There’s Over Twice as Much Magma Under Yellowstone Than We Thought

There's Over Twice as Much Magma Under Yellowstone Than We Thought

Everyone knows that Yellowstone is home to a super-volcano—but it turns out that the magma reservoir it sits atop is at least 2.5 times larger than we previously thought.

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HIV-like virus suppressed in monkey experiment

This Feb. 3, 2012 microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) budding out of a human immune cell, which the virus infects and uses to replicate. Doctors may one day be able to control a patient’s HIV infection in a new way: injecting swarms of germ-fighting antibodies, two new studies suggest. Reports by Dr. Dan Barouch of Harvard and the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and the National Institutes of Health were published Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013 in the journal Nature. (AP Photo/NIAID)

This Feb. 3, 2012 microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) budding out of a human immune cell, which the virus infects and uses to replicate. Doctors may one day be able to control a patient’s HIV infection in a new way: injecting swarms of germ-fighting antibodies, two new studies suggest. Reports by Dr. Dan Barouch of Harvard and the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and the National Institutes of Health were published Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013 in the journal Nature. (AP Photo/NIAID)

This April 12, 2011 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows an H9 T cell, colored in blue, infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), yellow. Doctors may one day be able to control a patient’s HIV infection in a new way: injecting swarms of germ-fighting antibodies, two new studies suggest. Reports by Dr. Dan Barouch of Harvard and the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and the National Institutes of Health were published Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013 in the journal Nature. (AP Photo/NIAID)

(AP) — Doctors may one day be able to control a patient’s HIV infection in a new way: injecting swarms of germ-fighting antibodies, two new studies suggest.

In monkeys, that strategy sharply reduced blood levels of a cousin of HIV. The results also gave tantalizing hints that someday the tactic might help destroy the AIDS virus in its hiding places in the body, something current drugs cannot do.

The study results “could revolutionize efforts to cure HIV” if the approach is found to work in people, said a commentary published Wednesday by the journal Nature along with the monkey studies.

Antibodies are proteins in the blood that grab onto specific germs and mark them for elimination. People infected with HIV naturally make antibodies to fight the AIDS virus, but they are generally ineffective. The two new studies used lab-made versions of rare antibodies with unusual potency against HIV.

One study of rhesus monkeys showed a profound effect from a single injection of antibodies, said lead author Dr. Dan Barouch of Harvard and the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

The 18 animals had been infected with SHIV, a monkey version of HIV. In 13 animals, blood levels of SHIV became undetectable by standard tests within a week of the treatment. After the antibodies petered out, the virus came back. That happened one to three months after treatment.

In three monkeys with the lowest levels of SHIV before treatment, the virus didn’t return during an observation period of up to eight months. Barouch said the animals were not cured, but the treatment had apparently improved their immune systems enough to keep the virus in check.

The two other monkeys started with the highest blood levels of SHIV. Treatment lowered those levels but not to the point where they were undetectable.

The second study in Nature, from the National Institutes of Health, showed encouraging results in a smaller group of monkeys.

In people, standard drugs routinely tamp down HIV to undetectable levels in the blood. But the antibody approach may someday help doctors attack virus that’s hiding in infected cells, beyond the reach of today’s drugs, said the Nature commentary by Dr. Steven Deeks of the University of California, San Francisco, and Dr. Louis Picker of the Oregon Health & Science University in Beaverton.

In theory, antibodies might activate the body’s immune system to kill those infected cells, they wrote. Barouch’s results hinted at such an effect, they noted. Virus levels dropped faster in the monkeys than they do when people get standard HIV drugs, and when the monkey virus returned, it generally didn’t reach its pre-treatment levels. Barouch also found virus levels reduced in cells and tissues after treatment.

The findings of the two studies are “provocative” about prospects for attacking HIV’s hiding places, Deeks said in a telephone interview.

“These studies raised more questions than they answered,” he said. “But that’s how science advances.”

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Online:

Nature: http://www.nature.com/nature

___

Malcolm Ritter can be followed at http://www.twitter.com/malcolmritter

Associated PressSource: http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/bbd825583c8542898e6fa7d440b9febc/Article_2013-10-30-Suppressing%20HIV/id-858c542c588144c08750f2b0ee5a0eea
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Did the ‘War of the Worlds’ Radio Broadcast Really Cause Mass Panic?

Did the 'War of the Worlds' Radio Broadcast Really Cause Mass Panic?

Tonight, PBS airs a documentary about Orson Welles’ infamous 1938 War of the Worlds radio broadcast and the resulting hysteria that swept America. The only problem? Many scholars contend that the program didn’t actually cause mass panic at all.

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Source: http://feeds.gawker.com/~r/gizmodo/full/~3/YJneEbrm6Jo/@barrett
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Key senator wants ‘total review’ of intel programs

In this Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, file photo, a man is reflected in paneling as he speaks on his phone at the Mobile World Congress, the world’s largest mobile phone trade show, in Barcelona, Spain. A Spanish newspaper published a document Monday that it said shows the U.S. National Security Agency spied on more than 60 million phone calls in Spain in one month alone — the latest revelation about alleged massive U.S. spying on allies. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez, File)

In this Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, file photo, a man is reflected in paneling as he speaks on his phone at the Mobile World Congress, the world’s largest mobile phone trade show, in Barcelona, Spain. A Spanish newspaper published a document Monday that it said shows the U.S. National Security Agency spied on more than 60 million phone calls in Spain in one month alone — the latest revelation about alleged massive U.S. spying on allies. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez, File)

FILE – In this Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013, file photo, a man speaks on a cell phone in the business district of Madrid. A Spanish newspaper published a document Monday, Oct. 28, 2013, that it said shows the U.S. National Security Agency spied on more than 60 million phone calls in Spain in one month alone — the latest revelation about alleged massive U.S. spying on allies. (AP Photo/Paul White, File)

(AP) — Sen. Diane Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, on Monday called for a “total review of all intelligence programs” following allegations that the National Security Agency eavesdropped on the German chancellor — the latest revelation in a spying scandal that has strained longstanding alliances.

The NSA’s program of spying on the foreign leaders was already damaging relations with some of the closest U.S. allies. German officials said Monday that the U.S. could lose access to an important law enforcement tool used to track terrorist money flows.

As possible leverage, German authorities cited last week’s non-binding resolution by the European Parliament to suspend a post-9/11 agreement allowing the Americans access to bank transfer data to track the flow of terrorist money. A top German official said Monday she believed the Americans were using the information to gather economic intelligence apart from terrorism and that the agreement known as the SWIFT agreement should be suspended.

Feinstein, D-Calif., said while she was not informed about the spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel, her committee was informed of the NSA’s collection of phone records under a secret court order. But she said she “was not satisfactorily informed” that “certain surveillance activities have been in effect for more than a decade.”

Her statement follows reports based on new leaks from former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden indicating that the NSA listened to Merkel and 34 other foreign leaders.

“With respect to NSA collection of intelligence on leaders of U.S. allies — including France, Spain, Mexico and Germany — let me state unequivocally: I am totally opposed,” Feinstein said in her statement Monday. She said the U.S. should not be “collecting phone calls or emails of friendly presidents and prime ministers” unless in an emergency with approval of the president.

NSC spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden refused to comment on “assertions made in the senator’s statement” about U.S. foreign intelligence activities. Hayden said that the administration is currently reviewing its intelligence priorities, with two separate review bodies looking at how U.S. spying works.

European Union officials who are in Washington to meet with lawmakers ahead of White House talks said U.S. surveillance of their people could affect negotiations over a U.S.-Europe trade agreement. They said European privacy must be better protected.

Many officials in Germany and other European governments have made clear, however, that they don’t favor suspending the U.S.-EU trade talks which began last summer because both sides stand to gain so much through the proposed deal, especially against competition from China and other emerging markets.

As tensions with European allies escalate, the top U.S. intelligence official declassified dozens of pages of top secret documents in an apparent bid to show the NSA was acting legally when it gathered millions of Americans’ phone records.

Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper said he was following the president’s direction to make public as much information as possible about how U.S. intelligence agencies spy under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Monday’s release of documents focused on Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which allows the bulk collection of U.S. phone records.

The document release is part of an administration-wide effort to preserve the NSA’s ability to collect bulk data, which it says is key to tracking key terror suspects, but which privacy activists say is a breach of the Constitution’s ban on unreasonable search and seizure of evidence from innocent Americans.

The release of the documents comes ahead of a House Intelligence Committee hearing Tuesday on FISA reform.

The documents support administration testimony that the NSA worked to operate within the law and fix errors when they or their systems overreached. One of the documents shows the NSA admitting to the House Intelligence Committee that one of its automated systems picked up too much telephone metadata. The February 2009 document indicates the problem was fixed.

Another set of documents shows the judges of the FISA court seemed satisfied with the NSA’s cooperation. It says that in September 2009, the NSA advised the Senate Intelligence Committee about its continuing collection of Americans’ phone records and described a series of demonstrations and briefings it conducted for three judges on the secretive U.S. spy court. The memorandum said the judges were “engaged throughout and asked questions, which were answered by the briefers and other subject matter experts,” and said the judges appreciated the amount and quality of information the NSA provided.

It said that two days later, one of the judges, U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton, renewed the court’s permission to resume collecting phone records.

The documents also included previously classified testimony from 2009 for the House Intelligence Committee by Michael Leiter, then head of the National Counterterrorism Center. He and other officials said collecting Americans’ phone records helped indict Najibullah Zazi, who was accused in a previously disclosed 2009 terror plot to bomb the New York City subways.

The documents also show the NSA considered tracking targets using cellphone location data, and according to an April 2011 memo consulted the Justice Department first, which said such collection was legal. Only later did the NSA inform the FISA court of the testing.

NSA commander Gen. Keith Alexander revealed the testing earlier this month to Congress but said the agency did not use the capability to track Americans’ cellphone locations nor deem it necessary right now.

Asked Monday if the NSA intelligence gathering had been used not only to protect national security but American economic interests as well, White House spokesman Jay Carney said: “We do not use our intelligence capabilities for that purpose. We use it for security purposes.”

Still, he acknowledged the tensions with allies over the eavesdropping disclosures and said the White House was “working to allay those concerns,” though he refused to discuss any specific reports or provide details of internal White House discussions.

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Associated Press writers Ted Bridis and Jack Gillum in Washington, Frank Jordan, Geir Moulson and Robert H. Reid in Berlin, Juergen Baetz in Brussels, Ciaran Giles, Jorge Sainz and Alan Clendenning in Madrid and Sarah DiLorenzo in Paris contributed to this report.

Associated PressSource: http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/89ae8247abe8493fae24405546e9a1aa/Article_2013-10-28-NSA%20Surveillance/id-b8d677e2ebd54cdf9148b550facfbe2a
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Former US envoys urge nuclear talks with NKorea

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former U.S. negotiators on North Korea’s nuclear program are urging the Obama administration reopen a dialogue with Pyongyang.

They say the current impasse buys time for development of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

Former Obama administration envoy to North Korea, Stephen Bosworth, and former Clinton negotiator Robert Gallucci made the call in an article in the International New York Times.

During informal talks in Europe last month, they say North Korean officials disclosed that their nuclear weapons program would be on the negotiating table if dialogue resumed. The former envoys say the administration has “healthy skepticism” about the North but the risks of holding new talks, “are less than those that come with doing nothing.”

There are indications the North recently restarted a reactor that can make plutonium for bombs.

Associated PressSource: http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/cae69a7523db45408eeb2b3a98c0c9c5/Article_2013-10-28-United%20States-NKorea/id-37d5b57ce98344078514a04b30565827
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Britain braces for worst storm in a decade

London (AFP) – Britain was braced on Sunday for its worst storm in a decade, with heavy rain and winds of more than 80 miles (130 kilometres) an hour set to batter the south of the country.

The Met Office national weather centre warned of falling trees, damage to buildings and disruption to power supplies and transport when the storm hits overnight to Monday.

Between 20 and 40 millimetres (0.8 to 1.6 inches) of rain is predicted to fall within six to nine hours starting on Sunday evening, with a chance of localised flooding.

It will be followed by widespread gusts of 60 to 70 miles an hour across southern England and south Wales on Monday, with winds reaching more than 80 miles an hour in some areas, forecasters say.

The Met Office issued an “amber” wind warning for the region, the third highest in a four-level scale, and urged people to delay their Monday morning journeys to work to avoid the worst of the bad weather.

London’s rush-hour looked set to be chaotic after train companies First Capital Connect, C2C, Greater Anglia, Southern and Gatwick Express services all said they would not run services on Monday until it was safe to do so. That is likely to be after 9.00am (0900 GMT), according to forecasts.

Major airports also warned of disruption to flights with London-hub Heathrow expecting approximately 30 cancellations.

Cross-channel train service Eurostar said it would not be running trains on Monday until 7.00am, meaning delays to early services.

Several ferry operators said they had cancelled some cross-Channel services and Irish Sea crossings.

Britain last experienced similar wind strengths in March 2008, but forecaster Helen Chivers told AFP the expected damage was more comparable with a storm seen in October 2002.

Prime Minister David Cameron received an update from officials on contingency planning in a conference call on Sunday, amid fears of similar damage wrought by the “Great Storm” of October 1987.

That left 18 people dead in Britain and four in France, felled 15 million trees and caused damages worth more than £1 billion ($1.6 billion or 1.2 billion euros at current exchange rates) as winds blew up to 115 miles an hour.

Martin Young, chief forecaster at the Met Office, said: “While this is a major storm for the UK, we don’t currently expect winds to be as strong as those seen in the ‘Great Storm’ of 1987 or the ‘Burns Day storm’ of 1990.

“This weather system is typical of what we expect to see in winter but as it’s coming in during autumn — when trees are in leaf — and while the ground is fairly saturated, it does pose some risks.

“We could see some uprooted trees or other damage from the winds and there’s a chance of some surface water flooding from the rainfall — all of which could lead to some disruption.”

Veteran weather forecaster Michael Fish also said Sunday’s storm was unlikely to be as severe as 26 years ago, although his comments will be taken with a pinch of salt in Britain.

Fish was the BBC’s main television weatherman in 1987 but famously denied that a major storm was on its way just hours before it hit.

This year’s storm has been named St Jude after the patron saint of lost causes, whose feast day is on Monday.

It is likely to affect northern France before heading off towards Denmark, forecasters said.

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/england-wales-brace-worst-storm-years-103639850.html
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Mojave Desert gunman’s life crumbled to bloody end

This video image provided by KCBS-TV shows the site of s shooting Friday Oct. 25, 2013 ion Ridgecrest, Calif. A homicide suspect was killed by police on this Mojave Desert highway early Friday after a lengthy pursuit in which the man fired at vehicles and two hostages in his car trunk, authorities said.(AP Photo/KCBS-TV)

This video image provided by KCBS-TV shows the site of s shooting Friday Oct. 25, 2013 ion Ridgecrest, Calif. A homicide suspect was killed by police on this Mojave Desert highway early Friday after a lengthy pursuit in which the man fired at vehicles and two hostages in his car trunk, authorities said.(AP Photo/KCBS-TV)

This undated photo provided by the Ridgecrest, Calif. police shows Sergio Munoz. Ridgecrest police have identified Munoz, 39, as the gunman who fatally shot a woman, injured another and then led police on a wild chase before he was killed in a shootout on Friday, Oct. 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Ridgecrest Police)

Passersby peer into a house Friday Oct. 25, 2013, where gunman Sergio Munoz shot two people, a man and a woman, killing the woman, before leading police on a chase through the Mojave Desert, before being shot and killed by police near Ridgecrest, Calif. (AP Photo/Justin Pritchard)

Map locates Ridgecrest, Calif.; 1c x 3 inches; 46.5 mm x 76 mm;

A view of the bloodied front door at a house where gunman Sergio Munoz shot two people, Friday Oct. 25, 2013, a man and a woman, killing the woman, before leading police on a chase with two hostages, through the Mojave Desert, before being shot and killed by police near Ridgecrest, Calif. (AP Photo/Justin Pritchard)

(AP) — Sergio Munoz was known around this small desert city to acquaintances as a personable dad, and to police for his long rap sheet.

In recent weeks, he began losing the moorings of a stable life — his job, then his family. Kicked out of the house, he had been staying at a friend’s place, using and dealing heroin.

Life fully unraveled when Munoz, with two hostages in his trunk, led officers on a wild chase Friday after killing a woman and injuring his crash-pad friend. He shot the friend after he had refused to join what Munoz planned would be a final rampage against police and “snitches.”

Munoz knew the authorities well enough that after the initial, pre-dawn slaying he called one patrol officer’s cellphone and announced that he wanted to kill all police in town. Because he would be outgunned at the station he would instead “wreak havoc” elsewhere, Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood said at a news conference Friday.

Munoz kept his word, first firing at drivers in Ridgecrest, according to police, then taking shots at pursuing officers and passing motorists during a chase along 30 miles of highway that runs through the shrub-dotted desert about 150 miles north of Los Angeles. He ran traffic off the road, firing at least 10 times at passing vehicles with a shotgun and a handgun, though no one was hurt.

In the end, Munoz pulled over on U.S. 395, turned in his seat and began shooting into the trunk — which had popped open earlier in the pursuit to reveal a man and woman inside.

As many as seven officers opened fire and killed him. The hostages were flown to a hospital in critical condition, but were expected to survive. Their names have not been released and police have not said anything about their relationship to Munoz.

In the neighborhood where the first shooting happened, people said Munoz was an affable man who would stop to chat, revealing no signs of inner turmoil.

“He didn’t show any anger,” said Edgar Martinez, who would see Munoz at a nearby gym and said he cleaned his house several years ago.

Others described him as respectful and humble.

But recently, his life began to crumble.

First, he became unemployed. According to his Facebook page, Munoz worked at Searles Valley Minerals, a company that makes products such as borax and soda ash by extracting a salty mix from beneath a desert lake bed. It was not clear whether he lost his job at Searles, or another business, and officials at Searles were unreachable Saturday.

Last Sunday, Munoz, 39, was arrested again — police found ammunition and a syringe at the house where the slaying would happen five days later. Munoz is a felon with convictions dating back to 1994, when he was sentenced to more than two years in prison for receiving stolen property. In May, he was arrested for possessing ammunition as a felon, but the felony charge was dismissed.

After making bail on the latest arrest, Munoz returned to the house where he first started staying about two weeks ago.

A neighbor heard Munoz bemoaning his life, saying he was losing everything due to drugs.

“He was a cool guy,” said the neighbor, Derrick Holland. “He was just losing his mind.”

Munoz’s estranged wife, Sandra Leiva, said that they separated because she finally had enough of his bad choices.

“Tough love and drugs, that’s what brought him down,” Leiva said.

On Saturday morning, Munoz’s 15-year-old daughter, Viviana, reflected on her father’s life in a Facebook post.

“Your such a great dad when you were not on drugs…I remember how you used always try and teach us how to dance all crazy with your chicken legs haha,” she wrote. “You were a good father and person, you just made a sad choice.”

She promised to watch over her two younger brothers, now that their dad was gone.

Ridgecrest is a city of about 27,000 people adjacent to the vast Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake. It sits near U.S. 395, which runs through the western Mojave, below the eastern flank of the Sierra Nevada.

“It’s a small town, pretty much everybody knows everybody,” said Ridgecrest police Sgt. Jed McLaughlin, who himself had arrested Munoz about 10 years ago.

The violence that ended with Munoz’s roadside death began Friday around 5:30 a.m. when Munoz rolled up the driveway to the house where he had been staying with his friend, Thaddeus Meier, and Meier’s longtime girlfriend.

“We’re going to reduce all of the snitches in town,” Munoz told Meier after rousing him with a knock on the front door, according to Meier’s sister, Dawn, recounting what her brother said from the hospital.

When her brother declined, Munoz shot him at least twice, then shot and killed Meier’s girlfriend. Her identity has not been released.

Dawn Meier said she saw Munoz using heroin and dealing the drug out of the house. She had been staying there with her brother until about a week ago, when her boyfriend insisted that she move out with her 7-month-old son due to all the drug-related foot traffic.

She said her brother called Munoz “a very, very good friend of mine” but that she is a good judge of character and thought him unpredictable, “just by the vibes I got.”

___

Associated Press writer Tami Abdollah in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

Associated PressSource: http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/3d281c11a96b4ad082fe88aa0db04305/Article_2013-10-26-US-Mojave-Desert-Shootout/id-dd98f42021b649888afd2cd1e6a1576c
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