had to say about her when it chose not to let her cover big assignments like the 2015 Super Bowl, for example. Uh oh.Good news for employers that have faced frivolous or otherwise “unreasonable” EEOC lawsuits. In CRST Van Expedited v. EEOC, the Supreme Court held that the employer may recover up to $4 million in attorney’s fees from the EEOC after defending itself against a charge of systemic sexual harassment. During the investigation and resulting lawsuit, the EEOC (allegedly) failed to make witnesses available for depositions and otherwise allowed the statute of limitations on claims to expire in some cases.In these types of situations, attorney’s fees may be recoverable, but something tells me that pretty much every single employer that has ever been sued would view the lawsuit as “unreasonable.” Tread carefully when seeking attorney’s fees as it’s immensely difficult to prevail on those types of cases and you will accrue additional attorney’s fees in the process of trying to collect them. Gotta love lawyers!Compliance CarouselNew York State is suing Domino’s (corporate) together with several Domino’s franchisees, claiming that they collaborated to underpay workers by about $565,000 in 10 different stores. To bring corporate Domino’s into the case, the state will have to make the “joint employer” argument which means proving allegations that corporate Domino’s micromanaged employee relations issues at the franchisee level.The “ignorance of the law” defense rarely, if ever, works in court. In Craig v. Bridges Bros. Trucking, the 6th Circuit ruled that ignorance of FLSA regulations did not excuse an employer’s failure to pay proper overtime. The district court had ruled in the employer’s favor because the employee in question had failed to notify her employer about the missed overtime payments. The 6th Circuit found, however, that the employer likely knew about its overtime pay obligation to the employee because of some internal communications about capping her work hours.How is this song related to HR?In the last edition of HR Intel, we asked you how “Candidate” by Joy Division is related to HR. This song is very much about politics, but you don’t need much experience in the modern work setting to know that politics are hyper-relevant. Not only do people bring their political persuasions into the workplace, but office politics add a whole other layer of complexity.Candidate is about the struggles that go on between individuals or groups with different value systems and ultimately, a recognition that we’re all different and unique, yet we have similar objectives in that we need to work together. Sounds like something relatable to HR.We leave you with “Burn the Witch” by Radiohead from their new album: A Moon Shaped Pool.Tell us how you think this song is related to HR in the comments section below.Originally posted on the XpertHR blog.
After 4 years of mulling, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is preparing to tighten rules designed to protect people who participate in research funded by the federal government and many private entities. HHS, along with 15 other agencies, released a Federal Register notice today describing the intended changes, which include tighter consent requirements for the reuse of stored blood or tissue in new research.The requirements, collectively known as the Common Rule, have been in place since 1991. But the expanding scale of research involving human subjects—enabled in part by more sophisticated ways to analyze biospecimens and by the large-scale collection of digital health records—has inspired an overhaul. In 2011, HHS announced plans to tighten the rules, and began collecting public feedback.The notice released today follows through on several ideas floated in that announcement. One major change would require researchers to get a participant’s consent to analyze donated biospecimens in future studies that are unrelated to the original research. For now, researchers can make use of stored samples leftover from previous studies or clinical tests without explicit consent by stripping them of any personal identifying information. That sidesteps the typical consent by “taking the human out of human subjects research,” says Kathy Hudson, deputy director for science, outreach, and policy at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland. But “that is not really consistent with the views we have about the partnership we have with research participants,” she adds. The new rule would “show respect” for these subjects, she says, by asking them to give broad consent to any unspecified future research use of their blood or tissue.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Another section aims to simplify the informed consent forms given to potential subjects in a study. The notice calls for making these long and complicated forms clearer by requiring a few essential components in the body of the form, and by relegating other details to an appendix.Not all of the revisions raise the ethical bar. Another set of changes would exempt eight categories of study from Common Rule requirements. The exempted research includes studies conducted as part of a public health surveillance effort and social science studies that involve collecting oral histories and biographies. Another simplifying measure would require that a research project spanning multiple institutions be consolidated under a single institutional review board.The move comes as NIH itself is gearing up for an ambitious bit of human subjects research—a longitudinal study of at least 1 million volunteers as part of the White House’s precision medicine initiative. Hudson says she expects the new rules will make it easier to make use of samples and data from that broad cohort as the study evolves.After the notice is officially published in the Federal Register next week, there will be a 90-day comment period before the release of a final rule.
zoom Japanese shipping company Nisshin Shipping has been linked to an order for up to seven 82,000 DWT bulkers at China’s Jiangsu Hantong Ship Heavy Industries.The fleet modernization deal, dated last week, comprises five firm orders plus two options, according to the data provided by VesselsValue.The firm Panamax bulkers, valued at USD 24 million a piece, are scheduled for delivery in 2018, while the optional units would be handed over in 2019.Including the latest order, the company has 16 newbuilds on order: five chemical tankers at compatriot Usuki Zosensho, four LR1 tankers at Korea’s Sungdong Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering, and two more bulkers at China’s Jiangsu Hantong and Jiangmen Nanyang, respectively.Out of the above total, six ships are to join Nisshin’s fleet by the end of this year.As World Maritime News reported earlier, the company was busy over the recent period shedding some of its second-hand tonnage, including five Panamax bulkers since December 2016.World Maritime News Staff
A 67-year-old Nepali woman honoured with one of India’s most prestigious awards for freeing thousands of girls from sexual slavery said on Friday it was the unbearable pain of victims that has motivated her to fight trafficking.Anuradha Koirala, founder of the anti-trafficking charity Maiti Nepal, will be presented the Padma Shri – one of the highest civilian awards – by India’s president at a ceremony in March or April, said a government statement this week.”Rescued and rehabilitated 12,000 sex trafficking victims and prevented over 45,000 from being trafficked,” an infographic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s website read, listing the names and achievements of some of the 89 Padma award winners.The small, frail teacher-turned-activist said she was encouraged by the award, and it would make her work harder to stop girls being bought and sold in the sex trade.”The pain of victims has motivated me to continue my work,” Koirala told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.”When I see their pain – their mental pain as well as physical pain – it is so troubling that I cannot turn myself away. This gives me strength to fight and root this crime out.”South Asia is one of the fastest-growing region for human trafficking in the world, according to the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime.Anti-slavery activists say thousands of people mostly from poor villages are trafficked from countries such as Nepal and Bangladesh to India by gangs who sell them into bonded labour or hire them out to unscrupulous employers.Many women and girls are sold into brothels. Others end up as domestic workers or labourers in brick kilns, roadside restaurants or small textile and embroidery workshops.India is home to 40 percent of the world’s 46 million slaves, according to the 2016 Global Slavery Index, produced by the Australia-based Walk Free Foundation.Koirala left her two-decade-long career as a teacher in 1993 and founded Maiti, which means “Mother’s Home” in Nepali, to support victims rescued from sex trafficking who face social stigma and are ostracised by their families and communities.Over the last 24 years, Maiti has established a shelter in Kathmandu, eleven transit homes along the Nepal-India border, three prevention homes where high-risk girls receive counselling and training in skills such as sewing and candle making, two hospitals and a school which teaches around 1,000 children.The organisation also conducts public awareness campaigns on human trafficking, provides legal support to trafficked and victims, and works with police and government officials to rescue victims and apprehend perpetrators.Koirala, affectionately know as “dijju” which means “elder sister” in Nepali, has won numerous awards from across the world for her work, including from the United Nations. In 2010, she was awarded the CNN Heroes Award.”Unless families treat their sons and daughters equally it is very hard to end trafficking and slavery,” she said.The Padma awards recognise achievements from social work and public affairs to medicine and literature. The recipients are announced on Jan. 25, the eve of India’s Republic Day.
A minor girl was allegedly raped by a neighbour at Hugulia village in Daudkandi upazila on Sunday, reports UNB.The alleged rapist was identified as Sheikh Farid, 50, son of late Fazar Ali of Hugulia village.Officer-in-charge of Daudkandi police station Md Rafiqul Islam said Farid picked up the victim from their courtyard and took her to an isolated place where he raped her.Locals rescued the victim after hearing her screams and informed police. She was taken to Comilla Medical College Hospital for medical test, he said, adding that they were trying to arrest the alleged rapist.
Artist’s impression of SS 433. Credit: NASA The only known supercritical accretor in the Milky Way galaxy is SS 433, a highly exotic eclipsing binary star system. Its primary object is likely a black hole. Its secondary companion is believed to be a late A-type star based on its light spectrum. The secondary in SS 433 is losing mass into an accretion disk as it spirals in toward the primary, which is slowly consuming it. In turn, as the accretion disc spirals in toward the primary, it becomes super-heated and emits intense X-rays. Physicists are fascinated by the exotic nature of SS 433, but also by its strong resemblance to ultraluminous X-ray sources (ULXs), which are astronomical sources of X-rays that are less luminous than the nuclei of active galaxies, but are more luminous than any known stellar process. These are sources of X-rays that exceed the Eddington luminosities of neutron stars and stellar black holes. Recently, a group of researchers from Russia and Japan have compared the optical spectra of ULXs to SS 433 and have determined that ULXs with X-ray luminosities of ~1040 erg S-1 must constitute a homogenous class of objects that most likely have SCADs. They have published their results in Nature Physics. The most popular models for ULXs have either intermediate mass black holes with standard accretion disks or stellar-mass black holes with accretion disk luminosity exceeding the Eddington limit. Based on X-ray data alone, it is not possible to distinguish these models, so the researchers have turned to optical spectroscopy to find unique information about ULXs. Using the 8.2 meter Subaru Telescope of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, located at the Mauna Kea Observatory on Hawaii, they obtained high-quality spectroscopic data from a number of ULX sources.They have determined that ULX spectra are quite similar to late nitrogen Wolf-Rayet stars (WNLs), which exhibit broad emissions of ionized nitrogen and helium or carbon. They have very high surface temperatures and produce intense stellar winds. The spectra from ULXs also resemble those of luminous blue variable stars (LBVs) in the compact stages of stellar development. Because the physical conditions of its disk wind may be similar to WNL stars, SS 433 also bears a strong resemblance to ULXs. The authors write, “Such spectra of high luminosities with prominent He II emission lines have never been observed from any stellar-mass black hole X-ray binaries, except for SS 433 and those having WNL donors [secondaries losing mass to the accretion disks of primaries in binary systems].” They exclude a number of stellar cases, including ULXs with WNL donors that exhibit stellar winds with the observed spectra. Wind terminal velocity is determined by surface gravity, making it difficult to explain the rapid variability of the He II line width in the recorded spectra. The authors conclude that SS 433 is intrinsically the same as ULXs, but is an extreme case with a particularly high mass accretion rate from its secondary, which accounts for the presence of its persistent jet outflows. © 2015 Phys.org Journal information: Nature Physics Explore further More information: “Supercritical accretion disks in ultraluminous X-ray sources and SS 433.” Nature Physics (2015) DOI: 10.1038/nphys3348AbstractThe black hole mass and accretion rate in ultraluminous X-ray sources (ULXs) in external galaxies, whose X-ray luminosities exceed those of the brightest black holes in our Galaxy by hundreds and thousands of times1, 2, is an unsolved problem. Here we report that all ULXs ever spectroscopically observed have almost the same optical spectra, apparently of WNL type (late nitrogen Wolf–Rayet stars) or LBV (luminous blue variables) in their hot state, which are very scarce stellar objects. We show that the spectra do not originate from WNL/LBV-type donors but from very hot winds from the accretion disks with nearly normal hydrogen content, which have similar physical conditions to the stellar winds from these stars. The optical spectra are similar to that of SS 433, the only known supercritical accretor in our Galaxy3, although the ULX spectra indicate a higher wind temperature. Our results suggest that ULXs with X-ray luminosities of ~1040 erg s−1 must constitute a homogeneous class of objects, which most likely have supercritical accretion disks. Ultra-luminous X-ray sources in starburst galaxies (Phys.org)—Many black holes are believed to have surrounding accretion disks of matter trapped by gravity and spiraling toward the event horizon. Supercritical accretion disks (SCADs) are those with mass accretion rates exceeding the Eddington limit—this describes the maximum possible luminosity of an energetic body when the outward force of radiation is in equilibrium with gravitation. Masses that exceed the Eddington luminosity to produce SCADs emit extremely intense stellar winds from their outer layers. Citation: Researchers characterize mysterious ultraluminous X-ray sources (2015, June 9) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-06-characterize-mysterious-ultraluminous-x-ray-sources.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.