20 million face famine. Declassified US plan to help 

While browsing the National Archives, I found a 10 step plan to prevent third world hunger emergencies in declassified US documents. The plan was dated July 9, 1984. More than 30 years later, most of the wealthy world watches while millions are about starve to death. What can we do? Here’s my rough paraphrase of what the plan said to do: 1) Preposition grain in selected third world areas for immediate distribution in a starvation situation. 2) Establish a $50 million presidential fund to permit timely response to food emergencies. 3) Spread out the cost of ocean freight for emergency … Continue reading 20 million face famine. Declassified US plan to help 

Anti-radiation vest may allow space exploration

The company that makes anti-radiation vests has a web site which says full body gamma radiation protection would weigh a quarter ton, so they have a solution that only shields vital organs.  US space agency NASA has said it hopes to send astronauts to Mars in the mid-2030s. The vest is made of layers that look like a contoured map and will be tailor-made for each astronaut. Non-metallic protective materials will be positioned on each shield to cover the organs of each astronaut. What do the new vests weigh? What is the non-metallic material that provides radiation protection? Layers of … Continue reading Anti-radiation vest may allow space exploration

Weird weather: 155mph twister winds and baseball-sized hail stones

You don’t see hail this size every day. Is this a record? It is big, but not the biggest on record. Here’s the winner: The largest recorded hailstone in the U.S. was nearly as big as a volleyball and fell on July 23, 2010, in Vivian, South Dakota. It was 8 inches in diameter and weighed almost 2 pounds. (Link) According to NOAA, large hailstones can fall at speeds faster than 100 miles (160 kilometers) per hour. They can sometimes contain foreign matter, such as pebbles, leaves, twigs, nuts, and insects. Nuts? Yes, anything blown around by the  winds can … Continue reading Weird weather: 155mph twister winds and baseball-sized hail stones

Cancer treatment success with genetic modification of T-cells

Some good news on the cancer research front. An experimental gene therapy that turns a patient’s own blood cells into cancer killers worked in a major study, with more than one-third of very sick lymphoma patients showing no sign of disease six months after a single treatment, Kite Pharma Inc. said Tuesday. In all, 82% of patients had their cancer shrink at least by half at some point in the study. Shares of Santa Monica-based Kite soared. They were up more than 25%, at $71.31, shortly before the closing bell.  Kite is racing Novartis AG to become the first company … Continue reading Cancer treatment success with genetic modification of T-cells

Pope: Mass extinction happening now

This is the most sensible use of popedom. I thank Pope Francis for the call to action. Life on earth is failing and we must wake up and work together. Earth is entering a mass extinction that threatens humanity’s existence, researchers have declared.  (Link) It’s easy to look around and miss or ignore the signs, but we are smart enough now to know better. Nothing else in human experience will matter if we ignore the environment. We must create and follow a meaningful plan to prevent our own extinction.  From the pope news: Here’s the sobering truth: Around half the … Continue reading Pope: Mass extinction happening now

Google to elevate disagreement. Is your gut reaction valid?

Going with your gut instinct is quick. If your education included logical reasoning (test) and that became part of your natural process of discernment, you will consider facts along with their sources and merits and your choices will most often be correct. If, however, you learned to think in a way that takes any view delivered with a certain emotional slant as true, your gut reaction will often be dangerously wrong.  I have seen emotional decisions that ignore facts destroy lives. Even highly intelligent people make this mistake. I have been deeply saddened by people reaching emotion-based wrong conclusions and … Continue reading Google to elevate disagreement. Is your gut reaction valid?

NASA: Six earth-like planets orbiting one star just 37 ly away

How soon can we land on a newly discovered earth-like planet and populate it? At this time, we don’t have a single unclassified spacecraft that can get humans beyond low earth orbit, much less to Mars. By one estimate, traveling the 4.24 light years between Earth and Proxima Centauri, the closest star, would take over 2,700 human generations or 81,000 years, for an unmanned probe. A trip of 37 light years would take about 700,000 years. As far as moving humans, since there have only been 10,000 generations of our species, which is about 200,000 years old, we would be a … Continue reading NASA: Six earth-like planets orbiting one star just 37 ly away

Hundreds rescued from dramatic San Jose floods

Record flooding continues in California.  Hundreds of homes were evacuated as people were rescued wading in waist-high water and clinging to trees after days of rain caused water levels in Coyote Creek to rise and flood several neighborhoods in San Jose. Two days of rain caused the already overfilled Anderson Dam to start sending water into the creek, which overflowed Tuesday afternoon into low-lying neighborhoods along its 30-miles, causing water to rise faster than officials said people could react to. Tuesday night, mandatory evacuations had been ordered for more than 300 homes with dozens of people taken to shelters for … Continue reading Hundreds rescued from dramatic San Jose floods

Oroville dam spillway may fail, 188,000 told to  evacuate

Update: A mandatory evacuation affecting nearly 200,000 people around Lake Oroville in California was downgraded to an evacuation warning Tuesday — with the caution that the condition of the dam that imperils the area could still change quickly. Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said told the tens of thousands who were forced to leave their homes were free to return, but he urged them “to remain vigilant and prepared as conditions can rapidly change.” An evacuation center at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds will remain open, but all other locations in the county will close, the sheriff’s office said. Link Live … Continue reading Oroville dam spillway may fail, 188,000 told to  evacuate