Thursday, March 18, 2010

Many men go fishing all of their lives
without knowing that it is not fish they are after.
Henry David Thoreau

This morning -

Yesterday -
3/17/10 -

Cyclone TOMAS was 803 nmi NE of Auckland, New Zealand.
Cyclone ULUI was 688 nmi ENE of Townsville, Australia.

A damage assessment after cyclone Tomas hit Wallis and Futuna shows that 80 percent of the crops on Futuna have been destroyed. On Wallis half the crops were destroyed when weekend winds of 200 kilometres an hour swept across the territory. Many homes have been damaged or flooded and half the schools have been damaged. The road on the northern side of Futuna has been washed away.

AUSTRALIAN authorities are evacuating two islands (Heron Island and Lady Elliott Island) off the central Queensland coast as a category four cyclone approaches the region. Tropical Cyclone Ului is expected to make landfall this weekend between Bowen and Gladstone. The cyclone is about 1,200 kilometres north-east of Mackay in north Queensland and 1,400 kilometres east of Cooktown in the state's far north. "With the islands, you need to do it early rather than later, because the seas get so rough quite quickly. It's better to do it early just in case, then they're not left there if the seas get too rough." Modelling is showing Ului will make landfall in central Queensland, possibly as a category three or four system. "It will be accompanied by extreme sort of winds and rainfall." There is a chance the cyclone could reintensify into a category five over the next day or so. "It's likely to be more like a category three, but I think be prepared for a severe tropical cyclone at this stage." It is difficult to know what the system will do and when it will cross the coast. "It could be as early as late Saturday night - that's the earliest model. The latest model is somewhere around Tuesday, so basically that's the spread in time. As far as what section of the coast, there's still a spread anywhere from the north tropical coast to no further south than the St Lawrence area."


BRITAIN - It is more like January than March. The trees are bare, and there are precious few signs of spring flowers. Woodland Trust researchers have uncovered "striking evidence" that common spring flowering plants are coming into bloom much later than would be expected. They have had weeks of hard, white frosts and, despite the warmer weather, the soil in many parts of the country is still rock solid. The average UK flowering date of blackthorn is mid-March, and they would have expected around 1,000 sightings by now from their volunteers. So far, they have only received a handful of reports. "At this time of year, woodlands like this should be full of the signs of Spring". "The trees will just bide their time until the soil warms up...But it could have an effect on the insects that live on the flowers, and the birds that feed on those insects." Experts say it is too early to tell what the effect this late spring will have on the natural world.


Cold US winter offset by above-normal global temps - The 2009-10 winter (December through February) was colder than average across the U.S., but global temperatures were warmer than average during the winter. What that may - or may not - mean about global warming is a matter of opinion.
In February, across the U.S. and parts of Europe (especially Eastern Europe), temepratures were more than 4 degrees Celsius (more than 7 degrees Fahrenheit) colder than average. On the other hand, temperatures across much of Canada and the Arctic region were more than 4 degrees Celsius warmer than average. In addition, much of the Southern Hemisphere, during its summer, was warmer than average. Overall, it was warmer than the long-term average across the globe. Although the details were different, it was the same story during December and January. (temperature map)


A review of 11 studies on the effectiveness of nonpharmaceutical interventions in containing flu found that "the data provide some evidence that face masks, hand hygiene, cough etiquette, reduced crowding, and school closures are effective in reducing the spread of influenza." The studies, however, had several limitations, including insufficient statistical power due to small sample size. The authors call for rigorous laboratory- and community-based studies to improve data collection.

A pile of recalls due to the salmonella possibility in the vegetable protein additive and in some spices:
-Spice Barn is recalling two lots of Black Pepper
-H. Guenther & Son, Inc. recall of products (Sunbird Seasonings, Williams Wings Seasonings and Williams Gumbo Soup lines) containing a pepper ingredient
-Mincing Overseas Spice Company, Dayton, New Jersey, Frontier Natural Products Co-op, is recalling several of its products manufactured with non-organic black pepper that were sold under the Frontier brand and under the Whole Foods Market brands
-Spice Industrial Group INC., of City of Industry, Ca is recalling Lian How White Sesame Seeds
-Julia's Spices, of City of Industry, Ca is recalling Hulled Sesame Seeds
-Olde Westport Spice is recalling Garden Harvest Special Blend Seasoning
-McCormick & Company, Incorporated is expanding a March 5, 2010 recall to include additional "Best By" dates of products manufactured with HVP (hydrolyzed vegetable protein) supplied by Basic Food Flavors
-GFN Foods, LLC of Cranford, NJ is recalling: Gluten-Free Naturals Pancake Mix , Gluten-Free Naturals Light & Moist Yellow Cake Mix, Gluten-Free Naturals Cookie Blend Flour
-Emmi - Roth Kaese USA is recalling Spreadables brand Crab Creole and Shrimp Scampi cheese spreads
-Tastefully Simple is recalling Toasted Garlic & Parmesan Cheese Ball Mix
-Austinuts of Dallas, Inc. has issued a voluntary recall for Honey Mustard Pretzels
-Orval Kent is recalling multiple dips
-Mrs. Gerry's Kitchen, Inc. of Albert Lea, MN has been notified by a supplier that a certain seasoning ingredient contains hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP) that may be contaminated
-Ventura Foods, LLC is recalling seven of its Dean's(R) Dip products
-Kroger Co. is recalling Kroger Onion Soup & Dip Mix and Kroger Beefy Onion Soup & Dip Mix
-Quaker Snack Mix Baked Cheddar is being recalled
-Publix Super Markets is issuing a voluntary recall for four varieties of seasoning mixes.