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April 26, 2009

Swine Flu Cases Plotted on Google Maps

 
Swine Flu Cases Mapped



View H1N1 Swine Flu in a larger map
(grab map with your mouse to move map around)

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Swine Flu Twitterers Of Note

 
Bird Flu Gov One-stop access to U.S. Government bird and pandemic flu information.

CDC Emergency CDC Emergency Preparedness and Response: increasing the nation's ability to prepare for and respond to public health emergencies.

CDC Flu Get notified whenever any new or updated documents are posted anywhere on the CDC Flu Website. www.cdc.gov/flu

CDC eHealth CDC eHealth Marketing: CDC.gov and interactive media projects. Delivering science-based health & safety info when where and how you need it.

Standing Firm CM Catherine Mitchell

WHO News World Health Organization - the directing and coordinating authority within the UN system for public health

Flu Trackers A nonprofit that is composed of a diverse group of citizens from many countries who follow and document emerging and re-emerging disease.

Health Map Public website bringing together disparate data sources to achieve a unified view of the current global state of infectious diseases

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April 25, 2009

Stocking Up On Goods: Just In Case

 
Update 4/30: Australians in Queensland advised to stockpile food in case of Swine Flu, read here.

Mexico City has been shut down. Mexico has mandated quarantine to some extent across the country. Schools are closing and public events are cancelled.

This is not a drill. The Mexican Swine Flu, a combination "avian flu, human flu Type A, human flu Type B, Asian swine flu, and European swine flu" according to the CDC and mentioned in this editorial.

I read that a guy in Mexico City was arrested for trying to sell paper facemasks for 25 times the face value.

Tonight my wife and I stopped at Walgreen's and bought two boxes of face masks. The product is from Medline.com and we paid $7.50 for 10 masks. Two boxes set us back $15 + the 10% California sales tax.
My wife is certain the same product can be bought for $3.50 to $4.00 per box at WalMart.
No matter, we paid the premium. If extended family or neighbors need a mask we will share. If things go bad these masks will become scarce.

Next stop a big box grocer, not Costco, I didn't want to face the lines.

We stocked up on canned goods, pasta, pasta sauce, juices, frozen vegetables, salsa, bread for freezing, canned beans, rice and other frozen foods.

What good will all this do? Maybe nothing but as I said above, just in case. It's not that I believe there will be shortages, it's just that I want to be able to stay clear of the stores if this gets crazy.

I can say without a doubt there is no hoarding or any panic whatsoever in my community in Central California.

If it does get crazy it appears those that have flu shots, generally the young and old, may have some built in immunity or at least enough to blunt a fatal blow according to the CDC.

At least two anti-virals including Tamiflu are effective against this concoction but in the case of a widespread outbreak the stores of Tamiflu could be depleted.

Here is another worthwhile article written by an epidemiologist.

HHS recommends food storage, generally.

Update: Americans encouraged to wear masks if worried.

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April 24, 2009

Swine Flu, Wake Up Call

 
Links

Center For Disease Control and Prevention
Human Swine Influenza Investigation page.

California Governor Schwarzenegger weighs in.

Search Twitter
Read Drudge
Search Google
Search Blogs
Info CDC
Read Breitbart

Put Your Hands Together. Flash Player 9 is required.

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April 23, 2009

Wildfire Near Myrtle Beach, SC Burns Dozens Of Homes

 

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April 19, 2009

Busy With Family Related Travel, Business & Life

 
Fire season approaches. Spring winds have howled, more than usual here in Central California, and the grass is browning. There is late snow in the Sierras which assures the high country will be green well into late Summer. Nature is setting the stage now but fate directs the stories to be told.

This season I plan to cover the major fires from this blog and Twitter. Fire activity could start any day.

In the meantime action on the family front is heating up. My oldest has decided to attend UC Merced this Fall. His original desire was to attend a private school in Arizona where his girlfriend is enrolled.

I'm proud of his decision. UC Merced is the newest school in the UC system but is already making a mark in the sciences. Enrollment is under 4,000 currently which gives the school the feel of an exclusive private college. He'll study computer engineering.

Son #2, our sophomore is on an academic mission. He wants to be a valedictorian and earn an academic scholarship to a top school. As such he is spread out between Science Fair, Academic Decathlon and Science Olympiad. This summer he will attend a three week program at Stanford University. He is signed up for four AP classes next school year.

During Easter vacation we traveled to Arizona. We visited friends and family in Tucson and Phoenix. In Tucson we stayed in a condo in the Starr Pass resort development. The desert setting did not disappoint. There is nothing like a desert morning. Our first morning the animals and birds of the Sonoran Desert made an appearance near our patio including white-tail rabbits, cardinals, cactus wren, curved-bill thrashers a road runner and in the distance a coyote.

My wife was taking out trash on our final evening in town and was surprised by a javelina. Instead of running, the pig-like creature stood his ground forcing my wife back in the casita. In the morning I caught a javelina on camera passing through the back of the place.

Southern Arizona is beautiful like that. In Madeira Canyon, between Tucson and the Mexican border 234 bird species were identified by bird counters in the late 1980's.
One of the recent topics in Tucson is about a Leopard captured near Mt Lemon. Leopards are indigenous to the region but one hasn't been seen in Arizona in decades. The poor animal was captured and moved up to Phoenix where it died, reportedly from old age.

The other talk is about the new basketball coach. The day the new coach, Sean Miller was announced we were having lunch with relatives at La Parilla Suiza. It's been 15 years since I lived in Tucson but I am still a Wildcat fan at a distance. At lunch my brother in law and nephews were excited to discuss the new hire. Even the wait staff was energized by the buzz of the new coach. Though Tucson is home to more than a half million it has a small town quality. They have no pro teams so the University of Arizona is about it.

After we left the meal we headed to the U of A to buy our kids some tee shirts. Before we entered the gift shop adjacent to McHale Center I was approached by a local TV crew. The reporter wanted my opinion on the hiring of the new coach. I acted the part parsing from what I heard on the radio just minutes before.

I came off like I knew the subject matter. My opinion led the KVOA Channel 4 evening news at 5:00 and 10:00. Our family who we lunched with only an hour or so earlier was watching the news trying to get the very latest "breaking news" on the permanent replacement for Lute Olsen only to see my mug all over the screen.

Good luck to the Wildcats, it's a class organization and the community deserves a winner.

In Phoenix we stayed in a place at the base of South Mountain. the Sonoran Desert is not as lush in "The Valley of The Sun" but we did see two javelina around the lodge as we drove off towards California.

The CHP is out in force on California highways. They are writing tickets like never before, a budget thing no doubt. No matter to drivers, anything less than 75 is holding up traffic. 7o MPH is max here but in AZ it's 75.


April 10, 2009

Good News: 747 Supertanker Ready to Be Deployed

 
A tip from an anonymous commenter points us to this announcement from Evergreen Aviation.

"EVERGREEN SUPERTANKER READY TO FIGHT WILDFIRES
The B747 Supertanker is certified to fly by Interagency Air Tanker Board

McMinnville, Ore.—Evergreen International Aviation’s B747 Supertanker won certification for operation this season after receiving its interim approval letter from the Interagency Air Tanker Board. The aircraft also received its Supplemental Type Certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in November 2008. It is now available to assist world firefighting agencies during the 2009 season and beyond. The award is unique because the Supertanker has an 8:1 drop ratio compared to that of all other current firefighting aircraft, meaning the Supertanker will forever change the way wildland fires are fought. The plane is the first of a fleet designed to accommodate the needs of U.S. and International private and public agencies.

The Supertanker showed impressive results during the U.S. Forest Service administered grid tests. From high, medium and low coverage levels, the Supertanker showed it provides quality, consistent retardant line construction. The cutting-edge aircraft proved it belongs on the front line, from the onset, to fight wildfire day and night. The uniformed pattern of the Supertanker drops, and its ability, in a single flight, for split loads at multiple coverage levels, gives agencies an incredibly versatile firefighting tool.

The multi-role B747 Supertanker is the largest tanker aircraft available today. With a payload of more than 20,000 gallons and a response time of 600 mph, it has more than eight times the drop capability and twice the speed of any other federal air tanker currently fighting fires. The Supertanker’s patented pressurized system has the capability to disperse product at high pressure for an overwhelming response, or disperse at the speed of falling rain in a single or several segmented drops. This pressurized system will also allow for drops at higher altitudes, creating a significant safety buffer and enabling the Supertanker to fight fires during the day and at night, when they are most vulnerable. It also offers a significant value for American taxpayers; saving homes, natural resources, and most importantly, lives. When employed properly, the Supertanker has the capability to save the U.S. government billions of dollars in fire suppression, natural resource losses, tourism, and rehabilitation costs every year.

Evergreen International Aviation, which has more than 70 years of firefighting experience and more than one million hours of large aircraft operating experience, has invested five years and $50 million of its own funding to develop this next generation of firefighting aircraft.

The Supertanker program will continue to grow and advance its capabilities. On the firefighting front, operations of the Supertanker will expand to Western Europe, Australia and Brazil. The aircraft will be available to provide service to international governments, as well as private industry. The next endeavor is to prove the vehicle as a solution for oil spills, decontamination of biological/chemical poisoning and radiation knock down. With this diverse range of qualifications, the Supertanker will go on protecting valuable resources for generations to come.

About Evergreen International Aviation
Evergreen International Aviation, Inc. is a portfolio diverse companies headquartered in McMinnville, Ore. With international operating authority and a network of global offices and affiliates, Evergreen consists of an international cargo airline that owns and operates a fleet of Boeing 747’s, an unlimited aircraft maintenance, repair, and overhaul facility, a full-service helicopter company, and aircraft ground handling company, and an aircraft sales and leasing company. In addition to these endeavors, Evergreen owns and operates Evergreen Agricultural Enterprises and is headquartered next to the not-for-profit Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, home of the “Spruce Goose”."

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Texas & Oklahoma Wildfires; Two Fatalities, Dozens Injured

 
Wildfires erupted in Central Oklahoma and North Texas Thursday killing a couple and injuring dozens according to the AP.

AP also reports a firefighter was injured:

"...The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management said a firefighter helping battle a blaze in Lincoln County, northeast of Oklahoma City, was hospitalized with burns"

Houston's Chron.com offers extensive coverage on affected cities and counties in Texas.

"The towns of Sunset and Stoneburg in Montague County were devastated Thursday. Several dozen homes were destroyed, with only a heap of debris and ashes remaining. The fires that swept through Sunset and Stoneburg were among a total of 25,000 acres of fires in the county that prompted the evacuations of Montague, Saint Jo and Bowie about 65 miles northwest of Fort Worth...."

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