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Thread: The End of the World?

  1. #141
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    Indonesian girl dies of bird flu

    Published: July 5, 2012 at 7:58 AM
    http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2012/...981341489536/?

    JAKARTA, July 5 (UPI) -- An 8-year-old Indonesian girl has died from the H5N1 bird flu virus, health officials said Thursday.

    The girl, identified as K.K., fell ill June 18, six days after carrying home five recently butchered chickens from the Karawang market in West Java, Indonesia's Antara news agency reported.

    Tjandra Yoga Aditama, director general of disease control and environmental health at the Indonesian Health Ministry, said it's likely she contracted the disease at the market.

    "She was in contact with [live] poultry," Tjandra said. "She went to the market with her father and sibling and bought five live animals. She chose to hold the chickens after they have been killed."

    The girl first became ill during a trip to Singapore. A doctor there diagnosed her with laryngitis, Tjandra said.

    By June 24 she was admitted to a hospital in Jakarta with a high fever, persistent cough and nausea. Doctors believed she had pneumonia, Antara reported.

    K.K. tested positive for the H5N1 virus June 29.

    "Her condition got worse and on July 3, 2012 at 22.45 she died," Tjandra said.

    Indonesia was the hardest hit country during the Asian bird flu epidemic in the mid-2000s, Antara said.















    Timeline:

    June 12: KK visits the Karawang market in West Java and brings home five live chickens.

    June 18: KK first becomes ill with laryngitis during a trip to Singapore.

    (by) June 24: KK is admitted to a hospital in Jakarta with symptoms of pneumonia (high fever, cough, nausea).

    June 29: KK tests positive for H5N1.

    July 3: KK dies after her condition worsened.

    Wow.

    22 days from initial symptoms to death.

    18 days from initial symptoms to diagnosis.

    Two important points:

    It is amazing that KK survived for 18 days without treatment. That is absolutely an outlier and raises questions about whether KK picked up an H5N1 strain that has mutated to appear "milder" and thus less obvious in its symptoms.

    It is not a good thing that KK's initial symptom was laryngitis. That is not a "classic" H5N1 symptom (at least not if we're talking about the kind of H5N1 that someone gets from a chicken). Laryngitis signals upper respiratory involvement (as a runny nose would). That can imply further adaptation to human (vs. avian) epithelial cells - the sort of thing, potentially, that Fouchier and Kawaoka have been studying in the lab.

    Indonesia's new Health Minister needs to release these new human H5N1 sequences. Failing that, did Singapore sample this girl?

    I am curious to learn whether any of this girls' family members or medical contacts became symptomatic with "colds" during this time period.

    In 22 days this girl had many, many, contacts (in more than one country) while carrying what is, if the timeline Tjandra has supplied is correct, a very unusual case of H5N1. I don't like that it came from West Java, where human adaptation seems to be a hobby the virus likes to work at regularly.













    Hong Kong closes bird market over H5N1 virus

    July 5, 2012
    http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-0...n1-virus.html?

    Hong Kong on Thursday closed a popular tourist spot where hundreds of caged birds are on display after the deadly H5N1 avian flu virus was detected at one of the stalls.

    The agriculture, fisheries and conservation department said it was closing the Yuen Po Street bird market in the city's bustling Mongkok district for 21 days.

    There are about 70 bird stalls in the market.

    The move came after the virus was found in a swab sample collected from a cage holding an oriental magpie robin during a routine avian influenza surveillance operation.

    All the stall's birds would be killed, the department said in a statement.

    A spokeswoman told AFP they were still investigating the cause of the virus as the bird itself was not infected.

    The risk of transmission between pet birds and humans is "relatively low", the Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection head Thomas Tsang told a news conference after the closure was announced.

    The southern Chinese city occasionally finds bird flu in poultry but there have been no major outbreaks since 1997, when six people died from a mutated form of the virus. Millions of birds were then culled.

    In June, Hong Kong reported its first human case of the H5N1 in 18 months when a two year-old boy from the neighbouring province of Guangdong who traveled to the city for medical treatment came down with the illness.

    The virus has killed more than 330 people around the world, with Indonesia the worst-hit country, suffering eight fatal cases this year. Most human infections are the result of direct contact with infected birds.

    The former British colony is particularly nervous about infectious diseases after an outbreak of the deadly respiratory disease SARS in 2003 killed 300 people in the city.
    And it sounds like Armageddon

    And the jackals laugh in the aftermath.




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  2. #142
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    Obamaís Priorities for Fighting Bioterrorism

    http://www07.grants.gov/search/downl...7?attId=168905

    The Department of Stateís Office to Cooperative Threat Reduction (ISN/CTR) is pleased to announce an open competition for assistance awards. ISN/CTR invites non-profit/non-governmental organizations and educational institutions to submit proposals for projects that will advance the mission of the Departmentís Biosecurity Engagement Program (BEP). ISN/CTR has approximately $20,000,000 available in the current fiscal year to award multiple grants and cooperative agreements in this field.

    The Office of Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR), part of the Departmentís Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation (ISN), sponsors foreign assistance activities aimed at reducing the threat posed by terrorist organizations or proliferant states seeking to acquire Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) expertise, material, and equipment. ISN/CTR programs, also known as Global Threat Reduction (GTR) programs, are funded by the Nonproliferation, Anti-terrorism, Demining and Related Programs (NADR) account.

    ISN/CTR administers the Biosecurity Engagement Program (BEP) program as part of the GTR portfolio. BEPís mission involves institutionalizing biorisk management practices and securing life science institutions and pathogens, decreasing the risk that scientists with dual-use expertise will misuse pathogens, and promoting adoption of and compliance with comprehensive international frameworks.

    During the current fiscal year, BEPís highest priority countries are Yemen, Pakistan, and Iraq; BEPís second highest priority countries are Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, and Uganda.

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    Fun Stuff

    http://www.nature.com/news/planetary...-night-1.12174

    Nicola Jones, 08 January 2013

    One hundred thousand years ago, a massive chunk of the Mauna Loa volcano cracked away from Hawaii and slid into the sea, launching a wave that rose as high as the Eiffel tower up the slopes of a nearby island. That mega-tsunami was not an isolated incident: the past 40,000 years have seen at least ten gigantic landslides of more than 100 cubic kilometres in the North Atlantic ocean alone, each capable of producing waves tens to hundreds of metres high.

    Eight thousand years ago, sediments covering an underwater area the size of Scotland slipped from their moorings off the west coast of Norway and raced along the sea floor. The Storegga slide triggered a tsunami that ran at least 20 metres up the nearby Shetland Islands, and probably wiped out some coastal tribes as it clobbered shores around northern Europe.

    The scar it left on the ocean floor stretches nearly 300 kilometres. “It's absolutely enormous, and I'm not using the word 'enormous' lightly,” says Peter Talling, a sedimentologist at the University of Southampton, UK, who is leading a project to assess the country's risk of similar slides.

    The United Kingdom is not the only country concerned about giant submarine landslides. “There are definitely areas that have potential,” says Uri ten Brink, a geophysicist at the US Geological Survey in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, who conducted a 2008 study of possible sources of tsunamis on the US east coast, where some nuclear power plants are within striking distance of such waves.

    “There are far larger piles of sediment around today than Storegga ever was,” ten Brink says, including deposits along the coast of southern Alaska and off the Amazon, Niger and Nile river deltas. Smaller slides are more probable and can still have a huge local impact — and they often strike without warning. In 1998, a relatively small (magnitude-7) earthquake triggered an underwater slide that launched a 15-metre-high tsunami into Papua New Guinea, killing 2,200 people.

    [Additionally, the extraction of frozen gas hydrates from continental slopes over the next few decades will radically increase the chances for such submarine landslides. As frozen hydrates are withdrawn, the remaining hydrates will be under reduced pressure, and could explode, destabilizing beds they lie in.]

    Death by volcano

    The four youngest, most active supervolcanic systems in the world are Toba in Indonesia, Campi Flegrei in Italy (with Naples in the middle), Yellowstone in the northwestern United States and Taupo in New Zealand. All four systems are being monitored for groundswell and seismic swarms — clusters of small earthquakes that can signal moving magma — and all occasionally show these warning signs.

    Since 1969, the ground at Campi Flegrei has bulged upwards by as much as 3.5 metres, and researchers are eager to find out whether the culprit is underground steam or a pool of magma. Scientists estimate that 10–30% of the magma under Yellowstone, for example, is liquid — shy of the 50% thought to be needed for super-eruption.

    But those pockets of molten magma in the chamber could still cause eruptions several-fold larger than the 1980 blast from Mount St Helens in Washington state, warns Jacob Lowenstern, head of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory for the US Geological Survey in Menlo Park, California.

    Death by fungus

    Although viruses and bacteria grab more attention, fungi are the planet's biggest killers. Of all the pathogens being tracked, fungi have caused more than 70% of the recorded global and regional extinctions, and now threaten amphibians, bats and bees. The Irish potato famine in the 1840s showed just how devastating such pathogens can be. Phytophthora infestans (an organism similar to, and often grouped with, fungi) wiped out as much as three-quarters of the potato crop in Ireland and led to the death of one million people.

    Other major staple crops face similar threats, such as rice blast (Magnaporthe oryzae), corn smut (Ustilago maydis), soya bean rust (Phakopsora pachyrhizi) and wheat stem rust (Puccinia graminis). The stem-rust superstrain Ug99 has in recent years slashed yields in parts of Africa by as much as 80%.

    David Hughes, a zoologist at Pennsylvania State University in University Park, adds that terrorists could use fungi to wreak havoc by targeting economically important crops. In the 1980s, for example, a possibly deliberate infection wiped out cacao crops in northern Brazil, changing the country's demographics and ecology as people moved from unproductive farms to the cities and cleared more rainforest. “If you wanted to destabilize the world, you could easily introduce rubber blight into southeast Asia,” he says, which would trigger a chain reaction of economic and political effects.

    Reports of new types of fungal infection in plants and animals have risen nearly tenfold since 1995. In the past decade, a tropical fungus called Cryptococcus gattii has adapted to thrive in cooler climes and invaded the forests of North America's Pacific Northwest.

    By 2010, it had infected some 280 people, dozens of whom died. Although fungi are not spread as easily from person to person as viruses, for example, and anti-fungal agents can effectively tackle most infections, there are still reasons to worry. Fungi continue to evolve, and once they are established in an ecosystem, they can be almost impossible to wipe out.

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    Default Foolish Effort to Destabilize Continental Shelf Proceeds

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    Foolish Effort to Destabilize Continental Shelf Proceeds

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/...ower-asia.html

    Fuel of the future: How fiery ice could power Asia

    07 March 2013 by Sara Reardon

    IN THE search for new sources of energy, Japan is digging deep. Just off its south-west coast, 1300 metres below the surface, a huge cache of slushy, combustible ice lies buried in the ocean floor. This month, Japan is carrying out the first offshore attempt to produce methane gas from these frozen methane hydrates. If successful, this could be the next great energy source.

    Methane hydrates consist of methane molecules trapped in a cage-like structure of water called a clathrate. Cold temperatures and high pressures keep them solid, and their compressed structure gives them 164 times the energy potential of an equivalent volume of natural gas.

    They are abundant in ocean floors around the world and under Arctic permafrost. Some estimate that the planet holds three orders of magnitude more gas in hydrates than in traditional gas seams, and that their total energy is greater than all other energy sources combined. The US, India, South Korea and Russia all have programmes to explore the potential of hydrates, but the on-going natural gas boom makes it a low priority for now.
    Japan is the exception. It has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in hydrate research, especially in the Nankai trough off its Pacific coast. The area may hold enough gas to meet the country's energy needs for a century.

    Japan is the world's largest importer of natural gas, and the hydrate project was expedited after the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster in 2011.

    This month, a team led by the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation will drill 300 metres below the seabed, and place a pipe to carry methane to the surface. The goal is to produce tens of thousands of cubic metres of gas over about two weeks. Commercial production could start in 2018.

    First, the team must solve a number of environmental and technical challenges. Chief among these is how to turn the solid hydrates into gas. The plan is to pump out seawater from inside the gas pipe. This will lower the pressure in the pipe and break up the hydrates into water and methane gas, which will rise up the outer pipe. If that doesn't work, other solutions include pouring in an antifreeze.

    Even the authors of the project's environmental impact statement admit they know little about the problems large-scale extraction could cause. Landslides are the biggest known risk. Hydrates are often key structures in the sea floor. Before oil and gas companies became interested in exploiting them, hydrates were considered a risk because they collapse beneath heavy oil rigs. Deliberately drilling through them or mining them could disturb the seabed stability.

    Ancient history offers evidence to support this, says Euan Nisbet of Royal Holloway, University of London. A landslide off Norway 8000 years ago triggered a 4-metre-high tsunami that swamped Scotland. Geological data suggests it was accompanied if not caused by a massive methane release, possibly because warmer temperatures melted sea-floor hydrates.

    The current test at Nankai is unlikely to pose such a risk, says Nisbet, but large-scale hydrate mining could. In shallower waters or on steeper slopes, anything you do could cause a landslide, says Arthur Johnson of the Hydrate Energy International consultancy.

    It's not clear whether the natural processes that led to the Scottish tsunami 8000 years ago are a good model of what will happen with human interference, says Ray Boswell of the US Department of Energy (DoE).
    Uncontrolled leaks are a risk for the climate, as methane is a powerful greenhouse gas. But Tetsuya Fujii of the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation says deep-sea hydrates have a built-in fail-safe: if the pipeline breaks, the water pressure would make the hydrates recrystallise, helping to stem the leak. Any gas that did escape would dissolve in the water column or be eaten by bacteria.

    Trust me.

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    An earthquake occurred in Christchurch on 22 February 2011 at 12:51 p.m. local time (23:51 21 February UTC) and registered 6.3 on the Richter scale.
    this was a month before the big earthquake in Fukushima

    Today November 13 th 12:02 UTC there was again a giant Earthquake in Christchurch New Zealand

    If the earthquake in Fukushima will repeat itself than all buildings at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant will collapse resulting in the rupture of the Spent Fuel pools (containing 1,097 tons of fuel) which shall start a giant nuclear reaction without cooling .
    In comparison reactor 1 had 50 tons of fuel in it.
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    According to JMA (Japan Meteorological Agency), M7.3 occurred Fukushima offshore at 5:59 AM 22-11-2016 (JST).

    The depth of epicenter was 10km.

    They are warning 3m high Tsunami is reaching the coastal area of Fukushima prefecture.

    NHK is alarming to escape right now.

    The plant status of Fukushima plant is still under investigation.

    The plant workers are reporting they felt shaken even in the seismic isolation building. Most of the workers have not come to the plant for today yet.

    At 6:10 AM, M5.4 happened again.
    It's to early to tell but


    According to Tepco, Fukushima DAINI‘s spent fuel pool of Reactor 3 had its coolant system suspended automatically.

    It stocks 2,360 spent fuel assemblies and 184 new fuel assemblies.

    No more details are announced. Approx. 30 mins before, Tsunami was observed to have reached Fukushima plant.
    source http://fukushima-diary.com
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