National Guard heads to Hawaii town threatened by river of lava By Karin Stanton10 hours agoA construction crew tries to contain the lava flow from Mount Kilauea in Pahoa, Hawaii October 29, 2014. …By Karin Stanton PAHOA Hawaii (Reuters) – A contingent of National Guard troops was dispatched to a Hawaii town on Thursday to provide security to the Big Island community threatened by a river of molten lava that is slowly creeping toward the town’s main road, an emergency official said.The lava flow from the Kilauea volcano has been slithering toward the village of Pahoa for weeks and at last watch was advancing at less than five yards (meters) an hour, said Darryl Oliveira, director of Hawaii County Civil Defense.On Thursday morning, a contingent of 83 National Guard troops was traveling in a road convoy and expected to arrive later in the day in the community, where some residents have expressed concern about potential looters targeting evacuated homes.”These are local troops, people from the community. They’ll be here working to take care of their family and friends,” Oliveira told a news conference.The lava threatens to destroy homes and cut off a road and a highway through Pahoa, but officials have not offered any predictions on when exactly it could bisect the town of about 800 residents at the site of an old sugar plantation.Burning debris can be seen in the lava flow from Mount Kilauea that is inching closer to the village …No homes have been destroyed so far, and a finger of lava that threatens one house on the edge of town has not advanced closer to the evacuated structure since Wednesday night, Oliveira said. The lava remained about 100 feet (30 meters) from the home, he said.Meanwhile, the glowing leading edge of the lava flow is now about 160 yards from Pahoa Village Road, the main street through the town, officials said in a statement.Residents of about 50 dwellings in what civil defense officials called a „corridor of risk” have been asked to be ready to leave, and many have been slowly emptying their homes of furniture and treasured possessions.Kilauea has erupted continuously from its Pu’u O’o vent since 1983, with its latest lava flow beginning on June 27. The last home destroyed by lava on the Big Island was at the Royal Gardens subdivision in Kalapana in 2012.(Reporting by Karin Stanton; Writing by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Eric Beech)
NASA sees Cyclone Nilofar looking more like a comet than a tropical cyclone13 hours ago by Rob GutroNASA’s Terra satellite captured this image on Oct. 30 at 06:35 UTC (2:35 a.m. EDT) as Tropical Cyclone Nilofar was approaching the Pakistan/India border. Credit: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-10-nasa-cyclone-nilofar-comet-tropical.html jCpTropical Cyclone Nilofar was closing in on the border between Pakistan and northwestern India on Oct. 30 when NASA’s Terra satellite passed overhead from space. Wind shear continued to affect the storm making it appear more like a comet with a tail, than a tropical cyclone.The MODIS or Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer instrument that flies aboard NASA’s Terra satellite captured a visible image of Nilofar on Oct. 30 at 06:35 UTC (2:35 a.m. EDT). Nilofar was still being affected by southwesterly wind shear, which was blowing the clouds and showers to the northeast. In the MODIS image, thunderstorms surrounded the center of the storm making it look like the core of a comet. Wind shear was stretching out clouds and showers to the northeast of the center, making it look like a comet’s tail. Those clouds over northwestern India were already bringing rain along with gusty winds to the region. Nilofar was already causing rough surf to coastlines from India and Pakistan west to Oman.The Joint Typhoon Warning Center noted that microwave satellite imagery showed a ragged eye, but the low-level center of circulation appears to be „unraveling.”The wind shear has been weakening Nilofar, and by Thursday, Oct. 30 at 900 UTC (5 a.m. EDT) maximum sustained winds had dropped below hurricane-strength to 50 knots (57.5 mph/92.6 kph) and are expected to weaken the storm to a depression by November 1. Nilofar was located near 20.2 north latitude and 64.3 east longitude, about 294 nautical miles east of Masirah Island. It was moving to the northeast at 5 knots (5.7 mph/9.2 kph).On Oct. 30, the India Meteorological Department’s Regionalized Specialized Meteorological Centre (RSMC) forecast called for Nilofar to move northeastward and weaken into a depression over northeast Arabian Sea off the north Gujarat coast late (local time) on Oct. 31.The RSMC warned that Nilofar will bring „moderate rainfall at most places with isolated heavy to very heavy falls over Kutch and coastal districts of Saurashtra during next two days. Light to moderate rainfall at many places with isolated heavy falls would occur over remaining districts of Saurashtra, the north Gujarat region and southwest Rajasthan during the same period.” Squally winds reaching 40 to 50 kph (24.8 mph to 31.0 mph) are expected off the Gujarat coast on Oct. 31.Slow-motion disaster: Key facts about Hawaii lava By JENNIFER SINCO KELLEHER6 hours ago Associated Press Videos Raw: Hawaii Lava Approaching Village RoadNews Raw: Hawaii Lava Approaching Village Road HONOLULU (AP) — Lava that has entered a rural Hawaii town has been described as a disaster in slow motion. After months of creeping through uninhabited areas of the Big Island, it reached Pahoa this week, crossing a residential street, burning down a garden shed and inching toward homes and a main road that goes through downtown.Related Stories
The lava is from Kilauea, which has been has been actively erupting since 1983 and is one of the world’s most active volcanos. Here are some other facts about it:HOW PREDICTABLE IS THE LAVA’S PATH?Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory have the tools to monitor active volcanos to determine if an eruption is imminent and to forecast a lava flow’s path.But lava is still a natural phenomenon, and much like a hurricane, some uncertainty remains.The Big Island’s topography contributes to deviations in the lava’s route, said volcanologist Loyc Vanderkluysen, as assistant professor at Drexel University in Philadelphia who earned a doctorate degree from the University of Hawaii.After emerging from a vent in June, the lava started moving through thick vegetation that made it difficult at times to see deviations in topography, he said.But it’s looking like the lava is headed to Pahoa Village Road, which runs through downtown Pahoa.”Laterally it might be a little to the right or left, but it will head to the road” — unless it suddenly stops moving, Vanderkluysen said.What’s less predictable is where new branches will sprout from the miles-long flow and spread in other directions.”We don’t have a good grasp of where breakouts are going to happen,” he said.This Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014 photo provided by the U.S. Geological Survey shows an aerial view of t …HOW HOT IS THE LAVA?About 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Janet Babb, spokeswoman for the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. „Ten times hotter than boiling water.”But the temperature starts to drop after the lava is exposed to air.”The crust cools down, and you can walk on it after a few days,” Vanderkluysen said.CAN ANYTHING BE DONE TO STOP IT?„Lava diversion is a very complex issue,” Babb said. „It’s a complex legal, political, technical and cultural issue.”Residents have expressed anger at suggestions to divert the Kilauea flow, saying it’s culturally insensitive to interfere with the will of Pele, the Hawaiian volcano goddess.Attempts were made to stop flows from Italy’s Mount Etna by building trenches and concrete walls. But that was only partially successful.Such efforts also are extremely expensive, Vanderkluysen noted.
A Virus Found In Lakes May Be Literally Changing The Way People Think By Kevin Loria15 hours agoMárcio Cabral de Moura/flickr Could something in this water change your brain? While conducting a separate experiment, a group of scientists from Johns Hopkins and the University of Nebraska accidentally discovered something unexpected and potentially disturbing.A virus was living in the mouths and throats of a good portion of the people in the study, a virus that the researchers didn’t think was capable of infecting humans. Worse still, it seemed to be slowing some of the subjects’ mental abilities, especially their ability to process visual information.The surprising part about this for researchers was that a microscopic organism that we thought could infect only algae — plants — was living in about 40% of the small number of people tested.For the rest of us, the bigger surprise may be that this virus could join the ranks of microorganisms that live inside and on us, changing the way we think.In a way, this is less crazy than it seems. Microscopic organisms live all over people and have all kinds of effects on our health, brain, and behavior.There are far more microorganisms in and on a „person” than there are „human cells.” Along with a few pounds of bacteria — trillions of microbes — an even larger number of viruses live in and on the human body. And we know that some of these other creatures may change the way we think, feel, and even the way we interact with others.”We’re really just starting to find out what some of these agents that we’re carrying around might actually do,” study co-author Dr. Robert Yolken, a professor at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, told Healthline.Kit Lee and Angie Fox, UNL A similar sort of algae-infecting virus. Here’s What Scientists Discovered During the original study, published Oct. 27 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers were testing 33 healthy people (a very small number) on a variety of different measures, some of which were mental tests.But they also swabbed the throats of the participants and did a genetic analysis of what was there. In 14 of the 33 people, they found genes from a virus that until now had never been found in living people (researchers had found it once before in someone’s brain during an autopsy, but they didn’t know if it had been there when the person was alive).The virus itself is called ATCV-1 and it’s a chlorovirus, a family of viruses that infect plants. This one affects algae — that green stuff that grows on water — in lakes all over the world. But as far as researchers knew before this, viruses like this very rarely cross from one kingdom like plants to another, such as animals. And even when they do, it’s more likely that they’d go from plants to some type of invertebrate, not all the way to a complex animal like a human.Here’s the most interesting part (for most of us): Since the original study included cognitive tests, the scientists compared the data and saw that people with the virus living in their throats processed visual information about 10% slower than people without the virus — and this difference couldn’t be explained by other factors like age, sex, race, socioeconomic status, education, place of birth, or smoking status.The specific visual information tests where a difference was shown included things like drawing a line that connected numbers in sequence that had been scattered on a page. People with the virus also seemed to have a shorter attention span.To check if this group was somehow different from the general population, the team checked another 59 people for the virus. Out of the final 92, it was present in 40, about the same rate as in the initial, smaller group.To investigate whether the virus might be the cause of that change in visual processing and attention, the researchers then injected mice with the same virus.Wikipedia/Rasbak Lost? Six weeks later, the group of mice with ATCV-1 took about 10% longer to navigate a maze, and they also spent about 20% less time exploring new environments.The infected mice also showed more than 1,000 gene changes in the parts of the brain that are usually considered essential for memory and learning. The researchers could observe these gene changes in mice because they analyzed the mice before and after they were infected with the virus. This shows some of the effects the virus could have on people, but since mice aren’t humans we don’t know that humans would show the same changes — and it would be unethical to conduct the same experiment on people.Don’t Go In The Water?While this study presents some new and fascinating information, it isn’t nearly comprehensive enough to say what it all means.”The thing that’s different about what we found is that [the virus] is something that we wouldn’t have suspected would actually have any effect on humans or animals,” Yolken told Healthline.The whole group of people tested was from Baltimore, so we don’t know how common this virus is in the rest of the world — or even in the rest of Baltimore, as 92 people is still a small number. And while the information from the mice is interesting, there’s no way to say that genes in human brains necessarily change the same way.And even then, this is a very small effect — and just one of many brain and behavioral changes that may be caused by the trillions of creatures that live in and on us. Others that we know about make people more or less social, and may be connected to mental health issues like depression andanxiety, all of which cause cognitive changes.Still, something microscopic that we didn’t even know existed in humans is changing the way some of us think and see. That’s pretty crazy.”There’s more and more studies showing that microorganisms in your body have a bigger influence than anything anyone would have predicted,” the paper’s senior author, James Van Etten, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln plant pathologist, told Healthline.
6 Weirdest Trucks from Around the World By Keith Griffin12 hours ago We’ve been featuring some pretty weird trucks lately— a Unimog, a Fiat. And it got me thinking about other weird trucks out there. To save you the trouble of searching, I’ve come up with 5 of the weirdest trucks from around the world.It’s an offbeat collection of converted 4x4s, construction trucks that could crush LeBron James’ Kia K900 like a gnat, and the biggest dang Fiat you have ever seen. They all seem fitting for Halloween in some weird way.RELATED: Check out this Danish Navy Unimog Mattracks MT PlusLove your Chevy S10 pickup? Wish you could take it snowmobiling with you? Well, now you can thanks to a company called Mattracks.Mattracks has been converting 4×4 Trucks, SUVs, Tractors, ATVs & UTVs for the past 20 plus years. Mattracks’ engineers developed the new MT Plus – adding to the already extensive Mattracks model lineup.The new MT Plus has more “track” on the ground, which will provide greater performance in deep snow or soft soil conditions. With a 21” longer footprint on hard surface and 33” more in soft soil conditions compared to the standard 105/150 series; the rear track on the MT Plus provides floatation in deep snow, sand, mud, swamps or any challenging terrain. The Plus system will fit most ½ ton pickups and large SUVs.Fiat Panda CJ17What do you get when Fiat and Jeep merge? Well, besides a whole new company. You get this weird truck – a mix between a Fiat Panda 4×4 and a Jeep CJ17.The vehicle took two weeks to build and stands at 12.8 feet tall. Fiat says the most difficult part of the build was in connecting the steering system, clutch, accelerator and brakes between the two cars. This monster Panda was used in a TV commercial in 2013.RELATED: The Strange, Unused Armored Chinese Government Vehicle LiebherrLiebherr, a heavy equipment manufacturer in Germany, is designer of what it bills as the largest earth-hauling truck in the world, the T 282B. OK, so being big doesn’t automatically make you weird but this truck looks weird.According to QuoteZone, it weighs in at 203 tons empty, has a maximum operating weight of 592 tons, and can carry 365 tons. This beast of a truck will set you back around $3.5 million, but CD-player and air conditioning are optional. Also, can you imagine the running start you need to get inside?RELATED: See images of the Pontiac G8 Pickup DekotoraOK, this isn’t one specific truck but more a comment on the group of trucks known as Dekotora. They’re common to Japan and are as bizarre as the owner’s imagination allows.They’re a mixture of bright paints, UV lights and body parts added in a tribute to Rube Goldberg. They’re awesomeness for their bizarreness. Sometimes they are purposely built by companies and other times just as a hobby.Harley Camperwith motorcycles in tow before. But have you ever seen a motorcycle that was an RV?Well, now you can tell your grandkids you did. It’s a combination camper/Harley hog. The best part? You’re protected from the rain (well, unless it blows in from the sides).RELATED: 9-year-old Designs Bugatti Limo Redneck Stretch LimoThe Chevy Stretch Blazer is perfect for your redneck prom based on this image fromCollegeHumor.com. Not sure if it’s perfect for anything else.Does anybody else have doubts about that frame holding up? Or the thing leaking like a sieve every time it rains? How about the motor and/or transmission blowing up from strain?OK, so now it’s your turn. Post links below to some of the weirdest trucks you’ve seen tooling down the highway.