'Historic' Saharan dust fills the air from Africa to US. But it does have a plus side
PHILADELPHIA — A ‘historic’ outbreak of Saharan dust that is clogging the atmosphere from western Africa to the Caribbean and potentially posing health threats could make it as far as the Midwest.While the phenomenon is an annual occurrence, “This dust episode has a huge spatial extent,” said Andrea Sealy, a meteorologist with the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology, in Barbados.And for the time being at least, it is yielding a collateral benefit to property owners on the Gulf and Atlantic Coast, and to U.S. taxpayers. All that dust suppresses storms in the subtropical Atlantic, ...
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Florida police shot woman in the face with rubber bullet. Now she's briefing Congress
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — LaToya Ratlieff — the woman Fort Lauderdale police shot in the face with a foam rubber bullet as she choked on tear gas at a George Floyd protest last month — will brief a congressional subcommittee Monday morning about her ordeal.Ratlieff will speak remotely to the House of Representatives’ Oversight Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. The briefing is being held to address “how the violent treatment of protesters and journalists across the country by federal and local law enforcement (has) violated the First Amendment,” the subcommittee said in a news rel...
Record Saharan dust plume cloaks Caribbean as health warnings issued
MIAMI — Scientists have been monitoring atmospheric dust on the easternmost Caribbean island of Barbados since 1965. The plume currently drifting over the Caribbean into the Gulf of Mexico is like nothing they’ve ever seen.In Haiti, fully cloaked this week under a cloud of hot Saharan dust, residents reported the panoramic view of the capital, Port-au-Prince, had vanished. The gray haze also has brought a particular smell, like stepping into a wood shop. With the declining air quality, health agencies throughout the Caribbean have urged residents to take precautions and stay indoors if they ha...
New company plans to launch passengers from Kennedy Space Center dangling from a balloon
ORLANDO, Fla. — A pair of self-described serial entrepreneurs, best-known for flying a KFC chicken sandwich into space and living two years sealed inside a biosphere, are attempting to start a new human spaceflight company that instead of launching rockets will lift civilian passengers into the sky tethered to a high-performance balloon.Space Perspective, introduced during a video news conference Thursday, aims to carry a capsule of eight passengers at a time, dangling from a 650-foot-tall balloon 100,000 feet above Earth. The balloon and capsule will gently ascend for about two hours at 12 mp...
Massive Sahara dust plume headed for southeastern US, could bring sensational sunsets
The southeastern U.S. is getting dusted by the Sahara.A massive cloud of dust from the sands of the Sahara Desert is headed our way — though its infinitesimally small particles will do little more than enhance sunsets and pause the tropical storm season, meteorologists say.By the time it floats down from the atmosphere it will have traveled more than 5,000 miles, CNN meteorologist Haley Brink said. While it sounds dramatic, it’s actually pretty normal.“Large plumes of Saharan Dust routinely track into the Atlantic Ocean from late spring into early fall,” Brink told CNN. “Every so often, when t...
New York Daily News
For 'Prehistoric Road Trip' TV series, Emily Graslie roamed through time and her native West
CHICAGO — “Prehistoric Road Trip,” the new PBS series written and hosted by YouTube star Emily Graslie of the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, wants you to wrap your head around the vastness of geologic time, to find joy in seeing the outline of a fish fossilized in rock, and to really, really dig digging for dinosaurs.If you have an ounce of interest in the natural world, these aren’t hard things to do. But it helps a lot to have Graslie, as unflappable as she is wide-eyed, as your interpreter.She finds delight in conveying how much bigger a billion is than a million and also in wr...
COVID-19 could be end of line for some regional colleges
WASHINGTON — The Vermont State Colleges System, which includes three four-year colleges and a community college, had been in financial trouble for years before the coronavirus pandemic hit.Now system leaders are bracing for an enrollment drop that could hit 20% at residential campuses and a budget deficit as high as $12 million for fiscal 2021. In April, then-Chancellor Jeb Spaulding proposed a radical solution: shutting down Northern Vermont University’s campuses and a Vermont Technical College campus for good.While Vermont’s situation is extreme, Spaulding’s proposal shows that the pandemic ...
New hurricane season forecast raises chance of US landfall
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A pessimistic hurricane season forecast was released Thursday, saying the odds have increased for landfall by a major hurricane in the Caribbean or United States.Colorado State University, one of the most prominent centers for hurricane forecasting, raised the predicted number of hurricanes from eight to nine. The number of expected named storms, those of at least tropical strength, climbed from 16 to 19.“We have slightly increased our forecast for the 2020 Atlantic basin hurricane season and believe that the season will have well above-average activity,” stated a repor...
Tear gas has been controlling crowds for a century. How does it work? Can it cause permanent harm?
PHILADELPHIA — Christopher Rapuano, chief of the cornea service at Wills Eye Hospital, got a small dose of tear gas a few years ago as he stood on the fringes of a demonstration in Hong Kong. His eyes started to burn. Then they teared up and his vision blurred. He ran to fresher air.Chris Cramer, a University of Minnesota chemist, got much bigger doses while in the Army, where he was a chemical weapons specialist. To underscore the value of gas masks, soldiers in training would don the masks, wait until tear gas had been fired, then take them off.“It feels as though bees are stinging you in yo...
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Scientists warn of 'superspreaders' as San Diego flocks to restaurants, salons
SAN DIEGO — Churches. Hair salons. Restaurants. Malls. What do they all have in common?They’ve all been cleared to reopen in San Diego County amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic — and by and large, they all require people to congregate inside, potentially with strangers.This comes as an increasingly vocal group of scientists has sounded the alarm about the danger of indoor gatherings due to the potential for airborne transmission of the disease by “superspreaders.”This week Kimberly Prather of UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography penned an urgently worded perspective paper in t...
The San Diego Union-Tribune