Monday, September 6, 2010

**It is better to sleep on things beforehand than lie awake about them afterwards.**
Baltasar Gracian

This morning -

Yesterday -
9/5/10 -

Quake rips new fault line - The powerful earthquake that smashed buildings, cracked roads and twisted rail lines around the New Zealand city of Christchurch also ripped a new 11-foot wide fault line in the earth's surface. At least 500 buildings, including 90 downtown properties, have been designated as destroyed in the 7.1-magnitude quake that struck at 4:35 a.m. Saturday near the South Island city of 400,000 people. Most other buildings sustained only minor damage. The quake was caused by the ongoing collision between the Pacific and Australian tectonic plates. "One side of the earth has lurched to the right ... up to 11 feet and in some places been thrust up. The long linear fracture on the earth's surface does things like break apart houses, break apart roads. We went and saw two houses that were completely snapped in half by the earthquake."

Tropical depression 10 was 159 nmi NNW of Coatzacoalcos, Mexico.
Tropical storm MALOU was 227 nmi WNW of Kagoshima, Japan.

In wake of Earl, U.S. eyes other potential storms - The remnants of Tropical Storm Gaston look very likely to strengthen again as a tropical cyclone in the Atlantic and could threaten the Caribbean's Leeward Islands in coming days on a westward track. The National Hurricane Center gave Gaston, which weakened to a remnant low-pressure area on Thursday soon after becoming a tropical cyclone, an 80 percent chance of redeveloping over the next 48 hours. The remnant low of Gaston was located about 700 miles east of the Leeward Islands, battered by Earl last week. "The low could redevelop into a tropical depression at any time today or tonight." It warned authorities in the Leeward Islands to monitor the system, but it was still too early to tell whether the Gaston remnant could eventually threaten the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. "Gaston may threaten Puerto Rico on Wednesday, the Dominican Republic on Thursday, and Haiti, Jamaica and/or the Turks and Caicos Islands by Friday, depending upon the storm's interaction with a trough of low pressure expected to move off the U.S. East Coast later this week."
An area of low pressure over the extreme southwestern Gulf of Mexico became a tropical depression on Sunday night with top sustained winds of 30 miles per hour. The depression could strengthen to a tropical storm on Monday as it moves northwestward inland. The Mexican government issued a tropical storm warning for the Gulf coast from Tampico to the border with Texas. [ Tropical depression AL10 is forecast to strike Mexico as a tropical storm at about 00:00 GMT on Tuesday, September 7.]
If they become tropical storms, these systems could be the new focus of weather concern in a recent flurry of 2010 Atlantic hurricane season activity, which saw Hurricane Earl brush the U.S. East Coast last week before coming ashore in Canada on Saturday and fizzling out. Energy traders keep a close eye on potentially violent storms approaching the Gulf because it is home to about 30 percent of U.S. oil production, 11 percent of natural gas production and more than 43 percent of U.S. refinery capacity. The hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30 and is currently in its peak period.

Tropical Storm Malou headed toward South Korea. Malou was 122 kilometers (76 miles) south of Jeju at 9 a.m. Seoul time. The storm is forecast to hit the island before crossing southern regions of the country today. The storm had sustained winds of 74 kilometers per hour and Malou is expected to maintain strength. The Korea Meteorological Administration issued a typhoon warning for Jeju and surrounding seas, and a heavy rain watch for Ulsan in the southeast of the country. Last week, Tropical Storm Kompasu killed five people, damaged power networks in Seoul and surrounding provinces and forced the cancellation of flights as it crossed the Korean peninsula on Sept. 2. Malou is the 10th storm of the northwest Pacific season.


MEXICO on alert. - Heavy rains from a tropical depression have flooded large areas in southern Mexico prompting authorities to declare an orange alert. Thousands of families have been evacuated in the states of Chiapas, Tabasco and Oaxaca. Mexican authorities are evacuating over 5000 residents in the southern state of Tabasco, where days of rain have led to the overflowing of major rivers in the region. (video)


Brain "rust" - Australian scientists have made a significant advance in the understanding of Alzheimer's disease. An imbalance in the metals needed for healthy brain function has been found at the root of the degenerative disease which afflicts 10 per cent of people aged over 60.They have traced the imbalance to the brain's improper and related processing of zinc and iron.
"The brain in Alzheimer's disease is a catastrophe, and it is very hard to pinpoint what went wrong first. This (research) really unravels quite a big series of knots and highlights a particular sequence involving these two metals. The research focused on the complex relationship between amyloid precursor protein (APP) and its breakdown product amyloid, along with the zinc and iron. As zinc accumulates in amyloid it blocked the APP from performing its critical, and previously unknown, job of exporting iron out of the brain's neurons. This led to a build-up of iron "in the grey matter", resulting in oxidative stresses that could kill off neurons.
So "in a chemical sense, you can" say the loss of mental function in an Alzheimer's patient is caused by rust in their brain. "That's the kind of chemistry that is going on in the brain and, similar to actual rust, it involves an abnormal combustion of oxygen with iron. The brain is an unusual organ in that it has very high concentrations of metals which it uses for its electrical chemistry." While the research does not reveal the complete picture of the cause of Alzheimer's disease, it uncovered a vital "corner piece of the jigsaw puzzle". The research strengthens expectations that the drug PBT2, now in clinical trials, would one day be able to reverse brain damage in Alzheimer's patients. Research and development will take at least another three years.