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Naval Station Guantanamo Bay Prepares for Tropical Storm Isaac | Navy.mil

24 Aug

Naval Station Guantanamo Bay Prepares for Tropical Storm Isaac

Story Number: NNS120823-20        Release Date: 8/23/2012 4:39:00 PM

English: GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba (June 12, 2010) ...

English: GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba (June 12, 2010) Capt. Steven Blaisdell, commanding officer of Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, speaks at the 112th Philippine Independence Day Celebration at the Lyceum at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Approximately 1,500 Filipinos work as contractors at the base. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jesse Sharpe/Released) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Justin Ailes Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba Public Affairs

GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba (NNS) — Base officials at Naval Station (NS) Guantanamo Bay, Cuba set Condition of Readiness (COR) level 3 in preparation for tropical storm Isaac, Aug. 23.

COR conditions 5-1 notify base residents and EOC personnel on proper preparatory actions required to properly secure the installation.

COR 3 is set when destructive winds sustain greater than 50 knots and are anticipated to reach the installation within 48 hours.

According to NS Guantanamo Bay, Cuba Commanding Officer Capt. J.R. Nettleton, as the storm pushes rain and heavy winds toward the installation, preparations on the island include closing the hangars, securing buildings, moving people who are at risk into sturdier buildings, and hauling boats out of the water.

“Making the choice to be prepared is one I’m always going to make, because it’s about lives,” said Nettleton.

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Infectious Disease Expert Gives Insight on Flu Vaccine in New Novel, We Should Pay Attention

26 Jul

Ebola virus. From wikipedia.

When I read this article about Dr. Tim Kuberski’s new book “The Trembling Flu” based on his experiences in the field as an infectious disease expert and clinician, I immediately thought of a book I am currently reading called “The Final Jihad.” Four years prior to the OKC bombing, it was written by Martin Keating, brother of Frank Keating, the Oklahoma City Mayor at the time of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

Under Reagan, Frank Keating was appointedto serve as an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury and later was elevated to United States Associate Attorney General, making Keating the third ranking official in the justice and treasury departments, and highest ranking Oklahoman during the Reagan administration, overseeing many agencies, such as United States Customs Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the United States Marshals service, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, all 94 United States Attorneys, the United States role in Interpol and the United States Secret Service. Keating was also the highest ranking Oklahoman in the federal government under President George H.W. Bush. Apparently, because of Keating’s connections, his brother Martin was privy to confidential documents that he then used to write his prophetic story.

In The Final Jihad, Martin Keating writes about a key terrorist in his fictional novel named Tom McVey, and at one point in the story McVey is pulled over for a broken tail light by an Oklahoma highway patrolman.  Coincidentally, on the morning of the OKC bombing, Timothy McVeigh was pulled over by a state trooper for a missing license plate.

From goodread.com

The Final Jihad is a prophetic blueprint, a warning of horrifying upcoming acts of terrorism targeted against the United States. It’s a wake-up call no one should ignore.

The Final Jihad brings readers, for the first time, actual intelligence gathered by espionage operatives worldwide. It has been fashioned into a blockbuster novel by Martin Keating, who employs “predictive analysis” of classified information-the same technique used by government security agencies to anticipate terrorist assaults. The plans, strategies, and assassination techniques of the terror masters in this book are real. Their chemical and biological tools of destruction are real. And their ever-increasing threat to our survival is real.

If Keating was able to formulate accurate predictions just by viewing documents, think what a specialist that has worked in the infectious disease field could bring to light. I have seen some interesting news articles regarding disease and outbreaks. Besides the various news reports on infectious disease, there was also the 2010 Rockefeller paper predictions of pandemic. I suppose we’ll just have to watch and see if Dr. Kuberski’s novel becomes a reality.

“Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development

In 2012, the pandemic that the world had been anticipating for years finally hit. Unlike 2009’s H1N1, this new influenza strain — originating from wild geese — was extremely virulent and deadly. Even the most pandemic-prepared nations were quickly overwhelmed when the virus streaked around the world, infecting nearly 20 percent of the global population and killing 8 million in just seven months, the majority of them healthy young adults. The pandemic also had a deadly effect on economies: international mobility of both people and goods screeched to a halt, debilitating industries like tourism and breaking global supply chains…”
“The pandemic blanketed the planet — though disproportionate numbers died in Africa,
Southeast Asia, and Central America, where the virus spread like wildfire in the absence
of official containment protocols. But even in developed countries, containment was a challenge. The United States’s initial policy of “strongly discouraging” citizens from flying
proved deadly in its leniency, accelerating the spread of the virus not just within the U.S. but across borders. However, a few countries did fare better — China in particular. The Chinese government’s quick imposition and enforcement of mandatory quarantine for all citizens, as well as its instant and near-hermetic sealing off of all borders, saved millions of lives, stopping the spread of the virus far earlier than in other countries and enabling a swifter postpandemic recovery.”

“China’s government was not the only one that took extreme measures to protect its citizens from risk and exposure. During the pandemic, national leaders around the world flexed their authority and imposed airtight rules and restrictions, from the mandatory wearing of face masks to body-temperature checks at the entries to communal spaces like train stations and supermarkets. Even after the pandemic faded, this more authoritarian control and oversight of citizens and their activities stuck and even intensified. In order to protect themselves from the spread of increasingly global problems — from pandemics and transnational terrorism to environmental crises and rising poverty — leaders around the world took a firmer grip on power.”

“Criminal networks also grew highly skilled at counterfeiting licit goods through reverse engineering. Many of these “rip-offs” and copycats were of poor quality or downright dangerous. In the context of weak health systems, corruption, and inattention to standards — either within countries or from global bodies like the World Health Organization — tainted vaccines entered the public health systems of several African countries. In 2021, 600 children in Cote d’Ivoire died from a bogus Hepatitis B vaccine, which paled in comparison to the scandal sparked by mass deaths from a tainted anti-malarial drug years later. The deaths and resulting scandals sharply affected public confidence in vaccine delivery…”

Mutant bird flu would be airborne, scientists say (cnn.com)

Here’s what it takes to make a deadly virus transmissible through the air: as few as five genetic mutations, according to a new study.

This research, published in the journal Science, is the second of two controversial studies to finally be released that examines how the H5N1 bird flu virus can be genetically altered and transmitted in mammals. Publication of both studies had been delayed many months due to fears that the research could be misused and become a bio-security threat.

Bird Flu: Flown the Coop (economist.com)

“SOME said Ron Fouchier’s work would help fend off a pandemic. Others called it a terrorist’s cookbook. Authorities on either side of the Atlantic spent months examining the research. Now the rest of the world can read it, too. In a paper just published in Science, Dr Fouchier explains how bird flu might adapt to spread easily from person to person. The publication caps a long fight over whether the paper’s benefits outweighed its risks. But this controversy will not be the last.”

MRSA Outbreak Hits Cheerleader at New Mexico High School (abc.com)

“One female cheerleader was sickened with the antibiotic-resistant infection MRSA and 12 others tested positive for staph and were treated with antibiotics at Belen High School in New Mexico.

The sometimes lethal bacteria was probably spread on mats in the wrestling and weight room, which is also used for the cheerleaders.”

Video Laurie Garrett on studying pandemics: Dual uses for avian flu research (economist.com)

Congress investigates air leak, possible safety lapses at CDC lab (cnn.com)

“Washington (CNN) — It’s a highly secured, sophisticated research lab studying deadly diseases such as bird flu, monkeypox, tuberculosis and rabies.

It’s in a facility called Building 18, which cost taxpayers $214 million.

And now, the Biosafety Level 3 lab at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta is also the subject of a congressional investigation after a potentially dangerous airflow leak at that lab, CNN has learned.”

Families Fighting Flu (vaccinews.net)

Flesh-Eating Bacteria No Cause for Panic, Experts Say (www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news)

California Researcher Dies From Infection He Studied (abcnews.com)

“The death of a 25-year-old researcher studying a sinister strain of bacteria has highlighted the hazards of infectious disease research.

The man, whose name has not been released, died Saturday at the San Francisco VA Medical Center from a meningococcal infection he may have acquired while working at the hospital the day before.”

Twitter Campaign Turns London Eye Into Olympic-Sized Mood Ring | Slate.com

23 Jul

Will Oliver/AFP/Getty Images

From slate.com

If you want to know how people are feeling about the 2012 Olympic Games, just watch that giant Ferris wheel that looms over the River Thames in London. Once a night, the London Eye will light up in a pattern that reflects the prevailing sentiment about the games among Twitter users that day. Positive tweets will turn the thing yellow, negative ones purple.

If it sounds like an epic MIT student prank crossed with a bizarre corporate social media campaign, that’s because that’s pretty much what it is. EDF Energy, a major UK energy company and sponsor of the London Eye, hired a team of MIT engineers to develop an algorithm that scans Olympics-related tweets and assigns them points based on the intensity of positive or negative sentiment expressed therein. If the tweets are, say, 75 percent positive, the London Eye will turn 75 percent yellow.

How does it know what tweets are positive? According to the Telegraph, the algorithm checks the tweets against a library of some 2,750 words and phrases, including emoticons and non-standard English expressions like “omg” and, uh, “totes amazeballs.” Punctuation marks and intensifiers like “very” get factored in as well.

Read more: http://www.slate.com/blogs/five_ring_circus/2012/07/23/london_eye_twitter_a_social_media_campaign_has_transformed_the_english_landmark_into_an_olympic_sized_mood_ring_.html

Medical News: Cat Litter Parasite Tied to Suicide Risk in New Moms -MedPage Today

9 Jul
Plasmodium sporozoite traverses the cytoplasm ...

Plasmodium sporozoite traverses the cytoplasm of a mosquito midgut epithelial cell (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Think about how wild this is: scientists have identified a parasite that can make someone suicidal. Without psychologically influencing someone, humans can make other humans want to hurt themselves. Let me say it one more time; we can increase the likelihood of suicide attempts in certain individuals merely by exposing them to a parasite. This is an utterly overwhelming concept to me.

 

 

Medical News: Cat Litter Parasite Tied to Suicide Risk in New Moms – in Infectious Disease, General Infectious Disease from MedPage Today.

Just for the Record: “Monster” Colorado wildfire rages; Obama plans visit | Reuters

28 Jun
Official photographic portrait of US President...

Official photographic portrait of US President Barack Obama (born 4 August 1961; assumed office 20 January 2009) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just for the record

“Monster” Colorado wildfire rages; Obama plans visit | Reuters

(Reuters) – Firefighters struggled on Wednesday to beat back a fiercely aggressive wildfire raging at the edge of Colorado Springs that has forced at least 35,000 people from their homes and was nipping at the edges of the U.S. Air Force Academy.

The so-called Waldo Canyon Fire, fanned by gusting winds, has gutted an unknown number of homes on the wooded fringes of Colorado’s second-most populous city and prompted more evacuations as flames roared out of control for a fifth day.

President Barack Obama plans to pay a visit to the area on Friday to view the damage, the White House said.

The blaze flared Tuesday night with sudden ferocity and quickly overran fire containment lines, invading the northwestern corner of the city. But officials have declined to characterize the extent of property damage there.

Colorado Springs Fire Chief Rich Brown told Reuters that he had “a number in mind” for the approximate tally of homes lost in Tuesday night’s firestorm but did not want to release that information until residents of those dwellings were notified.

The blaze left an orange hue over Colorado Springs, and a smoky haze hung in the air, so thick in places that the giant, roiling pall of smoke that continued to billow into the sky over the city was obscured from the ground.

Governor John Hickenlooper said after flying over the fire zone Tuesday night that he saw many homes destroyed in a “surreal,” luminous landscape below, but did not give a number.

Read the rest here

Just for the Record: The Merging of Crime and Terrorism Investigation

10 Jun

Man accused of crashing SUV into DC building  – NY Daily News.

Police said the vehicle was intentionally driven into the building and the driver and the interior of the car was doused in gasoline.

Police said the vehicle was intentionally driven into the building and the driver and the interior of the car was doused in gasoline.  Photo: Charles Dharapak/AP

Sometimes I see articles that may not mean much now, but seem like they could somehow be significant in the future. I put them in my “Just For The Record” folder. Sometimes I save them because I want to see if a trend begins, other times I save articles if the subject is something that could be rather significant, or be developed into something rather significant, but is so far under-reported. I snagged this one when I saw the short initial AP release about the SUV crash.  I had wondered why they hadn’t declared it domestic terrorism.

The entire release is as follows, from NYdaily.com on June 9 as reported by AP

WASHINGTON — Authorities say the man accused of driving an SUV into an office building in the nation’s capital has been charged with arson and other counts.

Gwendolyn Crump is a spokeswoman for District of Columbia police. She said in an email Saturday that 32-year-old Charles Morrell Ball of New Market, Md., had also been charged with felony destruction of property and felony unauthorized use of vehicle driver.

Authorities had said previously that they believed the driver intentionally crashed into the office building Friday night. The vehicle had been reported stolen.

The building is less than a mile from the White House in the city’s business district. It has a mix of offices, retail shops and restaurants.

Then also on June 9, a day after the crash, I noticed the Washington Post reports:

  • The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force was at the scene Friday evening
  •  D.C. police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said Saturday that Ball’s “motive was not a terrorist motive.”
  • Police spokeswoman Tisha Grant said that Charles Morrell Ball, 32, of Frederick County was charged with three felonies — arson, destruction of property and unauthorized use of a vehicle.
  • It appeared that Ball, the driver, had acted alone.
  • Ball has “mental-health issues.”
  • The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.  Ball is listed in the Maryland registry of sex offenders
  • According to court records, he was convicted in 2008 in Carroll County Circuit Court of a third-degree sexual offense & he had been complying with sex-offender reporting requirements.
  • Ball was convicted of three other charges since 2006 — two thefts and an assault.
  • D.C. police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said Ball was taken to a hospital for evaluation and was released into police custody.   She said Ball gave “a good debrief” to investigators after his arrest. (What does that mean?)
  • A witness said “a man who appeared to be the driver struggled with building security officers, then with police.

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