Copter pilot: ‘The fire spread so rapidly …’

first_imgSo as their ground-based partners battled up the rugged hills, Shakstad and two fellow pilots kept working. With a helicopter commander directing the action from a Bell 406 and a pair of Bell 412 Hueys dropping water, they switched on their Nightsun searchlights and continued their attack as the sun slipped below the horizon. The Los Angeles Fire Department’s Air Operations Section sent two Sikorsky S-70 Firehawks and a Huey to battle the blaze from above. Aided by night-vision goggles, county pilots flew in closer to the hills and ducked around power lines. “It’s inherently dangerous during the daytime; then at night it’s even worse,” said Capt. Erich Goetz. “Smoke, electrical wires, towers and tall buildings, things poking up from the hillside – it’s hard to see them. Night vision gives them some help, but it’s not the same as daylight.” Again and again, the choppers dropped their payloads of foam and water on the chaos below, flying sorties past 1 a.m. Wednesday. Then the pilots flew back to base, grabbed a few hours of shut-eye until the sun came up and did it again. The county Fire Department began using the night-vision system six years ago, allowing pilots some measure of comfort as they swoop through the smoke-clogged skies. As long as they agree with the incident commander that it’s safe to approach, they can keep fighting flames long beyond sundown. The city’s Fire Department uses night-vision equipment as well, but only on night rescues and medevacs. Shakstad said once city crews get the proper training for fire use, they’ll adopt the system for firefighting and follow their county counterparts closer to the blaze. In the meantime, they fly by the light generated by the flames and leave the close-in work to their goggle-aided colleagues. “It’s definitely a challenge,” Goetz said. “I think they’d prefer not to fly at night, but it’s a risk they’re willing to take.” By Wednesday afternoon, crews had the blaze sufficiently under control so the air units could begin scaling back. Shakstad, who’d been on duty since 7 a.m. Tuesday, was winding down. In the thick of things, he’d attacked the fire as a purely tactical problem, something to be confronted and eradicated as quickly and efficiently as possible. Now, he had time to consider the terrain he’d just flown over. “I was born and raised in L.A.,” he said. “It’s tragic that we’re losing that beautiful part of the park. It’ll take quite a while for all that to grow back.” [email protected] (818) 713-3738160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Chief Pilot Paul Shakstad hovered above Griffith Park, sadly looking on as the hills of his youth raged with fire. The Tuesday evening sun was dropping and the winds had picked up. Hot spots broke out – one, two, three, four, five fires all spread out across the hillside. The dry brush erupted like fireworks. Shakstad, who’s fought fire from the air for 28 years, nudged the control stick of the Los Angeles County Fire Department Bell helicopter and headed in. “The fire spread so rapidly and was so intense, we were just holding our own,” he recalled Wednesday from the Van Nuys Airport. “We’re up there, working, working, working, working – working our tails off and not getting ahead.” last_img read more

Fulham ‘to beat Newcastle and Everton to signing of duo’

first_imgFulham are poised to beat Newcastle and Everton to the signings of two highly-rated wingers from Dutch side Heerenveen, The Sun report.Luciano Narsingh, 21, is tipped to be included in Holland’s Euro 2012 squad, while Moroccan international Oussama Assaidi, 23, is also regarded as a top prospect.As well as Everton and Newcastle, PSV Eindhoven, Ajax and mega-rich Russian outfit Anzhi Makhachkala are said to have been interested in them.But they are believed to be on their way to Craven Cottage in a deal worth £10m after Heerenveen accepted an offer.The Sun also say Chelsea are set to make Didier Drogba a final offer to stay at Stamford Bridge.Drogba’s future is in doubt.The 34-year-old striker’s contract is up at the end of the season and he has been tipped to move to China after rejecting a one-year deal.But Chelsea are said to be planning to offer him the option of a further 12 months if he delivers next season.A club source is quoted as saying: “Everyone is keen to keep Didier but the owner won’t be held to ransom.“He has to be realistic with his demands if he wants to continue playing at the highest level.”It is claimed that even if Drogba agrees to stay Chelsea will try to sign Napoli striker Edinson Cavani or Real Madrid’s Gonzalo Higuain.The Daily Mirror and Daily Express both suggest that Pep Guardiola has rejected a fresh approach from Chelsea.Guardiola, who is leaving Barcelona, is said to have been offered £12m-a-year to take over.It’s believed the Spaniard’s snub could open the door for Roberto Di Matteo to be given the job at the end of the season, while Germany boss Joachim Loew has also been touted as a contender.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Karanka unsure about Tomlin’s long-term future

first_imgEmbed from Getty ImagesNottingham Forest manager Aitor Karanka said he was unsure about Lee Tomlin’s future after the playmaker scored twice in a 5-2 win at QPR.Tomlin, who previously played under Karanka at Middlesbrough, has now scored three times since arriving on loan from Cardiff last month.Asked if there was any prospect of a permanent move this summer, Karanka said: “I don’t know yet. It’s a player I like but we just need to keep going, keep thinking about our task. He is a Cardiff player and we will see.”The Spaniard added: “When you know the manager and you know the style everything is easier.“I’m really pleased because he’s a player who sometimes creates doubts about him but with me he’s playing really well. We need to give him time, but I know him.”Embed from Getty ImagesAfter Tomlin’s brace, Joe Lolley made it 3-0 before Massimo Luongo pulled a goal back and Matty Cash restored Forest’s two-goal advantage.Matt Smith reduced the deficit before Ben Brereton scored an injury-time fifth for Karanka’s side.The clinical display emphatically ended Forest’s goal drought – they had failed to score in eight of their previous 10 league matches.Karanka insisted: “I wasn’t concerned. One day it will arrive – and today has been the best example.“The team has been aggressive on the pitch and, when we have chances, some days we will miss but some days we will score.“I told the players before the game that today should be a reflection of the improvement of the team.“There has been an improvement and today there was the perfect mixture; we were organised on the pitch, aggressive and confident. It’s the way that we have to keep playing.” Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebookby Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksRecommended for youAspireAbove.comRemember Pauley Perrette? Try Not To Smile When You See Her NowAspireAbove.comUndoLifestly.com25 Celebs You Didn’t Realize Are Gay – No. 8 Will Surprise WomenLifestly.comUndoUsed Cars | Search AdsUsed Cars in Tuen Mun Might Be Cheaper Than You ThinkUsed Cars | Search AdsUndoTopCars15 Ugliest Cars Ever MadeTopCarsUndoezzin.com20 Breathtaking Places to See Before You Dieezzin.comUndoFood World Magazine15 Fruits that Burn Fat Like CrazyFood World MagazineUndoDrhealth35 Foods That Should Never Be Placed in the RefrigeratorDrhealthUndoHappyTricks.comHer House Always Smells Amazing – Try her Unique Trick!HappyTricks.comUndolast_img read more

Takeaways: DeBoer’s bold decision is paying off for Sharks

first_img(CLICK HERE, if you are unable to view this photo gallery on your mobile device.)EDMONTON, Alberta — The last time the Sharks squared off against the Edmonton Oilers they lost to a team that received an emotional boost with Ken Hitchcock making his debut behind the bench.On Saturday, they took advantage of a squad that’s on the backslide, losing five straight after producing a 9-2-2 record in Hitchcock’s first three weeks as head coach. With the win, the Sharks (21-12-7) kicked the Oilers …last_img

Ron Fairly, affable former Giants broadcaster, dies at 81

first_imgRon Fairly, a San Francisco Giants broadcaster for six years, has died, the Seattle Mariners announced Wednesday. He was 81.The Mariners organization has lost one of its most beloved voices. We send our thoughts and condolences to the family and loved ones of broadcaster and baseball lifer Ron Fairly. May he Rest In Peace.— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) October 30, 2019 The moon-faced Fairly, a baseball star at USC, enjoyed a 21-year playing career in …last_img

Saddle Up Your Algae: Scientists Harness Flagellar Motors

first_img1805: Beast of burden of choice: oxen.2005: Beast of burden of choice: algae.Science Now reported an unusual item: scientists have learned how to hitch their loads to a single-celled green alga named Chlamydomonas reinhardtii (see Yale description).  Researchers are actually calling their little teams “micro-oxen.”Scientists are increasingly interested in harnessing biological motors for use in micro- and nanotechnology, but recent research has mainly involved taking moving parts out of cells and adapting them for use elsewhere.  It’s a complicated process that can require protein engineering.  So, chemist Doug Weibel of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and colleagues wondered if they could simply use an intact organism as a beast of burden instead.   (Emphasis added in all quotes.)This alga contains whiplike flagella that propel them through liquid like motorized paddleboats (see U of Wisconsin description).  “These algae are very reliable,” Weibel said.  See also the BBC News report.    In other flagellum news, Howard Berg of Harvard, writing in Current Biology,1 described how bacterial flagella (the rotary kind) receive feedback from the environment: “the flagellum senses wetness,” he reported.  The wetness of the environment affects antagonistic regulatory proteins that control flagellum production.  Research by Q. Wang et al. found that a suppressor is “pumped out of the cell by the flagellar transport apparatus once assembly of the basal part of the flagellum is complete,” Berg said.  What for?  “This prevents the cell from wasting energy on flagellin synthesis when this protein cannot be put to use.”  The scientists sprinkled a little water on dry colonies for 90 seconds and, sure enough, got them to produce more and longer flagella that exhibited normal swarming behavior.  Berg describes it: “Swarming is a specialized form of bacterial motility that develops when cells that swim in broth are grown in a rich medium on the surface of moist agar.  The cells become multinucleate, elongate, synthesize large numbers of flagella, secrete surfactants and advance across the surface in coordinated packs.” 1Berg, Howard, “Swarming Motility: It Better Be Wet,” Current Biology, Volume 15, Issue 15, 9 August 2005, Pages R599-R600.The intelligent design movement could get a load of this.  It was amazing enough that some flagella are built like high-tech rotary motors.  For humans to harness that power and use it underscores the claim that these really are molecular machines.  It’s there; it works; why reinvent the wheel?(Visited 7 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Darwin’s Land of Make-Believe

first_imgDarwin supporters use cartoons and rap music to push their message to humans—and aliens.Without choking or spitting, Jon Cohen reports for Science Magazine, “Here’s what happens when you combine science with hip hop, comic books, and zombies.” His smile seems to suggest that he thinks this is a great idea.  Whatever gets the YouTube culture to accept evolution can’t be all bad:Remember when the first life was cells in soup? Now they’re everywhere from my brain to the chicken coop. Those were lyrics a middle school science teacher threw down at “Comics, Zombies, and Hip-Hop”, a session today at the annual meeting of AAAS (which publishes Science).The teacher, Tom McFadden of the Nueva School in Hillsborough, California, explained how he builds enthusiasm for science by having his students write hip hop lyrics and then make videos. In a packed room at the meeting, he danced through an evolution song his students wrote, “This is How Life Builds from 3.5 ’Til,” – a send up of hip-hop act Souls of Mischief’s “’93 ’Til Infinity”. McFadden chanted:So there’s this is [sic] little theory, some people fear it,But if you want to know the history of life, you gotta hear itOver at NASA-funded Astrobiology Magazine, the cartoon series “The Abominable Snow Aliens of Europa” is up to episode 19.  The NASA astrobiologists are very excited to be spending taxpayer dollars this way:Astrobiology Magazine is proud to launch a new comic strip, “The Abominable Snow Aliens of Europa.” This fictional series is inspired by the classic alien invasion tales of the early 20th century, and will visit science topics like terraforming, climate change, icy moons, alien communication, and “life as we know it.”In episode 19, the evil U.S. military brass are about to launch an invasion against the Europa snowmen who are just trying to help earthlings fight global warming.National Geographic elaborated on the theme, “We are stardust,” with a hat tip to Joni Mitchell at Woodstock.  Reporter Simon Worrall gives Karel and Iris Schrijver an open mike in which to speculate on all the ways stardust effects our lives (after it formed us in the first place), based on their new book, Living With the Stars: How the Human Body Is Connected to the Life Cycles of the Earth, the Planets, and the Stars. Joni Mitchell was right, Worrall says; “Was she ever!” is their reply, as they trace the human body back to primordial hydrogen and helium.ABC News is worried about sending messages to the aliens. “Should We Call the Cosmos Seeking ET?” AP science writer Seth Borenstein asks. “Or Is That Risky?” Not to worry; the SETI researcher gang (Seth Shostak, Doug Vakoch, Frank Drake etc.) explain that by the time aliens pick up our signals, we’ll be long gone, goner than the Romans are to us.Eric Hand covered a SETI gathering for Science Magazine. The leading lights of SETI held a mini-debate at a meeting of the AAAS. Hand gives a fist bump to astrophysicist David Brin who thinks we should keep quiet, not assuming the benevolence of the aliens. As for the debate about broadcasting to them, “It’s an area where opinion rules, and everyone has a fierce opinion.” Brin was not amused by a stunt in 2008 when “the tortilla chip company Doritos sent an advertisement from a radar station in Norway to a potentially habitable star system 42 light-years away.”But Pallab Ghosh on the BBC News thinks we should let it all hang out. In his piece, “Scientists in US are urged to seek contact with aliens,” he covers scientists at the AAAS meeting who think “it is time to try actively to contact intelligent life on other worlds.” (This is known as “active SETI” or “METI”—Messaging to Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence.) Two video clips in the article give voice to the SETI enthusiasts who are thinking about what message we should send. The first clip shows Tweets various earthlings thought up, like “Avoid Washington DC—no intelligent life there” and “Keep back. We’re really just monkeys that use fire. Make sure we don’t get loose in the universe!” Another is short and to the point: “Help!”Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer (and former director) of the SETI Institute, is not worried about how to act for the aliens. He thinks we should just be ourselves. Maybe, for good measure, just send the whole internet so the aliens can figure us out.“Everything says evolution is a fact,” conservative commentator George Will said Feb. 12th on Fox News, in response to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s wavering response to a UK reporter about evolution. “Get over it.” Others on the panel were more open to the Republican governor’s right to question Darwin’s theory. Charles Krauthammer offered the popular compromise position that one can believe in God and evolution.Unyielding insistence that people must believe Darwinian evolution, though, with or without accurate storytelling, won Neil de Grasse Tyson the Discovery Institute’s annual award, Censor of the Year.“Make believe” has two meanings that both fit Darwinists perfectly. The first is their fantasyland so well illustrated in the stories above, culminating in Tyson’s “Spaceship of the Imagination” he flew in Cosmos 2.0 (at least on some animator’s storyboard). The second is Darwinists’ drive to make everyone believe evolution. They want to make people believe in their make-believe universe. So get over it, get with it, and hip hop your tweet to the aliens: “if you want to know the history of life, you gotta hear it.”We live in strange times. The nuts are running the science lab, and calling us nuts if we laugh at their clown hats.Exercise: Join the fantasy! Sing rap or hip-hop versions of our Evolution Songs. (Visited 123 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Scientists Going Nuts Over Aliens

first_img(Visited 45 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Baseless speculations are considered perfectly sane as long as you are a secular materialist.Recent headlines show scientists taking space aliens very seriously. But could anyone else get away with this kind of fact-free imagining?SETIET search: Look for the aliens looking for Earth (Nature). Rene Heller channels aliens in his new idea about how to hunt for aliens. “They have a higher motivation to contact us, because they have a better means to identify us as an inhabited planet,” he speculates.What if extraterrestrial observers called, but nobody heard? Researchers suggest a way of searching for weak signals from beyond Earth (Science Daily, Astrobiology Magazine). “It’s impossible to predict whether extraterrestrials use the same observational techniques as we do,” says Heller, but predict he does anyway.Hunt for Intelligent Aliens Should Focus on ‘Transit Zone’ (Live Science). This article gives good press to another of Heller’s speculations: “If any of these planets host intelligent observers, they could have identified Earth as a habitable, even as a living world long ago, and we could be receiving their broadcasts today.”AstrobiologyIf we lower the search space to just any life, not intelligent life, the speculation level increases:Life or illusion? Avoiding ‘false positives’ in the search for living worlds (Science Daily). Recognizing and avoiding false positives is good in any search, but that doesn’t mean any true positives will ever be found.Follow the Salt: Search for Mars Life May Focus on Driest Regions (, New Scientist). This work was carried out by the SETI Institute. “Most of my fellow scientists feel confident that there’s a very high chance that life existed at some point on Mars,” says Dirk Schulze-Makuch of Washington State University. “So the question is only, with conditions worsening to colder and drier, whether life could have hung in.” Or maybe Martians enjoy Doritos.First life may have been forged in icy seas on a freezing Earth (New Scientist). According to this article, “some research suggests life might actually have emerged in frozen water.” (Inspect your freezer.) No less than Jeffrey Bada accepts this idea. “Alternatively, life could have still formed in hot conditions, around hydrothermal vents within those cold waters,” the article admits. “There’s no obvious way to work out which of the competing ideas is correct.” There’s always a third alternative; both theories are wrong. The null hypothesis should be the default in real science.Science begins with observation. To date, there are no observations at all of life on other worlds, least of all intelligent life. That last article ends with this gem: “But the new research does, at least, suggest that some of the world’s most ancient rocks still have secrets to reveal.”Secrets to reveal? Bring out the wizards with their divination tools! Their crafty rhetoric, high on the perhapsimaybecouldness index, allows for any and all ideas, even contradictory ones. Life began in ice! No, it began at hot hydrothermal vents! “There’s no obvious way to work out which of the competing ideas is correct,” but this is science!SETI still doesn’t get it. Their search is a form of intelligent design inference. It relies on a substantial difference between intelligent causes and natural causes that can be differentiated. Yet they generally despise intelligent design.last_img read more

South African wine wins Fairtrade award

first_img19 September 2012South African winemaker Bosman Family Vineyards established itself as one of the world’s leading ethical wine producers by winning the Fairtrade Award at the 2012 International Wine Challenge (IWC) in the United Kingdom last week.The Fairtrade Award is for wine-producing regions which are officially recognised as being part of the Fairtrade Association.Wines are judged on their individual merits and the award is presented to the highest quality wine at the IWC with Fairtrade certification.Bosman Family Vineyards was also the only South African winery to win one of the trophies at this year’s show.The winning wine was the 2011 Wild Valley Chenin Blanc from the premium Fairtrade range of Sainsbury’s, Taste The Difference, and is made from the Bosman Fairtrade Chenin Blanc vineyards from the Wellington Wine region.The judges described the wine as “floral with white fruit aromas, fresh acidity, appealing grapefruit honey flowers and a rich creamy, bready texture”.The wine is available from Sainsbury’s in the United Kingdom at £7.99 (about R107).“South Africa is the leader in sustainable and ethical wine production in the world and we are excited that a South African wine is recognised in this way and that such outstanding quality can actually be produced in an ethical and environmentally responsible way,” chief executive officer of Wines of South Africa, Su Birch, said in a statement.Bosman Family Vineyards managing director Petrus Bosman said: “Our story at Bosman Family Vineyards is still being written and as a young team, we are very aware that the pages we are on today is the result of the hard work and dedication of those that have written our story before us.“Farming with sustainable principles is something that has been carried over from one generation to the next in our family and our experience has been that the quality of your product increases over time when you consistently invest in people and nature.”Three hundred and thirty-eight judges from 25 countries tasted 21 609 different wines from over 50 countries.The International Wine Challenge is one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive blind wine-tasting competitions, and the organisation was founded in 1983.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

Andy Birkett gets his green number, at 23

first_imgSbonelo Zondi and Andy Birkett receive their gold medals from the MEC for art, culture, sport and recreation, Ntombikayise Sibhidla-Saphetha, at the finish of the 2014 Dusi Canoe Marathon at Blue Lagoon in Durban. (Image: Lucille Davie) 19 February 2014It was another wild ride down The Dusi this year, with Andy Birkett and Sbonelo Zondi winning the race. It was Birkett’s 10th marathon, earning him his green number. The rapids, the heat, the portages and the variable water levels combine to make the Dusi Canoe Marathon one of the toughest endurance races in the country.Read more on Media Club South Africa: Andy Birkett gets his green number, at 23last_img