Friday Flotsam: Merapi now a "national emergency" and new monitoring tools for Newberry Caldera
Busy day for me here at the Department, so I just wanted to highlight some news, both from Merapi and beyond
Merapi: The NASA Earth Observatory posted some great IR thermal images of a pyroclastic flow from the volcano. The image taken on November 1 shows the domes at the summit area along with the trail of hot material left by a dome-collapse pyroclastic flow. This flow only travelled ~5-6 km from the volcano, unlike the flow yesterday that made it at least 12 km from the crater when the pyroclastic flow followed a river channel down the volcano's slopes. At least 60 people were killed. Currently, the death toll from this new eruptive period at Merapi is at least 122 people - and the footage of the evacuees is hard to watch, with many people covered in ash and injured with their homes destroyed by ash fall or pyroclastic flows.The president of Indonesia is now in Yogjakarta to monitor the relief effort, which has now been taken over by the national disaster mitigation agency and a national emergency was declared. And if you can imagine it, the current number of evacuees from the area is thought to have reached over 160,000. UPDATE: The NASA EO has now posted another image (that R Simmon kindly linked to in the comments as well) of the plume from Merapi punching through the cloud deck.
Newberry Volcano, Oregon: If we needed any reminder about the importance of preparedness and volcano monitoring, Merapi is it. So, it shouldn't be surprising that USGS geologists closely watch volcanoes that many people forget can still be a threat, such as Oregon's Newberry Caldera. Dr. Julie Donnelly-Nolan told reporters that "we have no reason to believe it’s finished" - that is, the volcano is still viable, even after 1,300 years since its last eruption. Eight new seismometers are being installed around the caldera next summer to help with monitoring volcanoes in the Central Oregon Cascades. That being said, there is no imminent threat of an eruption, but as with any potentially active volcano, it is better to be overprepared than under.
Top left: An aerial view of Newberry Caldera in Oregon, with the Big Obsidian Flow in the background.
Upstreamism advocate Rishi Manchanda calls us to understand health not as a "personal responsibility" but a "common good."
- Upstreamism tasks health care professionals to combat unhealthy social and cultural influences that exist outside — or upstream — of medical facilities.
- Patients from low-income neighborhoods are most at risk of negative health impacts.
- Thankfully, health care professionals are not alone. Upstreamism is increasingly part of our cultural consciousness.
The Bajau people's nomadic lifestyle has given them remarkable adaptions, enabling them to stay underwater for unbelievable periods of time. Their lifestyle, however, is quickly disappearing.
- The Bajau people travel in small flotillas throughout the Phillipines, Malaysia, and Indonesia, hunting fish underwater for food.
- Over the years, practicing this lifestyle has given the Bajau unique adaptations to swimming underwater. Many find it straightforward to dive up to 13 minutes 200 feet below the surface of the ocean.
- Unfortunately, many disparate factors are erasing the traditional Bajau way of life.
We explore the history of blood types and how they are classified to find out what makes the Rh-null type important to science and dangerous for those who live with it.
- Fewer than 50 people worldwide have 'golden blood' — or Rh-null.
- Blood is considered Rh-null if it lacks all of the 61 possible antigens in the Rh system.
- It's also very dangerous to live with this blood type, as so few people have it.
An innovation may lead to lifelike evolving machines.
- Scientists at Cornell University devise a material with 3 key traits of life.
- The goal for the researchers is not to create life but lifelike machines.
- The researchers were able to program metabolism into the material's DNA.
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