Thunderstorms: a must to avoid

first_imgTalk to professional pilots and aircraft accident investigators and here’s what they’ll tell you about thunderstorms: avoid them. Don’t try to outclimb them in an attempt to overfly bad weather. Don’t attempt to ‘shoot the gap’ between thunderstorm cells. Give convective, tempestuous thunderstorms wide, wide berth. Respect the fact that they can ruin your day.AirlineRatings.com took a look at some of the more notable thunderstorm–related crashes. We excluded wind shear accidents that occurred close to the ground, on takeoff and landing, focusing on encounters during climb or at cruise altitude. Despite the fact specific Probable Causes may differ, a common thread runs through the record: pilots should never come perilously close to, or actually penetrate, thunderstorm cells.   Suggested Read: Freak thunderstorms set to riseThe record: Air France 447It’s tempting to place the June 1, 2009 crash of Air France Flight 447 in this category. But we won’t. Even though the A330’s route over the mid-Atlantic, off the coast of Brazil, put its flight path near a broad band of thunderstorms, the French air accident investigatory agency, the BEA, said the crash was not due weather, but a deep aerodynamic stall. All 228 on board died on the Rio de Janeiro to Paris flight.The accident remains one of the most controversial in history. But it doesn’t exactly fit the classic mold of thunderstorm encounters. Others do.Southern Airways 242The DC-9, on a short hop from Huntsville, Alabama to Atlanta, attempted to shoot the gap ‘twixt two thunderstorm cells April 4, 1977. Approaching a line of storms at 17,000 feet the pilot looks down at his black & white Bendix X-band radar. “Looks heavy,” he says. Nothing’s going through that.” Then, something catches his eye. “See that?” he asks the first officer (co-pilot). “That’s a hole isn’t it?” responds the first officer.“It’s not showing a hole, see it?”Shortly thereafter the first officer asks the captain, “Which way do we go across, or go out? I don’t know how we get through there.”The pilot responds, “I know you’re just going to have to go out and [do it].”“Yeah, right across that band,” answers the first officer.A pair of thunderstorm cells flank the gap that Southern 242 attempts to squeeze through. The one to the north tops out at 46,000 feet; the one to the south forms an anvil-like plateau 5,000 feet higher.As the first officer, who was doing the actual flying, banks to the left he says, “All right, here we go.” In an instant Flight 242 enters a liquid hell with baseball-sized hail crashing against the fuselage.Both Pratt & Whitney JT8-Ds literally suffocate. The compressor blades of the powerplants stall, killing the engines. The DC-9 is suddenly a glider.The crew makes an heroic, but futile, attempt to land on a small rural road. It fails. 72 die, including nine on the ground. Twenty-two originally survive.In its Probable Cause finding the United States National Transportation Safety Board said the crash resulted from “the total and unique loss of thrust from both engines while the aircraft was penetrating an area of severe thunderstorms.” A dissenting NTSB member said the accident was caused by “the captain’s decision to penetrate rather than avoid an are of severe weather.” The dissenting member also blamed the crash on “the reliance upon airborne weather radar for penetration rather than avoidance of the storm system.”Braniff International Airways 352If one captain decided to penetrate a thunderstorm system, nine years earlier another opted, too late as it tuned out, to do a 180-degree turn and try to escape.Flight 352, a four-engine Electra propjet, is making the short hop from Houston to Dallas May 3, 1968, prime thunderstorm season in Texas. While at 20,000 feet the crew asks Air Traffic Control for permission to descend to 15,000 feet and deviate to the west. ATC responds by saying other flights are avoiding the weather by circumnavigating it to the east. The crew responds, “On our [radar] scope here it looks like…a little bit to the west would do us real fine.” Controllers okay a descent to 14,000 feet. Then Flight 352 asks ATC for permission to descend to 5,000 feet, and inquires if there is any hail in the area. Air Traffic Control answers, “No, you’re the closest one that’s ever come close to it yet…I haven’t been able…well I haven’t tried to get anybody to go through it, they’ve all deviated around to the east.”Minutes later Braniff 352 runs into that hail and requests a 180-degree turn. ATC okays the exit. The Electra never makes it out, breaking up in mid-air. 85 dead.The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board’s Probable Cause finding?: “The stressing of the aircraft structure beyond its ultimate strength during an attempted recovery from an unusual attitude induced by turbulence associated with a thunderstorm. The operation in the turbulence resulted from a decision to penetrate an area of known weather.”In the wake of 352, NTSB recommended airlines emphasize weather radar be used to avoid, not penetrate, thunderstorms.It’s a refrain that still rings true today.Northwest Airlines Flight 705 Thunderstorms aren’t unusual over the Everglades of the U.S. state of Florida, even in February. On climbout from Miami International en route to Chicago on February 12, 1963, Northwest Flight 705, a Boeing 720, requests Air traffic controllers allow it to climb to a higher altitude to avoid storms in the area. 705’s crew then tells ATC, “We’re in the clear now. We can see it out ahead…Looks pretty bad.”Controllers clear 705 to climb. ATC and the crew talked about moderate to heavy turbulence. Then, Flight 705 radios controllers, “You better run the rest of [the departing flights] off the other way.”The 720 climbs fast and furious, as much as 9,000 feet per minute. Then, it starts to fall. Somewhere below 10,000 feet the aircraft comes apart. 43 people perish.Investigators found the Probable Cause of the crash to be up and downdrafts, the kind associated with thunderstorms. Those gyrations led to the in-flight breakup of the 720.While thunderstorms per se usually can’t pull an airplane apart, “turbulence [associated with the storms can] cause an aircraft to exceed its structural limits and literally rip of the wings,” said retired Major General Timothy Peppe, Chief of Safety and Commander of the United States Air Force Safety Center in a presentation for the U.S. National Weather Association. This is what happened to Northwest Flight 705.That’s why the experts continue to counsel avoidance. Not penetration, not attempts to overfly or slip between cells.New tools for safer flightsIn an effort to equip pilots with the latest tools to meet the thunderstorm avoidance challenge the U.S. avionics company Rockwell Collins unveiled its new MultiScan ThreatTrack™ weather radar in 2014.Contending it “provides unprecedented atmospheric threat assessment capabilities for transport aircraft,” the system goes beyond predicting hail and lightening within a thunderstorm cell. It actually alerts pilots about treats “adjacent to the cell.” Should the cells be growing ahead and below the aircraft, ThreatTrack Predictive Overflight™ protection alerts pilots if the cells will be in their airplane’s flight path.Then there’s turbulence detection. The system breaks turbulence into two categories: severe and “ride-quality.”When’s the system coming to a carrier you? American Airlines is debuting the new radar on its Next-Generation Boeing 737 fleet. A number of other carriers have opted for the new device for some of their aircraft. Among them are AirAsia, Silk Air, China Eastern, EVA Air, VivaAerobus, Air Algerie and Lion Air.The new radar holds the promise of “helping pilots better navigate disruptive weather threats,” as wells a “smoother flights,” contends Steve Timm, Rockwell Collins vice president and general manager for Air Transport Systems.New detection gear is great, as long as pilots use it to absolutely avoid thunderstorms, not penetrate or skirt them too closely. Good detection tools are never a substitute for good decision-making. If there’s one lesson the accident record teaches unambiguously it’s that.last_img read more

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Pharrel William’s fans are not Happy

first_imgNot all Pharrell Williams fans are happy right now.The41-year-old singer has issued an apology for the backlash he hasreceived for sporting an American Indian headdres on the cover of theJuly issue of Elle UK.”I respect and honor every kind of race, background and culture. I am genuinely sorry,” a rep for the star issued in a statement to the Daily News.Twitter users expressed just how not pleased they were by using the hashtag “#nothappy” along with their opinions on Williams’ controversial choice.Pharrell Williams appears onstage the 56th annual Grammy Awards wearing much more fan-approved headwear. Matt Sayles/Matt Sayles/Invision/APPharrell Williams appears onstage the 56th annual Grammy Awards wearing much more fan-approved headwear.EnlargePharrell Williams wore the hat that makes fans ‘Happy’ to the 35th anniversary gala celebration at The Geffen Contemporary at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. Jason LaVeris/FilmMagicPharrell Williams wore the hat that makes fans ‘Happy’ to the 35th anniversary gala celebration at The Geffen Contemporary at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.Enlarge”Pharell…why?! #NotHappy with @ELLEmagazine for the appropriation of this headdress,” one angered user wrote.Ironically, the “Happy” singer did make note of his Native American ancestry in a 2010 interview with The Oprah Magazine.last_img read more

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10 months agoMan Utd legend van Nistelrooy: I shouted at Ferguson & then made reconciliation

first_imgAbout the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say Man Utd legend van Nistelrooy: I shouted at Ferguson & then made reconciliationby Freddie Taylor10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveRuud van Nistelrooy says he still regrets leaving Manchester United in controversial fashion 13 years ago. The Dutchman enjoyed great success at Old Trafford, before a falling out with Sir Alex Ferguson resulted in him joining Real Madrid in 2006.And the striker admitted he took the first steps to mend their broken relationship.”It was very harsh, both ways,” he told Eleven Sports.”Especially after five years of having such a strong bond. I learned so much from him, and in all modesty: he from me too.”And yet the end was ruthless.”He added: “It was me who took the first step to make it okay again. I called him. A few times a year I felt bad about what I had done to him and the names I called him when he kept me on the bench the entire match in the League Cup final in Cardiff. In a blind rage I shouted at him.”I called him something. I called him a number of things in a blind rage. Cocky and stubborn as I was, I couldn’t snap out of that for some time after. That’s how it all crashed.”It was just really disrespectful, there were lots of other people there. It wasn’t all that outrageous in terms of words but it was completely out of order. Not done.”I wasn’t proud of it, still am not.” last_img read more

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House approves legislation protecting children involved in abuse investigations

first_img Categories: Hornberger News,Runestad News 21Feb House approves legislation protecting children involved in abuse investigations Bipartisan bill package requires the recording of forensic interviewsLegislation aimed at bringing additional clarity to legal matters involving allegations of child abuse and neglect was approved today in the Michigan House with overwhelming support.State Reps. Jim Runestad, Robert Kosowski and Pamela Hornberger sponsored the bipartisan three-bill package requiring all forensic interviews conducted at child advocacy centers with children involved in abuse and neglect investigations to be recorded on video.“The young kids involved in these cases are traumatized, making them particularly susceptible to influence during interviews,” said Runestad, R-White Lake, chair of the House Judiciary Committee. “Videotaping protects the witness and the due process rights of the accused by ensuring an accurate record of the questions and their responses.”The bills also allow recorded interviews to be used in certain court hearings, provide protocols for accessing and storing the recordings and increase penalties for intentionally disseminating the recordings to unauthorized individuals.“House Bills 4298-4300 are common-sense legislation that protect some of Michigan’s most vulnerable residents – children who have been involved in abuse and neglect situations – while codifying a best practice,” said Kosowski, D-Westland.The Governor’s Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect recommended videotaping forensic interviews as a best practice after a pilot program found that recordings resulted in more pleas entered to the original charge rather than going to trial.“Recording all forensic interviews with children really is the best practice,” said Hornberger, R-Chesterfield Township. “It guarantees an accurate record of a child’s account of events and decreases the likelihood that vulnerable kids will have to repeat the painful details of their trauma over and over again.”House Bills 4298-4300 now move to the Senate for consideration.###last_img read more

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Premature babies also have protective antiviral antibodies

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Mar 18 2019Even premature babies carry anti-viral antibodies transferred from the mother, researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden report in a paper on maternal antibodies in newborns, published in the journal Nature Medicine. The results should change our approach to infection sensitivity in newborns, they say.Antibodies are transferred from the mother’s blood to the fetus that give the newborn passive defence against infection. Since most of this process takes place during the third trimester of the pregnancy, doctors have regarded very premature babies as being unprotected by such maternal antibodies.However, now that the total repertoire of maternal anti-viral antibodies has been analyzed in neonates by researchers at Karolinska Institutet and Karolinska University Hospital, another picture is emerging.”We saw that babies born as early as in week 24 also have maternal antibodies, which surprised us,” says corresponding author Dr Petter Brodin, physician and researcher at the Science for Life Laboratory (SciLifeLab) and the Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Karolinska Institutet.The study comprised 78 mother-child pairs. 32 of the babies were very premature (born before week 30) and 46 were full-term. The analysis show that the repertoire of maternal antibodies was the same in both groups.”I hope that this makes us question some preconceived ideas about the neonate immune system and infection sensitivity so that we can take even better care of newborns,” says Dr Brodin. “Premature babies can be especially sensitive to infection, but that is not because they lack maternal antibodies. We should concentrate more on other possible causes, maybe like their having underdeveloped lung function or weaker skin barriers.”Related StoriesNew research offers hints to origins of systemic lupus erythematosusNovel vaccine against bee sting allergy successfully testedBio-Rad launches new isotype-specific secondary antibodiesThe study was conducted using a newly developed method for simultaneously analysing the presence of antibodies against all the viruses that can infect humans (with the exception of the Zika virus, which was identified later). The method is developed by US researchers and is based on a so-called bacteriophage display, a technique awarded with the 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.Briefly, it is based on the ability to make viral particles called bacteriophages display a specific surface protein. In this case, all in all the bacteriophage library displayed over 93,000 different peptides, short-chain proteins, from over 206 species of virus and over 1 000 different strains. The library is mixed with the blood plasma to be tested. Any antibodies in the plasma sample bind with the bacteriophages and can then be detected by the researchers.The analysis was conducted on samples taken at birth and during the newborns’ first, fourth and twelfth week. The researchers found that the protection offered by the antibodies lasted different durations depending on the virus. This can suggest that their transfer during the fetal stage is regulated rather than random, a possibility the group is now examining further.The study also shows which parts of the virus proteins that antibodies target, information that is important in the development of vaccines, notes Dr Brodin.”If all maternal antibodies target a specific part of a virus protein, that is important to know because then it is that part a vaccine should be based on,” he says. “I hope that our results can be used by others to develop better vaccines, such as against the RS virus that causes so much distress for babies every winter.” Source:https://ki.se/en/research/protective-antibodies-also-found-in-premature-babieslast_img read more

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Scientists create powerful method for directed evolution of molecules

first_imgWhat we have developed is the most robust system yet for directed evolution in mammalian cells.”Study lead author Justin English, PhD, a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Pharmacology at the UNC School of Medicine “The scientific community has needed a tool like this for a long time”, said study senior author Bryan L. Roth, MD, PhD, the Michael Hooker Distinguished Professor in the Department of Pharmacology at the UNC School of Medicine. “We believe our technique will accelerate research and ultimately lead to better therapeutics for people suffering with many of the diseases for which we need much better treatments.”The broad concept of directed evolution is not new. Researchers have been applying it for centuries in selecting and breeding variants of animals and plants that have desired characteristics, such as crop varieties with larger fruits. Biologists in recent decades also have used directed evolution at the molecular level in the laboratory, for example, by mutating a gene randomly until a variant appears that has a desired property. But on the whole, directed evolution methods for biological molecules have been difficult to use and limited in their application.The new method developed by Roth, English, and colleagues is comparatively quick, easy, and versatile. It uses the Sindbis virus as the carrier of the gene to be modified. The virus with its genetic cargo can infect cells in a culture dish and mutate quite rapidly. The researchers set up conditions so that the only mutant genes to thrive are the ones encoding proteins capable of accomplishing a desired function within the cells, such as activating a certain receptor, or switching on certain genes. Because the system works in mammalian cells, it can be used to evolve new human, mouse, or other mammalian proteins that would be burdensome or impossible to generate with traditional bacterial cell-based methods.Related StoriesThe immune system in women may be different from men finds studyCommon cold virus strain could be a breakthrough in bladder cancer treatmentSchwann cells capable of generating protective myelin over nerves finds researchEnglish and his colleagues call the new system “VEGAS” for Viral Evolution of Genetically Actuating Sequences. In an initial demonstration, Roth’s lab modified a protein called a tetracycline transactivator (tTA), which works as a switch to activate genes and is a standard tool used in biology experiments. Normally tTA stops working if it encounters the antibiotic tetracycline or closely related doxycycline, but the researchers evolved a new version with 22 mutations that allows tTA to keep working despite very high levels of doxycycline. The process took just seven days.”To get a sense of how efficient that is, consider that a previously reported mammalian directed evolution method applied to the tetracycline transactivator took four months to yield just two mutations that conferred only partial insensitivity to doxycycline,” English said.The scientists next applied VEGAS to a common type of cellular receptor called a G protein-coupled-receptor (GPCR). There are hundreds of different GPCRs on human cells, and many are targeted by modern drugs to treat a wide variety of conditions. Precisely how a given GPCR changes shape when it switches from being inactive to active is of great interest to researchers trying to create more precise treatments. English and colleagues used VEGAS to quickly mutate a little-studied GPCR called MRGPRX2 so that it would stay in an always-active state.”Identifying the mutations that occurred during this rapid evolution helps us understand for the first time the key regions in the receptor protein involved in the transition to an active state,” English said.In a final demonstration, the team showed the potential of VEGAS to guide drug development more directly. They used VEGAS to rapidly evolve small biological molecules called nanobodies that could activate different GPCRs – including serotonin and dopamine receptors, which are found on brain cells and are targeted by many psychiatric drugs.The team is now using VEGAS in an effort to develop highly efficient gene-editing tools, potentially for curing genetic diseases, and to engineer nanobodies that can neutralize cancer-causing genes. Source:University of North Carolina Health Care Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jul 5 2019UNC School of Medicine scientists created a powerful new “directed evolution” technique for the rapid development of scientific tools and new treatments for many diseases.The scientists, whose breakthrough is reported in Cell, demonstrated the technique by evolving several proteins to perform precise new tasks, each time doing it in a matter of days. Existing methods of directed evolution are more laborious and time-consuming, and are typically applied in bacterial cells, which limits the usefulness of this technology for evolving proteins for use in human cells.Directed evolution is an artificial, sped up version of the evolution process in nature. The idea is to focus the evolutionary process on a single DNA sequence to make it perform a specified task. Directed evolution can be used, in principle, to make new therapeutics that work powerfully to stop diseases and have few or no side effects. The initial groundbreaking scientific work on directed evolution won the 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.last_img read more

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Floods affect 8 lakh in Assam 10 dead across Northeast as rains

first_img Next India Today Web Desk New DelhiJuly 12, 2019UPDATED: July 12, 2019 23:28 IST An village in Kamrup district of Assam on July 12. (Photo: IANS)Heavy rain and floods have thrown life out of gear in the entire eastern region with over eight lakh people being affected by the overflowing Brahmaputra in Assam. Non-stop rain in north Bengal and Sikkim has triggered several landslides, throwing normal life out of gear.Low-lying areas in north Bengal and Sikkim are also staring at a flood-like situation with the incessant rainfall while in Assam at least 6 people have been killed so far. A total of 10 people have died across three states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram. Some are feared dead in Bengal.Here are the top 10 developments:1. Road connectivity between north Bengal and Sikkim has been completely disrupted by the continuous rainfall. Rail connectivity has also been disrupted in the Dooars region. Several tourists are struck on the road while two tourist vehicle were drawn into the Teesta River and bodies are yet to recovered due to the rising water levels in Teesta.2. Road connectivity between Siliguri and Sikkim has been shut. Heavy rain is expected till July 14.3. Over eight lakh people have been affected by the flood situation in Assam with more than half of the districts in the Northeastern state submerged under water.4. Barpeta in Assam is the worst hit district with over 85,000 people reeling under the impact of the floods. Six people have lost their lives in Assam so far.5. Animals are fleeing the Kaziranga National Park, the famed habitat of the Great Indian Rhino and a World Heritage site. Authorities have set up road barricades on the national highway passing through the park to limit speeding vehicles.6. The Assam disaster relief force has said nearly 800 villages in 41 revenue circles are under water and about2,000 marooned people have been put up in 53 relief camps and relief distribution centres set up by the district administrations.7. In Arunachal Pradesh, 2 girls were buried in their sleep and three others were injured after a landslide caused a boundary wall to collapse on the hostel building of a school in Tawang district.8. Arunachal capital Itanagar has been witnessing landslips, mudslides and road blockades due to heavy rainfall for several days and the district administration has ordered closure of all schools in Itanagar till Sunday.9. In Mizoram, 2 men have drowned and 390 houses submerged in floods triggered by incessant rain across the state. Disaster management and rehabilitation officials said landslides made many places inaccessible.10. The Itanagar-Naharlagun stretch of NH-415, which is being upgraded to a four-lane highway, is the worst hit by the monsoon fury.(With PTI inputs)Also Read | Incessant rains trigger landslides, bring life to a standstill in Arunachal PradeshAlso Watch | In Depth: Decoding the link between floods and droughtsFor the latest World Cup news, live scores and fixtures for World Cup 2019, log on to indiatoday.in/sports. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for World Cup news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted bySanchari Chatterjee Floods affect 8 lakh in Assam, 10 dead across Northeast as rains lash region | 10 pointsHeavy rainfall and floods have affected the entire Eastern and Northeastern India. Over eight lakh people have been affected in Assam while the rain has disrupted life in north Bengal, Sikkim and other states.advertisementlast_img read more

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