Sunday, July 31, 2005

Monsoon Flooding in Western India "SITUATION Heavy rains have caused severe flooding in Maharashtra and Goa states. 42 total deaths have been reported. Road networks, air links, communications, and power supply have been disrupted in locations throughout the affected area. ACTION Army, Navy and Air Forces called in by Government to carry out search and rescue operations. Air force helicopters to airdrop food packages. Approximately 10,000 people evacuated to safer locations. Detailed damage assessment survey to be undertaken in affected districts once floodwaters recede. State Relief and Rehabilitation Department releasing funds to districts for relief expenditure. Note: Information received from the United Nations Resident Coordinator's office in Delhi. Updated map figures from Reuters, BBC, and CNN"

Friday, July 29, 2005

NASA Scientists Discover Tenth Planet

SpaceRef - Your Space Reference: "A planet larger than Pluto has been discovered in the outlying regions of the solar system. The planet was discovered using the Samuel Oschin Telescope at Palomar Observatory near San Diego, Calif. The discovery was announced today by planetary scientist Dr. Mike Brown of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., whose research is partly funded by NASA."

Rough seas bring canoes ashore at Freshwater Bay "``That was awesome,'' Capoeman said as the paddlers beached their canoes at Freshwater Bay before towing them by trailer to the Lower Elwha Klallam Reservation. ``That was a pretty rough day,'' she said, recalling 6- to 8-foot-high swells on the Pacific Ocean, high winds and fog."

South West Monsoon 2005 - Flood Situation Report 27 Jul 2005

ReliefWeb: "ASSAM River Brahamputra at Dibrugarh is flowing at 105.05 m as against the danger level of 104.24 m with a steady trend. Rivers Bramahputra (at Neamatighat, Tejpur, Dubri, Jai Bharali (at Sonitpur), Puthimari (at Kamrup), Beki (at Barpeta) and Sankosh (at Golakganj), are flowing above their warning levels. Flood situation has improved. Except in some low lying areas and places of embankment breaches, no flooding/water logging is reported from any part of the State. The cumulative impact of the recent floods in the Assam is given below: Districts affected: 15 (Karimganj, Tinsukia, Lakhimpur, Dibrugarh, Dhemaj, Jorhat, Morigaon, Kokrajhar, Nalbari, Goalpara, Sonitpur, Kamrup, Barpeta, Darrang and Bongiagaon) Villages affected: 449 Population affected: 3.66 lakhs [A lakh equals 100,000] Human lives lost: 13 Agricultural area affected: 0.71 lakhs ha. No of houses damaged: 97 "

Moratorium on Certain Subdivisions in Thurston County

The Olympian: "County officials say it was the only way to keep their options open after last week's ruling by the state Growth Management Hearings Board in response to an appeal of the county's land-use rules by the environmental group 1,000 Friends of Washington. The ruling found several flaws in the county's comprehensive plan and development rules: The urban growth area is too big; the county sometimes allows the development of more than one unit per five acres in the rural area and needs to have some rural areas that are less dense; and it has not set enough eligible agricultural land aside for farming. County commissioners also announced Wednesday that they will petition the board to reconsider its ruling. They have not decided whether they ultimately will appeal. If the county allows more development in the rural and urban growth areas, 1,000 Friends could appeal again, prompting the growth board to find the county's land-use rules invalid and barring all development in the county, officials said. County commissioners blocked development in the rural county and urban growth areas to anyone without a valid lot by 4:25 p.m. Wednesday."

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Tribal canoes to arrive Saturday at Port Townsend

The Port Townsend Leader OnLine: "They are 'pullers' not paddlers, a designation that is important to the 2005 Intertribal Canoe Journey canoe pullers coming to Port Townsend on July 30. They pull traditional dug-out canoes, made from trees thousands of years old, and come from places as far away as Alaska."

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

200 killed as monsoon hits India

Guardian Unlimited: "Monsoon-related incidents have killed 633 people during the past two months, India's home minister, Shivraj Patil, told parliament. Mr Patil said around 5.6 million people in 16,000 villages had been hit by the heavy seasonal rains, which washed away tens of thousands of homes as well as roads, railway tracks and bridges. More than 76,000 farm animals died and over 700,000 acres of crops were destroyed by the swirling flood waters, he added."

World's largest river island seeks heritage status

Indo-Asian News Service : "'It's an irony to find the Brahmaputra feeding us for most of the year and the same river washes away all our earnings in one big push during the high floods,' says Robin Pegu, another boatman."

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

"Foundation scrutinizes city's property rules" : "Leslie Lewallen, an attorney at the Bellevue office of Pacific Legal Foundation, said her group specifically objects to regulations governing buffers, setbacks, shorelines and steep slopes."

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's Acceptance of Honorary Degree from His Alma Mater Thanks to Instapundit

Friday, July 22, 2005

Thurston County's Land-Use Plan Does Not Comply with GMA

BY JOHN DODGE AND JENNIFER LATSON THE OLYMPIAN "Much of Thurston County's land-use plan and its regulations to manage growth don't comply with the state's Growth Management Act and must be overhauled. That's the conclusion of the Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board in a ruling that could reshape how the county grows for years to come. Ruling on a petition from Futurewise, a public interest group, and the League of Women Voters, the board said ..."

Last of WWII Comanche Code Talkers Dies "OKLAHOMA CITY - Charles Chibitty, the last survivor of the Comanche code talkers who used their native language to transmit messages for the Allies in Europe during World War II, has died. He was 83. Chibitty, who had been residing at a Tulsa nursing home, died Wednesday, said Cathy Flynn, administrative assistant in the Comanche Nation tribal chairman's office. The group of Comanche Indians from the Lawton area were selected for special duty in the U.S. Army to provide the Allies with a language that the Germans could not decipher. Like the larger group of Navajo Indians who performed a similar service in the Pacific theater, the Comanches were dubbed 'code talkers.'"

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Bush Names Roberts: "He or She Is The Wrong Man or Woman For The Court"

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Fabio Casatelli, RIP

.:. procycling .:.: "It was totally fitting that on the day the Tour [de France] passed over the climb where Fabio Casatelli died 10 years ago, two of his former Motorola team-mates should have dominated the toughest day of this year's race."

Another Strong Young Man Holds On As Long As He Could

DoD News:: "DoD Identifies Army Casualty The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. Pfc. Timothy J. Hines, Jr., 21, of Fairfield, Ohio, died on July 14 at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C., from wounds sustained on June 19 in Baghdad, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his HMMWV. Hines was assigned to the 64th Military Police Company, 720th Military Police Battalion, 89th Military Police Brigade, Fort Hood, Texas."

Saturday, July 16, 2005

152 villages inundated as flood situation in Assam, Bihar and Bengal worsens

India News "At least 152 villages in Assam and West Bengal have been inundated by floods caused by the rising water levels of the Rivers Brahmaputra, Bagmati and Brahmani."

Japan Checks Chinese Beer Suspected of Containing Cancer-Causing Agent

Friday, July 15, 2005

New Downtown Sirens Will Warn Seattleites of Pending Disasters

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Cognitive Therapy as an Alternative to ADHD Drugs

Science & Technology at Scientific Training the Brain: "Moreover, because there is no industry to back it, behavioral therapy has been grossly underrated, Diller and others opine. Unpublished data from the Multimodal Treatment Study--the largest U.S. long-term study of ADHD treatment in children--show that after two years, kids treated with behavioral therapy only (parent training, school intervention and a special summer camp program) functioned just as well as kids on high-dose medication, says lead researcher William Pelham of the University at Buffalo. Also, only an additional 8 percent of the children in the behavioral arm were medicated at the end of the second year, indicating that most parents in this group were satisfied with behavioral therapy. "

Salish Stories and Seismicity in the Pacific NW

Newswise | Native Lore Tells the Tale: There's Been a Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On: "Archeological sites along the coast have yielded artifacts linked to the Thunderbird and Whale stories that imply seismic events earlier than the 1700 earthquake and tsunami. Geological evidence suggests the Cascadia subduction zone has produced at least seven major earthquakes in the last 3,500 years, the researchers said."

Monday, July 11, 2005

Structure of Biological "Transistor" Detailed in Higher Organisms

The electro-mechanics of the potassium channel found in nerve cell membranes is yielding to study by x-ray diffraction, just as the structure of DNA did. The trick was getting pure crystals of the protein involved in opening and closing this molecular door. This is the type of research cited in Nobel awards. HHMI News: "The researchers analyzed the structure of a Kv1.2 channel from the rat using x-ray crystallography. In this analytical technique, intense beams of x-rays are directed through crystals of proteins. The underlying atomic structure of the proteins is deduced by analyzing the pattern of diffraction of the x-rays. The researchers had to overcome a major technical challenge to produce pure crystals of the Kv1.2 channel protein. The scientists developed a technique to crystallize the protein while maintaining it in a mixture of detergent and lipid - which more closely mimicked the oily cell membrane in which the channel exists naturally. 'This is a significant technical advance that I hope will turn out to be important for crystallization of other membrane proteins,' said MacKinnon. ... The researchers' earlier structural studies of the bacterial channel revealed that the voltage-sensing molecular 'paddles' control potassium flow by snapping open or shut. However, said MacKinnon, understanding the precise mechanism of this movement was thwarted because the voltage-sensing structure was contorted in the crystallized bacterial protein. 'We could deduce some things about how the voltage sensor worked,' he said. 'But identifying this voltage-sensor paddle led us to experiments that told us that this paddle moves a lot through the membrane when the channel opens. However, that channel couldn't really tell us how the paddle attached to the pore to open and close it.' The crystals of the Kv1.2 channel preserved the natural conformation of the voltage sensor. This enabled the researchers to discern that the paddle was attached by a hinge-like 'linker' that is coupled to the pore through which potassium flows. 'This connection was totally broken in the earlier structure, so we couldn't say anything about how the motions of the voltage sensor are coupled to the pore,' said MacKinnon. 'That had to be left to complete speculation.'”

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Sign the Petition to Take Back the Memorial

The Great Ground Zero Heist Read Ms. Burlingame's OpEd piece on how the Memorial to be built at the site of the Twin Towers is being hijacked. Then go to and please sign the petition.

Time variations of land water storage from an inversion of 2 years of GRACE geoids

Earth and Planetary Science Letters: "Abstract By delivering monthly maps of the gravity field, the GRACE project allows the determination of tiny time variations of the Earth's gravity and particularly the effects of fluid mass redistributions at the surface of the Earth. However, GRACE data represent vertically integrated gravity measurements, thus are the sum of all mass redistributions inside the Earth's system (atmosphere, oceans and continental water storage, plus solid Earth). In this paper, we apply a generalized least-squares inverse approach, previously developed by [1] [G. Ramillien, A. Cazenave, O. Brunau, Global time-variations of hydrological signals from GRACE satellite gravimetry, Geophys. J. Int. 158 (2004) 813-826.], to estimate, from the monthly GRACE geoids, continental water storage variations (and their associated uncertainties) over a 2-year time span (April 2002 to May 2004). Tests demonstrating the robustness of the method are presented, including the separation between liquid water reservoirs (surface waters + soil moisture + groundwaters) and snow pack contributions. Individual monthly solutions of total land water storage from GRACE, with a spatial resolution of 660 km, are presented for the 2-year time span. We also derive the seasonal cycle map. We further estimate water volume changes over eight large river basin"

Kitsap County Declares Victory in $4 Million Class Action Lawsuit Re. Impact Fees

Kitsap County Board of Commissioners Press Release: "'The Court has again affirmed that, when people want to challenge a land use matter, they must do so within 21 days,' said Peter Buck of Buck & Gordon, LLP, which represented the County in the long-running case. 'County officials and the citizens they represent were blindsided by the delay, but they've prevailed. It's a huge win for the people of Kitsap County, who retain that $4 million for roads and parks,' Buck added."

Friday, July 08, 2005

Andrew C. McCarthy on Supreme Court Nominations: The Security Dimension

National Review Online: "Exactly what kind of procedures and protections are our enemies entitled to in these unprecedented court proceedings? Do they get counsel? Do they get discovery -- including battlefield intelligence? Are these to be full-blown trials in which we take soldiers off the battlefield so that they can testify about the circumstances of the particular enemy combatant's apprehension during this firefight or that? How much, in the middle of a war, should federal judges be able to second-guess commanders in the field? If the jurisdiction of the U.S. courts now extends to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, why shouldn't it extend to Baghdad, or Kandahar, or anyplace else on the globe where American forces are in de facto control of foreign territory? Are the foreign terrorists entitled to Geneva Convention protections even though they themselves pervert the laws and customs of war? The answer to these and other questions is: We don't know. The Supreme Court provided precious little guidance in Hamdi and Rasul, and Congress has not intervened, so the lower courts are on their own: fashioning new procedures and answering legal questions as they arise, ad hoc. Cases are making their way up the system's chain -- and they may land in the Supreme Court's lap as early as next term."

NASA Satellites Measure And Monitor Sea Level

SpaceRef - Your Space Reference: "NASA works with agency partners such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Science Foundation to explore and understand sea level change. Critical resources that NASA brings to bear on this issue include such satellites as: -- Topex/Poseidon and Jason, the U.S. portions of which are managed by JPL, which use radar to map the precise features of the oceans' surface, measuring ocean height and monitoring ocean circulation; -- Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite (IceSat), which studies the mass of polar ice sheets and their contributions to global sea level change; -- Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment (Grace), also managed by JPL, which maps Earth's gravitational field, allowing us to better understand movement of water throughout the Earth. "

Thursday, July 07, 2005

While G-8 Leaders Discuss Climate Change & African Poverty ...

Corps Cites Seattle for Filling Wetlands

The Seattle Times: "Beal said he told Lewis the city had filled in wetlands and otherwise encroached on his beloved [Hamm] creek while ignoring his complaints. He also claimed sediment from the construction site has been flowing downstream and clogging up other parts of the stream."

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

NASA's Comet Probe "Deforms" Horoscope: Lawsuit Filed

The Washington Times
"NASA's mission that sent a space probe smashing into a comet raised more than cosmic dust - it also brought a lawsuit from a Russian astrologer. Marina Bai has sued the U.S. space agency, claiming the Deep Impact probe that punched a crater into the comet Tempel 1 late Sunday "ruins the natural balance of forces in the universe," the newspaper Izvestia reported Tuesday."

Monday, July 04, 2005

Threatening our civil liberties with their GPS-guided ‘Bunker Busters'

Salmon Center on Hood Canal "The original design called for a unique salmon-spawning aquarium with below-ground viewing areas, laboratories, a theater and Native American cultural exhibits. Together, the features would create a regional tourist destination. Part of the plan is rehabilitation of Sweetwater Creek. Critics say the size and location as first conceived is a concern. All of the facilities were planned to be adjacent to or across Highway 3 from Belfair Elementary School and next door to the 135-acre Mary E. Theler wetlands."

A Shared Vision for Puget Sound Chinook

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Life detection instrument passes key test on road to Mars

SpaceRef - Your Space Reference: "In a place that hadn't seen a blade of grass or a bug for ages, and contending with dust and temperature extremes that left her either freezing or sweating, Skelley ran 340 tests that proved the instrument could unambiguously detect amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. More importantly, she and Mathies were able to detect the preference of Earth's amino acids for left-handedness over right-handedness. This 'homochirality' is a hallmark of life that Mathies thinks is a critical test that must be done on Mars. 'We feel that measuring homochirality - a prevalence of one type of handedness over another - would be absolute proof of life,' said Mathies, professor of chemistry at UC Berkeley and Skelley's research advisor. 'We've shown on Earth, in the most Mars-like environment available, that this instrument is a thousand times better at detecting biomarkers than any instrument put on Mars before.' "

Acre of land finds its way home to the Suquamish Tribe

The Seattle Times: "This spot was home to the Suquamish people for at least 1,700 years. By about 1790, the cedar-plank longhouse called Old Man House was built here. It was as wide as 60 feet, and as it was added to over the years, it stretched for as long as 600 feet down the beach of Agate Passage. The site was dug out with clamshells and the house posts raised with help from neighboring tribes. Families, each with their own fire, lived and gathered here, including Chief Seattle, for whom Seattle is named, who was born to a Suquamish father and Duwamish mother. The tribe's principal village, called D'Suq'Wub ('clear salt water'), was here, with as many as 1,000 people living under one roof at Old Man House."