WARREN’S WORLD: Western Weather Wisdom

first_imgIn 1940, my high school science teacher taught us that it had been proven that the weather in Western Europe was controlled by the temperature of the water in the Gulf of Mexico. The warm water from there moves eastward to sweep around Key West, Florida, and then heads north forming the Gulf Stream. When it collides with the cold, arctic water it makes a U-turn and heads south for Western Europe. As the cold, Arctic storms sweep south and pass over that warm water, they are dramatically affected. So much so, that when the coast of Normandy was invaded by the Allied Forces in World War II, they depended on this theory to decide when the weather would be just right for the invasion to take place. In November of 1960, I commented to a group of ski shop owners in a meeting in Southern California, “If the ocean stays as warm as it was when I went surfing this morning the local mountains will have a lousy ski season.” Snow making machines had not been invented yet and that winter was one of the worst on record. Ten years later I mixed my knowledge of the Gulf of Mexico’s warm-water effect on Western Europe with the Sea of Japan and the Japanese currents’ effect on the West Coast. As that current streams north from Japan, it is deflected by the Aleutian Islands and heads down the West Coast. Depending on its temperature, it has to affect Western America’s weather in the same manner as the Gulf Stream does when the storms power out of the Aleutians Islands. If the current is warm the snow level will rise and a water shortage will follow in the summer. However, that Northeastern part of the Pacific Ocean has been covered by hundreds of millions of plastic, water bottles and other accumulating, floating debris until the mass completely covers an area twice the size of Texas. Since plastic is not biodegradable, every ounce of it that has been manufactured since its invention in the early 1930s will exist forever. Forever is a long time. The incredible size of what is now called the Water Bottle Gyre (or North Pacific Gyre) has to have enormous reflective powers and keeps that part of the Pacific from gathering heat with its daily doses of sunshine. The result of this cooling effect is that as the Japanese current flows by that now, cooler water it too loses more of its heat than it had gathered in the Sea of Japan and is thus colder than it used to be. I think the result is that the storms that hit the west coast are colder than they used to be. The snow levels in the mountains are lower and the storms that hit the West Coast are farther south. A side effect of all of this is that it has also deflected the jet stream farther south and instead of sliding across Washington, Oregon and Idaho, Utah, Montana and on eastward, as it has since forever, it is sometimes now much farther south. It flows across California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. After Texas it slides under the hot air flowing up from the Gulf of Mexico and bingo, you have a lot more tornados, ice and snowstorms and mammoth floods all over the Eastern United States. Here in Washington the summer of 2011 was the shortest and coldest on record. The Pacific Rim, consisting of the West Coast, Canada, the Aleutians and south to Japan have been known for years as The Rim of Fire. If the Water Bottle Gyro grows in size will it become the rim of fog, snow and ice? A simple experiment will add credibility to my water bottle, reflection hypothesis. Just put two cookie sheets out in the sun in the morning. Fill both of them with water and then float a mirror in one of them that is one-third the size of the pan. Take the temperature of both pans of water later in the day and you will see a noticeable difference in their temperature due to the mirrors reflection. That is what is happening in the northeastern Pacific while you are reading this. Remember plastic is not biodegradable, however the water bottles break up into smaller pieces so this gigantic cloud of plastic particles has taken over the ocean to a depth of more than 300 feet. The broken-up, shards of plastic are slowly being consumed by the fish, whales, seals and all other forms of sea life and consequently shortens their life. What if this was all true? How can we get rid of that mass? Email me at [email protected] I would like to know what you think. Email Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup. Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.last_img read more

Regulation funding is key, say Traffic Commissioners

first_imgTraffic Commissioners are continuing to see pressure on funding, and that could come to impact the ability of them to regulate effectively, they sayThe impact of funding pressure on their work is once again at the forefront of the Traffic Commissioners’ (TCs) annual report for 2018-19. Its extent means that their ability to regulate is “at risk” if resources are not maintained, says Senior TC Richard Turfitt.Lack of financial backing from the government has already impacted the TCs’ ability to meet their previously outlined strategic objectives, as the report demonstrates.As an example, targets for O-Licence application processing times have not been satisfied, although that once again is thanks to some applicants not supplying all the required information at the first time of asking despite repeated exhortations that they do so.A more positive sign is the indication delivered in a draft report showing that, when TCs intervene via Public Inquiry (PI), operators involved improve their compliance to align it with that of most of their peers.“It is useful to have confirmation that our primary intervention is effective and that it does influence behaviour towards sustained compliance,” says Mr Turfitt (pictured).However, the Senior TC accepts that to further propagate effective compliance, he and his colleagues need to better understand industry sectors and operator types. Doing that forms one of several refreshed strategy targets to 2021. They will commission an analysis to help them achieve that.DVSA involvementHints are dropped in the report that the relationship between TCs and DVSA is not all that it may be. The enforcement agency is heavily involved in one of the TCs’ primary current aims: To improve the standard of service delivered.Much is made of what the TCs “require” of DVSA in that regard. But TCs’ offices also need to deliver improvements of their own, the report continues.It sets out a target for decisions on new and major variation applications that do not need to go to PI of 35 working days. The same aspiration was outlined in 2017; this year’s report acknowledges that was overly ambitious.While it is unclear whether additional resource will be introduced to help deliver the restated target, additional performance measurements along with greater transparency will be. Auditing to demonstrate that the support offered to TCs to meet their expectations will also begin soon.A notable development is the suggestion that ‘virtual hearings’ using secure video technology could be introduced. Consideration will be made, with a report on their feasibility due by April 2020.The good newsTCs wish to improve their communication with all operators, not just those that are members of trade bodies or attend seminars and other events. While TCs accept that more work is needed in that field, exercises already undertaken have delivered benefits.One of those relates to brake testing, which had become “an issue of real concern.”Although brake issues dominate reasons for MoT failure, great improvements have been made. But issues remain of vehicles being brake tested unladen and where operators or Transport Managers fail to understand the information on printouts.Problems are also commonplace around change of entity. Mr Turfitt and his predecessor have raised this matter previously, but the report states that there is still “ignorance” of the legal restrictions surrounding non-transferability of O-Licences.The use of walk-round inspection record sheets that are out of date is a further issue. Some operators would also “benefit from… lessons on treating these documents with more care,” says the report from TCs for England.Timely downloading of data from both digital tachograph cards and vehicle units is a further area of concern, as is doing nothing with it even when it is obtained.Bridge bashingOther areas of worry where drivers are involved concern bridge strikes and self-employment.“The self-employed fiction is a curse; it is simply a device for operators to evade their responsibilities to make National Insurance and pension contributions and [to] thereby obtain a competitive advantage,” says the report.Instances of vehicles contacting bridges are “unacceptable” in number, it continues. Although LGVs are usually to blame, the TCs write that it is time for operators to view the matter seriously and take responsibility.That extends to drivers being given route planning assistance and measurement conversion charts. Regulatory action against those operators who fail to act is “a real possibility,” as it is for drivers involved.The number of coach and bus operators called to PI in 2018-19 was 153, significantly down from 181 in the previous 12 months. Of those, 65 saw their O-Licences revoked. There was no action taken on 18 occasions.last_img read more

Overland Park council approves plans for $30 million makeover of Regency Park center despite concerns about walkability

first_imgThe Overland Park City Council on Monday approved a $30 million makeover for the Regency Park shopping center.By Roxie HammillDespite some last-minute hesitation over walkability, Overland Park’s city council decided to go ahead with plans to help developer Mission Peak Capital renovate the Regency Park shopping center at 93rd Street and Metcalf Avenue.The council voted unanimously on four items allowing the $30 million project to go forward despite concerns that the facelift won’t do enough to improve life for pedestrians and bicyclists. A walkable and bikeable environment is one of the key components of Vision Metcalf, the planning guideline for the corridor.Overland Park resident Melissa Cheatham raised the issue first during a public hearing over a special taxing district for the area. She noted that the rest of the corridor is filling with projects that will bring more apartments.“Let’s be sure that the hundreds of residents moving into new apartments up and down Metcalf don’t have to drive in order to shop down a block,” she said.Cheatham said taxpayers should expect more than a facelift for their support of the project. Developers could use $7.3 million from the proceeds of a 1 percent sales tax charged in the area to help with some development costs. The city also will issue Economic Development Revenue Bonds of up to $8.5 million for financing certain construction and renovation costs.Regency Park is an L-shaped center of shops where Micro Center and Natural Grocers are located. The plan calls for more modern facades and the addition of a 4,500-square-foot building along Metcalf Ave. The plan also calls for new sidewalk striping and a new sidewalk and crosswalk near the Natural Grocers store, 9108 Metcalf Ave.The developer faced some closer questioning by the council after the public hearing. Curt Skoog asked whether the developer would be willing to make some changes to make it more walkable. “I think we could have done better on this project,” he said.Council member Paul Lyons also said he’d like to see some bicycle access for people living in the neighborhood to the west. “What’s there today is pretty darn minimal,” he said.But attorney John Petersen, representing the developer, said the options for pedestrian improvements are limited because of the way the parking lot is configured. Removing some parking spots to make way for sidewalks and bicycle access could violate leases that call for a certain number of spaces per store, he said.Ultimately council members said it was more important to revitalize a struggling center to attract more tenants. “We do expect things above and beyond a normal refresh when we put these public monies into it,” said Council member David White, adding that the internal area is difficult for walkers to navigate.That said, though, White supported the plan because he said it would help businesses in the area.A rendering of the proposed Regency Park makeover.last_img read more

Minnesota hoping for a top two finish as it heads to Ann Arbor, Michigan for Big Tens

first_imgMinnesota only boasted one title winner on last year’s squad, but for senior Tyler Schmidt all it takes is one person to have a strong performance to give the Gophers a chance.“If you were talking to us before the last day of the meet last year, we had a very slim chance of winning, but it’s one of those things where it’s contagious,” Schmidt said. “Once one person starts swimming well then everybody gets pumped up.”Last year it was Woodson who stepped up and rallied the team with his second place finish in the finals, just behind the Wolverines’ Patton.The potential rematch between Woodson and Patton provides just one of the many intriguing matchups that may take place over the course of the championship.Plummer and the Hoosiers’ Ben Hesen share the conference’s best time in the 100 backstroke this season. Hesen currently holds the Big Ten title in the 100 backstroke and Plummer looks to earn his first conference title of his career this year. Last year, Hesen finished third while Plummer finished fourth in the 200 backstroke.Indiana ranks No. 8 nationally and figures to make a run at the title as they won the championship in 2006.For Plummer and Minnesota, the meet will come down to relays as usual.“Relays are very important this year. We have a good chance to be first and second in every relay we swim,” Plummer said. “We have to make sure to take advantage of that.”The Gophers have finished first or second at the conference championship for 18 consecutive years, and Dale expects nothing less this year.“We expect to go in and do battle and hopefully have a Big Ten meet we can be proud of,” Dale said. “Can we win it? It’s an uphill battle for us to win it. Can we get second? I think we can get second.” Minnesota hoping for a top two finish as it heads to Ann Arbor, Michigan for Big TensFebruary 28, 2008Jump to CommentsShare on FacebookShare on TwitterShare via EmailPrintMinnesota’s men’s swimming and diving team has a way of frustrating the Big Ten when the conference crown is on the line.The Gophers won the 2005 title by edging out Indiana by three points on the last leg of the last event, on the last day.Minnesota entered the final event, the 400-yard freestyle relay, trailing the Hoosiers by five points. Northwestern led the relay until Gopher Igor Cerensek hit the water and made up a body length lead to win the event and title for Minnesota.Last year Minnesota beat Michigan in the same fashion, but this time extended their win by a point. The Gophers trailed the Wolverines by six points heading into the final event, once again the 400 freestyle relay and prevailed for the fourth straight year in the event for the conference title.This year Minnesota heads to Ann Arbor, Mich., to defend its 2007 championship against top conference foes such as Indiana and Michigan this weekend.While No. 9 Minnesota has no problem with a dramatic finish, keeping up with the Wolverines presents a problem.“There’s no question Michigan is heavily favored,” head coach Dennis Dale said. “Not only have they been the top-ranked Big Ten team all year, but they’re hosting the meet in their pool.”Michigan, ranked No. 4, returns a talented squad that did not lose a single point scorer from last year’s team.The Wolverines feature three swimmers with more than one individual Big Ten title. Matt Patton and Alex Vanderkaay both hold three individual crowns and Bobby Savulich holds two of his own.The Gophers’ roster does not have an individual title winner, but do have return seniors Mike Woodson, who finished second in the 1,650 freestyle event last year, and David Plummer, who finished fourth in the 200 backstroke last season.last_img read more

Superforecasters

first_imgBBC Radio 4:Professor Philip Tetlock explains why his newly discovered elite group of so-called Superforecasters are so good at predicting global events.Read the whole story: BBC Radio 4 More of our Members in the Media >last_img

The Cheater’s High And Other Reasons We Cheat

first_imgNPR:This week on Hidden Brain, we take on cheating.Lying and deception are part of being human. And it begins from a very young age. In fact, YouTube is filled with videos of imaginative children trying out little lies, usually to get out of trouble. We at Hidden Brain were taken with this brother/sister duo, Jackson and Reagan, as their mom interrogated them to find out who marked up the wall.…Professor Francesca Gino of Harvard Business School has found in her research that people tend to be more forgiving of unethical behavior if it is creative (or in this case, cute). This is something she’s also found in her own life as the mother of a 3-year-old.“I find myself looking at my son sometimes deceiving me, telling me the light on his alarm clock is on when I know that it’s not,” she says. “And I want to reward the creative excuses and descriptions of his behavior. But at the same time I feel like it’s deception and it should be punished.”Read the whole story: NPR More of our Members in the Media >last_img read more

Emotional behavior altered after multiple exposures to anesthesia during infancy

first_imgShare on Facebook LinkedIn Share Pinterest Share on Twittercenter_img Email Repeated exposure to anesthesia early in life causes alterations in emotional behavior that may persist long-term, according to a study from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in collaboration with the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, and published in the Online First edition of Anesthesiology, the official medical journal of the American Society of Anesthesiologists®.Each year, approximately one million children under the age of four undergo surgery with general anesthesia, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Retrospective birth-cohort studies of children have found an association between learning problems and multiple exposures to anesthesia early in life, and research in animal models, mainly rodents, has shown that early anesthesia exposure causes cell death in the brain and cognitive impairments later in life.Nevertheless, uncertainty remains about the extent to which anesthesia specifically may be a risk factor in humans, when compared to other factors and co-morbidities associated with anesthesia and surgery. Additionally, the applicability of rodent studies to humans has been questioned on a number of grounds, including a lack of correspondence of developmental stages between the species. The Mount Sinai/Yerkes study is the first to address the question of whether repeated postnatal anesthesia exposure, in and of itself, caused long-term behavioral changes in a highly translationally relevant rhesus monkey model. The stage of neurodevelopment of rhesus monkeys at birth is more similar to that of human infants compared to neonatal rodents; with respect to brain growth, a six-week-old rhesus monkey corresponds to a human in the second half of his or her first year of life. Because these kinds of controlled studies cannot be carried out in humans, it is essential to use a comparable animal model to discover if anesthesia may be affecting the brain. Unlike previous research, the study was conducted in the absence of a surgical procedure, co-morbidities that may necessitate surgical intervention or the psychological stress associated with illness.“The major strength of this study is its ability to separate anesthesia exposure from surgical procedures, which is a potential complication in the studies conducted in children,” says Mark Baxter, PhD, professor in the Departments of Neuroscience and Anesthesiology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “Our results confirm that multiple anesthesia exposures alone result in emotional behavior changes in a highly translational animal model. This raises concerns about whether similar phenomena are occurring during clinical anesthesia exposure in children.”Specifically, the study team exposed 10 nonhuman primates (rhesus monkeys) to a common pediatric anesthetic called sevoflurane for a comparable length of time required for a significant surgical procedure in humans (four hours). They were exposed to the anesthetic at postnatal day seven and then again two and four weeks later, because human data indicate that repeated anesthesia results in a greater risk of learning disabilities relative to a single anesthetic exposure.Researchers evaluated the socioemotional behavior of exposed subjects compared with that of healthy controls at six months of age using a mild social stressor (an unfamiliar human). They found the anesthesia-exposed infants expressed significantly more anxious behaviors overall compared with controls.“The task we used is designed to be similar to the task used for assessing dispositional anxiety and behavioral inhibition in children, thus increasing the study’s applicability to humans,” says first author Jessica Raper, PhD, research associate in the Division of Developmental and Cognitive Neuroscience at Yerkes National Primate Research Center at Emory University, where the testing was conducted. The study results also demonstrate that alterations in emotional behavior persist at least five months after anesthesia exposure, suggesting long-term effects.Co-investigator Maria Alvarado, PhD, also of the Yerkes Research Center adds, “Events that impact the developing brain have the potential to affect a wide range of later-developing behaviors.”These findings are part of a larger longitudinal study, and researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the Yerkes National Primate Research Center will continue to follow these study subjects behaviorally to fully characterize the length of time that these emotional changes persist and whether they resolve over time.Considering that most pediatric surgeries are non-elective, future studies can use this primate model to develop a new anesthetic agent or prophylactic treatment to counteract the impact of anesthesia on behavior in children. The findings also suggest that additional work is required to identify the mechanisms by which anesthetics may cause long-term changes in central nervous system function that impact behavior.last_img read more

If you want to quit smoking, do it now

first_imgShare on Twitter ‘Both groups had advice and support and access to nicotine patches and nicotine replacement therapy, like nicotine gum or mouth spray.’Once quit day had passed, volunteers were assessed weekly for the next four weeks, and after six months. As well as asking them about how they were doing, the researchers measured the amount of carbon monoxide they were breathing out — an objective way to check whether people were actually sticking to their quit plan.At four weeks, 39% of the gradual cessation group had kept off tobacco, compared to 49% of the abrupt cessation group, meaning that the abrupt group were 25% more likely to quit. The difference between the groups began on quit day, when more of the abrupt group attempted to quit (defined as having at least 24 hours with no tobacco), compared to the gradual cessation group.Dr Lindson-Hawley said: ‘The difference in quit attempts seemed to arise because people struggled to cut down. It provided them with an extra thing to do, which may have put them off quitting altogether. If people actually made a quit attempt then the success rate was equal across groups. We also found that more people preferred the idea of quitting gradually than abruptly; however regardless of what they thought they were still more likely to quit in the abrupt group.‘It is important to note that these results were found in people who wanted to quit soon and who were receiving counselling support and using nicotine replacement therapy. For these people the best advice appears to be to pick a day and stop smoking completely on that day. However, as we found that at the start of the study many people cannot imagine being able to stop completely. For these people it is much better to attempt to cut down their smoking than do nothing at all and we should increase support for gradual cessation to increase their chances of succeeding.’ Pinterest Smokers who try to cut down the amount they smoke before stopping are less likely to quit than those who choose to quit all in one go, Oxford University researchers have found. Their study is published in journal Annals of Internal Medicine.Most experts say that people should give up in one go, but most people who smoke seem to try to stop by gradually reducing the amount they smoke before stopping. This research helps to answer the questions ‘Which approach is better?’, and ‘Are both as likely to help people quit in the short and long term?’.Dr Nicola Lindson-Hawley led the research. She explained: ‘We recruited 697 smokers who had chosen to stop smoking. They were split into two groups. One group — the ‘abrupt cessation’ group — set a quit day and stopped all smoking on that day. The second group — the ‘gradual cessation’ group — set a quit day but gradually reduced their tobacco use in the two weeks leading up to that date. Sharecenter_img Share on Facebook LinkedIn Emaillast_img read more

Irma, Harvey, Maria and beyond: We need to talk about finance

first_img OAS-Chile Partnership Programme Announces Full Scholarships… You may be interested in… Greater Focus on Regional Agriculture Heavy-hitting and repeated cyclones in the Caribbean, intense and devastating flooding across South Asia – and this in just the last few weeks. Unabated, unmanaged disaster risk is wreaking havoc across our planet, killing, destroying and setting back progress. A few months ago, not far away from where Harvey, Irma and Maria touched land, a key international conference took place in Cancun – the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, which ended with a call for all countries to “systematically account for disaster losses by 2020”, a critical baseline to assess progress, challenges and opportunities ahead. Several weeks earlier, Robert Glasser, the U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), and Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, blogged that “disasters – 90 percent of which are classed as climate-related – now cost the world economy US$520 billion per year and push 26 million people into poverty every year”. Oct 7, 2020 Sep 28, 2020 Read more at: Zilient.org Hurricane Irma damage in the British Virgin Islands Share this:PrintTwitterFacebookLinkedInLike this:Like Loading… center_img Make COVID Recovery ‘a true turning point’ for people and… Today is International Day for Disaster reduction – Is this year’s string of hurricanes a sign of things to come?Joint Op-Ed by  Achim Steiner is Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme www.undp.org Patricia Espinosa is Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change www.unfccc.int Robert Glasser is the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction and head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction www.unisdr.org   From Miami and Puerto Rico…October 13, 2017In “Anguilla”All hands needed on deck for post-hurricane recovery – WB Meeting hearsYesterday, the WB met with international partners to reaffirm commitment to build back the Caribbean with resilience https://t.co/17TNgKKqYj pic.twitter.com/gjqftdj2PB — World Bank Caribbean (@WBCaribbean) October 14, 2017 Statement on High Level Meeting on Recovery and Resilience in the Caribbean [su_pullquote align=”right”]The participants highlighted the need for a response involving all…October 14, 2017In “Anguilla”WMO Hurricane Committee reviews devastating 2017 seasonThe World Meteorological Organization’s Hurricane Committee meets from 9 to 13 April to review the devastating 2017 Atlantic hurricane season and to discuss regional coordination and operational planning to protect lives and property in the forthcoming one. The extremely active 2017 Atlantic hurricane season was one of the most destructive on record.…April 9, 2018In “Antigua & Barbuda”Share this on WhatsApp Sep 10, 2020 ‘Step In our Shoes’ – Dr. Carla Barnett Sep 4, 2020last_img read more

Jamaica records four new COVID-19 cases

first_img Six Eastern Caribbean countries deemed safe for travel – CDC Oct 16, 2020 Share this on WhatsApp Some 400 or 57% of the confirmed cases are females and 302 or 43% are males. They range in age from 2 months to 87 years. Of the 702 cases confirmed with COVID-19 to date, in addition to the 553 or 78.8% have recovered, eight or (1.1%) were repatriated, and 10 or 1.4% have died. There are 131 or 18.7% active cases currently under observation. Among the active cases, there is one moderately ill case and no critically ill case at this time. Oct 16, 2020 Jamaica has recorded four new confirmed COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours while recoveries remain at 553 or 78.8%. More deaths from COVID-19 recorded in CARICOM countries,… St. Lucia records more cases of COVID center_img Oct 15, 2020 You may be interested in… CMO says Saint Lucia at critical stage of COVID-19 outbreak Oct 15, 2020 The new positives – which bring to 702 the total number of COVID-19 cases on the island – consist of 2 males and 2 females, who range in age from 25 to 43 years. All are imported cases, having arrived on flights from the United States. Testing numbers went up to 24,501 in the last day. In addition to the 702 positives, there are 23,741 negatives and 58 pending. Share this:PrintTwitterFacebookLinkedInLike this:Like Loading… At this time, there are 187 imported cases; 233 cases are contacts of confirmed cases; 39 are local transmission cases not epidemiologically linked, 236 are related to the workplace cluster in St. Catherine and 7 are under investigation.last_img read more