Saturday, June 24, 2006
SUPER COMPUTERS GET MORE SUPER
8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.
New death in Sarawak HFMD epidemic24 Jun 2006,Desmond Davidson
KUCHING: Another child has died from the hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) in Sarawak. The 16-month-old toddler from Kpg Dagang in Marudi succumbed to the disease at the Miri General Hospital about 11pm yesterday. He was evacuated by helicopter to the better-equipped Miri Hospital at noon on that day when he became critically ill. His death brings the death toll from HFMD in the State to 11. Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri George Chan said yesterday the death had dealt a setback to plans to declare the epidemic over. Just when we are about to declare the epidemic over, we got another death, he lamented when contacted by phone.
The last HFMD death, that of a five-year-old girl from Kapit was on May 7. Dr Chan, who is the state’s disaster and relief management committee chairman, said before the epidemic could be declared over, it had to register an “incident free” two incubation period – about 28 days. The “incident free” refers to daily new cases of under 40 and no deaths. With the latest death, the whole process has to be repeated again.The disease has afflicted 10,861 children in the state with 43 new cases reported as at noon yesterday, according to the daily HFMD press release by Dr Chan. Of the 43 new cases reported yesterday, 11 were admitted into hospitals with the rest given out-patient treatment. Sibu has the highest number of sufferers with 2,604 cases reported, followed by Miri with 2,006 cases, Kuching (1,456), Bintulu (1,333), Sarikei (920) and Mukah (770).The majority of children afflicted with the disease were under the age of four.
7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
Eighth Earthquakes jolt in Chittagong this year Narinjara News, 6/24/2006
A light earthquake hit the port city of Chittagong and its adjourning areas including Cox’sbazar district in Bangladesh yesterday afternoon. It was the eighth earthquake in Chittagong this year, said a report. The epicenter of the tremor was 242 km away from Chittagong. The quake was measured 4.7 in the Richter scale. According to local geo-physical department, the light tremor hit Chittagong Zone at 1.0.49 PM which lasted 26 seconds till 1.01.15 PM. However, there was not information of damages in Cox’sbazar and offshore islands in Chittagong. Chittagong is located in high-risk zone of earthquake but there is not active seismic center to forecast about earthquake, said the report.
11 And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.
WHEN THE RAIN COMES,'La Nina' now household word after northern floods
Unprecedented heavy downpours that triggered mudslides and killed more than 100 people in five lower northern provinces last month have made ''La Nina'' a household word. The Meteorological Department posted a warning about the La Nina weather phenomenon on its website early this year, while climatologists have repeatedly alerted agencies of La Nina-triggered rainfall. But few people took the warning seriously and did not realise how dangerous it was until flash floods struck Uttaradit, Nan, Lampang, Phrae, and Sukhothai on May 23. 'This year's rain came earlier than expected, and more fell than usual. These are signs of the La Nina effect,' said Suparerk Tansriratanawong, the Meteorological Department chief. Thailand's wet season, which usually starts in May, is characterised by a low pressure ridge, the southwestern monsoons, and tropical storms from the South China Sea.
The low pressure ridge, however, moved up earlier than usual this year, causing heavy downpours in the northern provinces. The incident was possibly triggered by La Nina. Scientists are still studying the cause of the weather episode, the opposite of the El Nino phenomenon. La Nina, a Spanish word meaning ''little girl,'' is characterised by a drop in sea temperature in the Pacific Ocean, while El Nino is associated with a rise of sea temperature. La Nina brings humidity from the sea overland, leading to a sharp rise in rainfall, while El Nino causes widespread drought. Climatologists say that when the sea temperature drops, the easterly wind in the eastern Pacific will blow much stronger, increasing the strength of the monsoon and bring more moisture to the Southeast Asia region.
La Nina has occurred nine times over the past 50 years. Its last appearance was in 2001, when precipitation in Thailand was also unusually high. La Nina can last from nine months to two years. Anond Snidvongs, director of Start, a regional research centre on global climate change, urged meteorologists to study the relation between La Nina and seasonal weather events to better understand the impact of La Nina on the country. Meteorological officials relied too much on high-technology weather forecast models, while ignoring conventional methods, such as forecasting the weather from past records. 'These figures could also help us map out flood-prone areas, said Mr Anond. Although the weather phenomenon had brought excessive amounts of water this year, officials should carefully manage the water as the country might be hit by a water shortage in the dry season, or when La Nina ends.
Scientists predict that La Nina will last until the end of the year, but according to the latest inspection, the sea temperature in the eastern Pacific Ocean has returned to near normal, meaning La Nina's impact has faded. Although the amount of La Nina-triggered downpour has decreased, people in the North and Northeast should be on alert for flash floods because the country was still under the influence of low pressure ridges and the southwestern monsoon, said Mr Suparerk. Tropical storms, which usually hit the country a few times during the wet season, were also on their way, he added.
7 The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.
Fire commander reassures residents as wildfire battle continues
Associated Press ,Jun. 23, 2006 06:14 PM
The head of the team fighting a roughly 4,000-acre wildfire on Friday reassured evacuees about the safety of their homes in a scenic northern Arizona canyon but emphasized that the battle isn’t won yet. Firefighters have created a good firebreak using a highway and deliberately set fires to clear away vegetation in part of Oak Creek Canyon, where roughly 430 homes and 30 businesses have been evacuated since Sunday, said incident commander Paul Broyles.We feel good about that, Broyles told about 100 people attending a meeting in Sedona for area residents, including evacuees.
“It’s still not a done deal, he added. “I’m not going to guarantee we’ve completely turned the corner just yet. Broyles said residents may be allowed to return to their homes in two to four days. They’re being kept out partly because embers could still start fires in the canyon.No homes have burned and officials said the fire was 15 percent contained Friday, with full containment predicted by June 28.I feel a lot better now about the safety of our house, said Sarah Peterson, one of the evacuees at the meeting. The firefighters have done an awesome job. We couldn’t be more thankful the house is still there.Firefighters had been concerned Friday that possible storms could bring strong and erratic winds that would whip the fire out of control. But the winds hadn’t materialized by the evening.
I’m greatly encouraged. Three days ago, this looked a lot grimmer. It’s still not caught but it’s a lot safer. We’ve got a good chance of pulling it off, said Larry Sears, a division supervisor with the fire crew.The fire began Sunday as a transient’s campfire and quickly spread to steep, rugged terrain above Oak Creek Canyon, a lush area dotted with homes and resorts.About 660 firefighters assisted by helicopters fought the fire Friday. They burned away vegetation that could fuel the fire in some places and used hand tools to scratch out firebreaks in others. Crews manned fire engines to defend homes if needed.The fire is the second to hit the Sedona area, about 90 miles north of Phoenix, during the past month. An 836-acre wildfire destroyed five buildings near the Village of Oak Creek in early June and forced the evacuation of about 200 people. Subscribe to The Arizona Republic today and receive 20% off the newsstand rate plus a $20 Target ® GiftCard!
4 But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro,(WORLD TRAVEL,IMMIGRATION) and knowledge shall be increased.(SUPER COMPUTER ETC)
Supercomputers are about to get a lot more super
By Robert S. Boyd, Knight Ridder Newspapers
WASHINGTON - The federal government is pushing computer scientists and engineers to greatly step up the speed and capacity of America's supercomputers.Officials say much faster performance is needed to handle a looming tidal wave of scientific, technical and military data.Powerful new telescopes, atom-smashers, climate satellites, gene analyzers and a host of other advanced instruments are churning out enormous volumes of computer bytes that will overwhelm even the swiftest existing machines. In the next five years, the government's goal is a computer system that can process at least a quadrillion (a million times a billion) arithmetic operations per second. The best current machines operate in the trillions (a thousand times a billion) of calculations per second. Within the next five to 10 years, computers 1,000 times faster than today's computers will become available. These advances herald a new era in scientific computing," according to Raymond Orbach, undersecretary for science at the Department of Energy.
A quadrillion-rated computer, known technically as a ``petascale’’ system, will be at least four times faster than today’s top supercomputer - IBM’s BlueGene/L - which holds the world’s record at 280 trillion operations per second. ``Peta’’ is the prefix for a quadrillion in the metric system. ``Tera’’ stands for a trillion, so BlueGene is a terascale system. On a more familiar level, a petascale computer will be at least 75 times faster than the most powerful game machine, such as IBM’S XBox-360, and 100 times faster than a top-of-the-line desktop personal computer, such as the Apple Power Mac. On Tuesday, RIKEN, a Japanese research agency, announced that it had built a computer system that theoretically can perform 1 quadrillion operations per second. If so, this would be the world’s first true petascale computer. Henry Tufo, a computer scientist at the University of Colorado, Boulder, who operates a BlueGene/L system, said it would take petascale computer power to solve problems that stump present-day systems.
One of the most compelling and challenging intellectual frontiers facing humankind is the comprehensive and predictive understanding of Earth and its biological components, Tufo said in an e-mail message. Petascale systems will open up new vistas (for) scientists. To meet this goal, the National Science Foundation asked researchers on June 6 to submit proposals to develop the infrastructure for a petascale computing system to be ready by 2010. As examples of difficult questions that only a petascale system could handle, the NSF listed:
- The three-dimensional structure of the trillions of proteins that make up a living organism. Proteins are the basic building blocks of all living things.
- The ever-changing interactions among the land, ocean and atmosphere that control the Earth's maddeningly complex weather and climate systems.
- The formation and evolution of stars, galaxies and the universe itself. The Department of Energy also is offering $70 million in grants for teams of computer scientists and engineers to develop petascale software and data-management tools.
The scientific problems are there to be solved, and petascale computers are on the horizon, said Walter Polansky, senior technical adviser in the DOE'S Office of Advanced Scientific Computing. For example, the Energy Department wants ultra-fast computers in order to determine the 3-D structure of molecules that let drugs pass through cell walls, knowledge that can be vital against cancer. This is completely new, Orbach wrote in the current issue of Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing, a DOE publication. No one has ever probed that region of science before. The Energy Department also needs petascale computing to help solve problems that are blocking the development of nuclear fusion, an unlimited, nonpolluting energy source that's baffled designers for decades. The DOE and NASA, the space agency, are collaborating in an effort to determine the nature of the dark energy and dark matter that are thought to make up 95 percent of the universe. Petascale computer power will be needed here, too.
For more information online, go to: The National Science Foundation program, at www.nsf.gov/pubs/2005/nsf05625/nsf05625.htm The Department of Energy program, at http://www.scidac.org/
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