Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Wake-Up Call: Nor'easter Making Weather Miserable

Flash flood watches were issued across parts of the mid-Atlantic on Monday afternoon as a powerful storm took shape off the Atlantic coast. The storm is poised to bring miserable weather conditions to areas from the mid-Atlantic coast to New England, and AccuWeather forecasters say it's just the first of multiple storms that take aim at the Northeast.

The storm has been categorized as a nor'easter since it will be spreading northeasterly winds along the coast and is the first such storm of the season to impact the region. The nor'easter is expected to quickly strengthen as it moves along the Eastern Seaboard but is expected to lose forward speed and become stationary off the Northeast coast on Tuesday.

As the storm strengthens, it could undergo a period of rapid intensification known as bombogenesis, which is when the central pressure of a storm drops by 0.71 of an inch of mercury (24 millibars) or more over a 24-hour period to become what is known as a bomb cyclone. Two similar storms developed in the northern Pacific and slammed into the western U.S. late last week and over the weekend.

Regardless of whether the nor'easter is classified as a bomb cyclone, it is likely to bring significant impacts to the Northeast. 

➤BIDEN AGAIN REJECTS EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE FOR DOCS SOUGHT BY JAN. 6TH COMMITTEE: President Biden has again refused to assert executive privilege that would prevent the House committee investigating the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol from getting access to documents they requested. CNN reported yesterday that, according to a letter it had obtained, the White House counsel told the National Archivist that Biden wouldn't assert executive privilege over additional materials that former President Donald Trump had asked to remain secret. Trump has already filed a lawsuit to try to stop the National Archives from giving documents to the committee that he claims are privileged.

Moderna said yesterday that that a low dose of its Covid-19 vaccine is safe and apparently effective in children ages six to 11. The pharmaceutical company said it plans to share the interim results of its study with the Food and Drug Administration and global regulators soon. The FDA hasn't yet ruled on whether the Moderna vaccine is okay for teenagers. Meanwhile, the FDA is reviewing whether to give approval for Pfizer's vaccine for children ages five to 11, in a reduced dose, and it could potentially be available by early next month.

➤U-S SUSPENDS AID TO SUDAN FOLLOWING COUP: The U.S. suspended $700 million in aid to Sudan Monday after a military coup in the African nation. The U.S. also condemned the coup, in which the military removed a civilian-led transitional authority and detained many of its members. State Department spokesman Ned Price called for the immediate release of those arrested, including Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, and the restoration of the civilian authority. The $700 million was financial support intended to help the country transition to a fully civilian government. AP said it wasn't clear how much aid the U.S. is giving Sudan in addition to the $700 million that was suspended.

➤TWO KILLED, FOUR INJURED IN SHOOTING AT IDAHO MALL: Two people were killed and four others injured, including a police officer, in a shooting at a Boise, Idaho, shopping mall yesterday afternoon (October 25th). Officials said that police exchanged gunfire with the suspect, who as of yesterday evening was hospitalized in critical condition. The officer was treated and released. Neither the name of the suspect nor the victims were released, and Boise Police Chief Ryan Lee said, "We really cannot at this time speak to any motivation behind [the shooting]."

  Having a strong policy about not answering unknown numbers on your phone is all well and good, but there should be exceptions. A hiker who was missing for more than 24 hours on Colorado’s highest mountain ignored repeated phone calls from a search and rescue team because they came from an unknown number. Rescuers were trying to locate the hiker, lost on Mount Elbert on October 18th, but their progress was hindered when they failed to respond to multiple calls. Lake County Search and Rescue posted a statement to Facebook, saying after several attempts to contact the hiker by phone, five team members were deployed around 10 p.m. When they failed to locate the hiker they returned to their base around 3 a.m., and a second search team set out at 7 a.m. Around 9:30 a.m. it was reported the hiker “had returned to their place of lodging.” 

The hiker told authorities they had lost the trail around nightfall and had spent subsequent hours searching for it before finally reaching their car. They had no idea search and rescue had been searching for them. A total of 32.5 man hours were dedicated to the search. Lake County Search and Rescue added, “Please remember that what seems like common sense in hindsight is not obvious to a subject in the moment when they are lost and panicking.”

💑HOW SOCIAL MEDIA IS CHANGING THE WAY PEOPLE GET TO KNOW ONE ANOTHER: Social media is changing how we get to know new people. Penn State researchers say social media opens up new ways for people to connect, and also forces our brains to adapt to a form of communication it was not designed for. For one thing, when most people meet someone new they often feel a need to “reduce uncertainty” about that person, which is usually done by interacting directly with the person, asking others about the person, or by observing the person interact with others. But social media makes it possible for us to gather a lot of information about someone very quickly, as we can see someone’s “personal beliefs, friends and acquaintances, and photographs.” In addition, social media removes one’s ability to pick up nonverbal cues that we’d normally get from in-person interaction, but researchers say people have adapted to compensate for this by asking more direct questions and disclosing more information about themselves when communicating with a stranger online. Researcher Bu Zhong adds, “We used to talk about media literacy, and now I think we need to expand that to social media literacy. With how much social media can affect the brain, it’s important to be able to understand and take control of how social media is affecting you.”

🍬THE EXACT AMOUNT OF HALLOWEEN CANDY YOU CAN EAT BEFORE IT’S LETHAL:  Who doesn’t love to indulge in Halloween candy? Experts say it’s fine to indulge, but there’s a point where too much candy can become lethal. The American Chemical Society says you’d need to eat close to 262 pieces of fun-sized Halloween candy or 1,627 pieces of candy corn, and you’d need to eat it “pretty consecutively and literally shove pieces of candy corn in your mouth" in order for either to kill you. To calculate candy’s lethal quantities, the ACS used the oral LD50 (median lethal dose) of sugar, or sucrose, which is the quantity of a substance that’s lethal for 50 percent of the subjects in a test group. Sucrose’s LD50 is 13.5 grams per pound, and with the average person weighing 180 pounds, consuming 2,440 grams (or 5.4 pounds) of sugar can be lethal. To calculate your own Halloween candy LD50, multiply your weight in pounds by 13.5 and divide by 9.3. For candy corn’s LD50, divide everything by 1.5. These equations are meant to be a fun guide, and researcher Hans Plugge says he doesn’t recommend anyone try eating candy quantities exceeding their LD50. He adds that most people would not immediately die after eating so much candy, they would more likely get elevated blood sugar, or start vomiting. Additionally, he emphasized that the video is not meant to vilify candy, and that there is an LD50 for everything, even water, and the risk of death or illness depends on your exposure levels.

🎃PUMPKIN CARVING IS TOP CAUSE OF HALLOWEEN INJURIES: The most dangerous Halloween-related thing you’ll likely do this year is carve a pumpkin. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that between October and November 2018 in the United States, 44 percent of Halloween-linked injuries were connected with pumpkin-carving. More than one-quarter of Halloween-related injuries included cuts, ingestions, and costume, pumpkin or decoration-related injuries, and there were nearly 2,700 injuries involving trips and falls. Orthopedic hand surgeon Dr. Craig Phillips says, “It is important for parents to establish clear boundaries with their kids and teach them safety tips to ensure they have a positive experience, rather than having to visit the hospital.” When carving pumpkins, be sure to use carving knives or knives specifically designed for the task, and be sure to carve in a clean, dry, and well-lit area, and be sure there is no moisture on the carving tools or your hands.

🏈SAINTS DEFEAT SEAHAWKS 13-10: The New Orleans Saints defeated the Seattle Seahawks 13-10 in Monday Night Football last night, getting the winning points on a 33-yard field goal by rookie kicker Brian Johnson in his NFL debut with 1:56 remaining. The Saints capitalized on mistakes by Seattle, which is without injured quarterback Russell Wilson, and has Geno Smith filling in, who was sacked five times. New Orleans quarterback Jameis Winston was 19 of 35 for 222 yards and one touchdown, and had 43 yards rushing.

⚾WORLD SERIES BEGINS TONIGHT BETWEEN BRAVES AND ASTROS: The World Series between the Atlanta Braves and the Houston Astros gets underway tonight with Game 1 in Houston. The Braves are in the World Series for the first time in 22 years, while the Astros are in it for the third time in five years, including when they won the championship in 2017.

🏈JETS QB WILSON OUT TWO TO FOUR WEEKS, TEAM TRADES FOR FLACCO: New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh confirmed Monday that rookie quarterback Zach Wilson has a sprained posterior cruciate ligament in his knee and will be out two to four weeks, sharing the news after Wilson underwent an MRI. Wilson was injured in the second quarter of New York's 54-13 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday. To help fill in for Wilson, the Jets traded for veteran Joe Flacco from Philadelphia, giving the Eagles a sixth-round draft pick. Flacco started four games for the Jets last season. Backup Mike White made his NFL debut when he came in after Wilson was injured Sunday, and he can also fill in while Wilson is out.

🏈PACKERS' ADAMS ON COVID LIST; BEARS HEAD COACH NAGY TESTS POSITIVE: The Green Bay Packers said Monday that receiver Davante Adams had been put on the reserve/Covid-19 list, which is for players who've either tested positive or had close contact with someone who did. The team also said defense coordinator Joe Barry tested positive. Meanwhile, Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy said yesterday that he'd tested positive for Covid. Nagy, who is vaccinated, said he feels "pretty good." He shared the news during a Zoom call to which his usual in-person session had been switched.

🏈FAN WHO GAVE BACK BRADY'S 600 TD PASS BALL GETS GOOD SWAG: We now know what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan who gave back the ball that Tom Brady threw for his landmark 600th career touchdown pass on Sunday got from the team in return -- and it's pretty good. ESPN reported that 29-year-old Byron Kennedy will get: two jerseys signed by Brady; a helmet; a jersey autographed by Mike Evans -- who caught the pass and gave Kennedy the ball, not realizing it was Brady's 600th; Evans' game-worn cleats; season tickets for the rest of 2021 and all of 2022; and a $1,000 credit to the official team store.

⚾KEN GRIFFEY JR. JOINS MARINERS OWNERSHIP: Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr., who was a big star for the Seattle Mariners over more than a decade in the 1990s, has joined the MLB team's ownership, the Mariners announced yesterday (October 25th). The 51-year-old Griffey, whose exact stake in the team isn't known, called it a "dream come true." Griffey was with Seattle for the first 11 seasons of his career, from 1989 to 1999, helping lead them to two division championships. After retiring in 2010, Griffey became a special consultant to the Mariners.

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