Northern Essex Community College turns idle parking lots into Wi-Fi hot spots

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With nearly all its classes now virtual due to COVID-19, Northern Essex Community College has found a productive use for its largely idle parking lots, making them Wi-Fi hot spots for students and local residents.

The college in early September began offering free Wi-Fi service at six of the eight parking lots on its Haverhill and Lawrence campuses, enabling students and community members to study and work online in their parked vehicles. The lots are otherwise nearly empty because so few classes are meeting on campus.

The initiative is a response to a survey the college undertook last spring in which students said spotty Internet service at home and finding a quiet place to study were two of the main challenges they faced in adjusting to remote learning, according to Ricardo “Danny” Rivera, Northern Essex’s assistant director of client technology and media services.

“We’ve always wanted to do outdoor Wi-Fi,” Rivera said, noting that the college has many grassy areas — particularly on its Haverhill campus — where students like to sit and do their homework. But until the pandemic, there was no thought of using parking lots.

That idea arose this summer when Rivera happened to be working with a vendor on a planned upgrade to the college’s indoor Wi-Fi systems. When he learned about the results of the survey, it occurred to him and other officials that creating wireless service in the parking lots would be a good solution to the needs expressed by students.

While the hot spots were spurred by the pandemic, the college expects to maintain them for the foreseeable future.

Patty Gosselin, a journalism/communications major in her final semester at Northern Essex, welcomes the outdoor Wi-Fi initiative, and looks forward to using the hot spot at the campus library in Haverhill.

After the pandemic


Aaron Rodgers obliterates his critics after hot start

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Reports of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ demise were greatly exaggerated. After an offseason of speculation that Rodgers’ time with the Packers could be coming to an end, Rodgers is playing some of the best football of his career.

Through four games, Rodgers has thrown 13 touchdowns against zero interceptions. That performance has helped lead the Packers to a 4-0 start to the season. It’s also put Rodgers in the way-too-early MVP conversation.

Rodgers, 36, is well aware there were people who expected him to show signs of decline this season. He punched back at those haters Tuesday, letting them know his numbers in a bad year are pretty good for most other quarterbacks.

Rodgers made those comments on the “Pat McAfee Show” on Tuesday. The best part of the clip: McAfee reacts immediately while Rodgers slyly smiles about what he just said. It’s rare to hear any player brag about their career like that, but Rodgers knows he’s done more than enough to back up that talk. Even if you’re a Chicago Bears fan who hates Rodgers with every fiber of your being, you can’t argue his point.

Aaron Rodgers drops f-bomb while calling out media

While the “down years” quote was the spiciest thing Rodgers said during the interview with McAfee, it wasn’t the only statement that deserves attention. Rodgers also called out the media for asking him dumb questions.

That issue arose after McAfee teased Rodgers and the Packers taking on Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 6.

Rodgers got a little more animated than that, though. He actually dropped an f-bomb when discussing how his quotes get picked apart by the media.

“Is anybody surprised? All the f—ing media does is write stories to get clicks … I can give a long


Newly Discovered ‘Extreme’ Alien Planet Is Super Hot At 5,800 Fahrenheit, Researchers Reveal

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  • CHEOPS has released the results of its observation on alien planet WASP-189b
  • WASP-189b’s orbit is tilted dramatically and orbits its star every 2.7 Earth days
  • WASP-189b has temperatures reaching 5,800 Fahrenheit

The European Space Agency’s Characterizing Exoplanet Satellite (CHEOPS) has recently discovered an alien planet about 1.6 times the size of Jupiter. Aside from having a strange orbit, it is also scorching hot.

WASP-189b, the newly discovered alien planet, was first detected in 2018 and has been recorded to have temperatures reaching 5,800 Fahrenheit — almost as hot as Earth’s outer core and is even hot enough to turn iron into gas, ESA’s study revealed.

Aside from having a size comparable to Jupiter, the exoplanet is also considered a “Hot Jupiter” due to its extremely short orbital period (2.7 Earth days). A Hot Jupiter is a gas planet with a “Jupiter-like” size that orbits very close to its star.

The star which the alien planet orbits is super hot — more than 2000 degrees hotter than the Sun — so it carries a bluish hue. CHEOPS’ observations show that it is not perfectly round and is larger and cooler at its equator than at its poles. 

“Only a handful of planets are known to exist around stars this hot, and this system is by far the brightest,” says Monika Lendl, an astrophysicist at the University of Geneva in Switzerland.

“WASP-189b is also the brightest hot Jupiter that we can observe as it passes in front of or behind its star, making the whole system really intriguing.”

Unlike Earth’s solar system, where planets orbit at the sun’s equator, WASP-189b orbits its star in such a dramatic tilt that it brings it closer to the star’s poles. This characteristic makes scientists suspect that WASP-189b formed somewhere far away from the