Saturday, June 4, 2011

News: 5 Libyan Army Generals Defect. 40% of Town Burns. MA Tornado. Alaska Fires. Manitoba Floods. Canada! Cell Phones. Cordless Phones.

5 Libyan Army Generals Defect

Libya Rebels
By FRANCES D'EMILIO 05/30/11 02:21 PM ET AP

ROME -- "Eight top Libyan army officers, including five generals, who have defected from Moammar Gadhafi's regime appealed to their fellow officers Monday to join the revolt to hasten the end of Gadhafi's 40-year rule.

Italian Foreign Ministry officials presented the generals, two colonels and a major to reporters in Rome three days after they fled Libya.
One of the officers, Gen. Melud Massoud Halasa, estimated that Gadhafi's military forces are now "only 20 percent as effective" as what they were before the revolt broke out in mid-February, and that "not more than 10" generals remain loyal to Gadhafi.

Former Libyan Foreign Minister Abdel Rahman Shalgam, who now backs the anti-Gadhafi rebels, told the news conference that the eight officers are "part of 120 officials who left and abandoned Gadhafi and are now out of Libya."

"Al Qathafi's 's days are numbered," sYahmed said."


SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) -- "Tornadoes roared through Massachusetts on Wednesday, as violent winds caused damage in about two dozen communities, ripping off roofs, uprooting trees, scattering debris and leaving at least four dead throughout the state. The governor said the death toll was preliminary.

The storm pulverized or sheared off the tops of roofs on Main Street in Springfield, a city of more than 150,000 about 90 miles west of Boston. A mounted video camera captured dramatic footage of a debris-filled funnel as it swept into downtown from the west, then crossed the Connecticut River.
Gov. Deval Patrick declared a state of emergency and called up 1,000 National Guardsmen after the storms, which brought scenes of devastation recently wreaked in the South and Midwest to a part of the country where such violent weather isn't a way of life.

The Rev. Bob Marrone of The First Church of Monson said the storm cleared a view he's never seen across the valley where the town sits."
WATCH (Video Of Springfield Tornado):

"I can see the plywood of roofs, and see houses where most of the house is gone," said Marrone, whose church's steeple was knocked down. "The road that runs up in front of my house ... There's so many trees down, it's completely impassable." More at:


Wildfires in Alaska,
Hastings Fire doubles in size as hundreds battle wildfires in Interior Alaska

FAIRBANKS - "The Hastings Fire north of Fairbanks doubled in size Monday, fanned by a steady wind. The fire, now at 5,400 acres, grew to the north and northeast and is about five miles west of the Hayes Creek Subdivision.
A total of 334 personnel are working on the fire, protecting cabins and trying to keep the fire from crossing the Chatanika River."
Read more: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner - Hastings Fire doubles in size as hundreds battle wildfires in Interior Alaska

Hastings Fire - June 2, courtesy of Alaska Interagency Incident Managemen
Hastings Fire - June 2, courtesy of Alaska Interagency Incident Managemen

Emergency Firefighter Colten Growden works in front of a pile of used fire hoses as he connects them together to run through a special washing machine Wednesday, June 1, 2011, at  Alaska Division of Forestry. The used hose came from the Moose Mountain Fire. It is tested for leaks, washed, dried and rolled to be ready to use. Sam Harrel/News-Miner
"Emergency Firefighter Colten Growden works in front of a pile of used fire hoses as he connects them together to run through a special washing machine Wednesday, June 1, 2011, at Alaska Division of Forestry. The used hose came from the Moose Mountain Fire. It is tested for leaks, washed, dried and rolled to be ready to use. Sam Harrel/News-Miner"
Read more: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner - Hastings Fire doubles in size as hundreds battle wildfires in Interior Alaska

Crews from out of state help fight wildfire along Chatanika River

"Hot shot crews from Washington and Oregon were helping firefighters battle a blaze Wednesday that has been threatening cabins and homes along the Chatanika River in interior Alaska.
More at:

We mostly hear about the weather related tragedies in the US, but Canada is getting clobbered, too:

Canada oil output cut as Alberta wildfires rage

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) – "Canadian oil production cuts could more than double by Wednesday as companies move to protect employees and property from wildfires raging through northern Alberta and cope with the shutdown of a key pipeline.
Oil companies had shut in close to 50,000 barrels per day of production Tuesday because of wildfires in the Western Canadian province, one of the largest suppliers of crude to the United States. Further cuts are expected as big fields are closed in because they cannot ship their oil to market.

Spurred by warm temperatures and gusting winds, 100 wildfires are burning in Alberta, with 23 considered out of control in a fire season unlike any seen before.
"We are facing something largely unprecedented," Colin Lloyd, executive director of the Alberta Emergency Management Agency, told reporters. "The situation overall is very dangerous."
Almost 260,000 acres (1,050 sq km) have burned since the emergency began over the weekend, more than the province lost to fire in all of 2010, officials said.

The worst damage is concentrated in the Lesser Slave Lake region of northern Alberta, about 200 km (125 miles) north of the provincial capital of Edmonton. There, fires destroyed 40 percent of the town of Slave Lake on the weekend, forcing officials to evacuate most of the 10,000 residents of the oil, gas and forestry hub. There have been no official estimates of the cost of the fire damage yet.

For oil producers operating in the rugged, heavily forested region of northern Alberta, fires are a common threat. But the infernos seen over the past few days are surprising even seasoned industry veterans.

"I would think probably every year the industry has an issue with forest fires," said John Langille, vice-chairman of Canadian Natural Resources Ltd, the country's biggest independent oil producer. "I don't think any have been this dramatic -- certainly none have burned a town down." "

In Manitoba.  May ends just as it began.   Badly. 
"After a gloomy weekend complete with a tornado watch, most of southern Manitoba will get drenched by rain and thunderstorms today and Tuesday. Lake Manitoba cottagers, already battening down the hatches from the flood, could be in for the worst.

"It's bad news coming up for Lake Manitoba," said Environment Canada meteorologist Mark Gerlyand. "The next system will be very strong northeast winds. The whole south shore of Lake Manitoba -- Delta Beach -- they will be very affected. And there will be 20 to 30 millimetres of rain, at least." "


Tom Brokaw explains Canada to Americans in this video:

Also in the news:

Cell Phone Use Can Increase Possible Cancer Risk.   On NBC News,  5/31/2011.

(CNN) -- "Radiation from cell phones can possibly cause cancer, according to the World Health Organization. The agency now lists mobile phone use in the same "carcinogenic hazard" category as lead, engine exhaust and chloroform.

The European Environmental Agency has pushed for more studies, saying cell phones could be as big a public health risk as smoking, asbestos and leaded gasoline. The head of a prominent cancer-research institute at the University of Pittsburgh sent a memo to all employees urging them to limit cell phone use because of a possible risk of cancer.

"When you look at cancer development -- particularly brain cancer -- it takes a long time to develop. I think it is a good idea to give the public some sort of warning that long-term exposure to radiation from your cell phone could possibly cause cancer," said Dr. Henry Lai, research professor in bioengineering at University of Washington who has studied radiation for more than 30 years.

Results from the largest international study on cell phones and cancer was released in 2010. It showed participants in the study who used a cell phone for 10 years or more had doubled the rate of brain glioma, a type of tumor. To date, there have been no long-term studies on the effects of cell phone usage among children.
"Children's skulls and scalps are thinner. So the radiation can penetrate deeper into the brain of children and young adults. Their cells are at a dividing faster rate, so the impact of radiation can be much larger." said Black of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

In February, a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health, revealed radiation emitted after just 50 minutes on a mobile phone increases the activity in brain cells. The effects of brain activity being artificially stimulated are still unknown."
More at: which is from:

More about this:
"The new report by Hebrew University states that your risk of getting a parotid tumor on the same side of your head that you use for listening to the mobile phone increases by:
  • 34 percent if you are a regular cell phone user and have used a mobile phone for 5 years (this was only borderline significant)
  • 58 percent if you had more than about 5,500 calls in your lifetime (statistically significant)
  • 49 percent if you have spoken on the phone for more than 266.3 hours during your lifetime (statistically significant)
Unfortunately, for now most people are in a state of ignorant bliss, assuming that cell phones must be safe since they're being used so extensively and there are no public health warnings about them.
The reality is, however, that even cell phone manufacturers do not advise using your cell phone the way you probably use it -- pressed up against your ear.
Many cell phones actually contain package inserts that warn you to hold the cell phone away from your head when in use. Apple recommends keeping your iPhone at least 5/8 of an inch from your head, while BlackBerry recommends about an inch.
And while few people know this, even fewer know that everyday household portable phones emit the same radiation as cell phones, and thus they, too, should be avoided for long calls or preferably only used for emergencies."
"Many are now suggesting that cell phones will be the cigarettes of the 21st century … and one day we will look back on all the photos of people, including children, walking around pressing these radiation-releasing devices directly to our heads and wonder what we were thinking."

Who is Most at Risk

"Children's brains are thinner and contain more fluid than adult brains, which means they can more readily absorb electricity. Mathematical models show that when children hold a mobile phone up to their ears, the brain surface they expose to radiation is more than double that of adults. Some countries, including Finland and Israel, have already issued warnings that children not use cell phones, and Maine recently passed an emergency bill mandating warning labels about children and cell phones.

5 Steps to Staying Safe
  1. Put it on speaker. Because your exposure drops exponentially as you move the phone away from your head, you don't have to keep the phone very far away to reduce your exposure by 1,000 to 10,000 times.
  2. Go wired. In crowded, noisy areas, use a wired headset instead. If you must use a wireless headset, turn it off when you're not using it.
  3. Store it. Unless you're on it, stow the phone in your purse or bag. If you keep it on your waist, keep it turned off. Studies have shown that keeping a cell phone in your pocket can decrease sperm count.
  4. Save it for a strong signal. When reception is bad (such as in a rural areas or when you're driving) use your phone for emergencies only. The weaker the signal, the more the radio frequency has to boost itself to get connected, increasing your exposure.
  5. Protect the kids. Do not let children use cell phones next to their heads. For older kids, it shouldn't take much encouragement to get them to text more than they chat."
More at:


"Apparently, nobody really knows if cellphones cause brain cancer, but I do believe that mobile devices are responsible for a new mental malady whose symptoms include general obliviousness, an inability to walk as quickly as the people behind you, thoughtlessness, partial catatonia, speaking obnoxiously loud and a willingness to share the intimate details of your life with strangers. Maybe iPolar disorder? "  
By Erik Jensen,


I had already heard about cell phones being bad for you if they are too close to your head, but I had also found out that it also applies to most cordless phones being too close to you too.  Not just when they are in use.  It is recommended that you don't have a cordless phone near your head, like beside the bed.

"Cordless Phone Radiation: Cordless phones are basically the same as cell phones. And what is really horrible is where a great proportion of people keep the base station which is always radiating 24 hours a day 7 days a week. The base station is where you put the handset and then you can walk away from that and talk and so that is transmitting the messages to the headset and it is receiving the transmissions from the handset. People put them next to the bed because they would like, if they get a phone call in the middle of the night, they prefer not to get up. So that means that you are in near proximity to the base station even though you are not using the headset all night long for 8 hours or 9 hours or 6 hours, whatever the amount of sleep you get, 7 days a week.
The worst possible place to put this base station is in your bedroom, in particular immediately next to your bed."     

Well, I had heard "no closer than three feet", and as I try to do things right, I had made some changes, by changing out my bedside cordless phone for a corded one.Texas Star over garage door.
Jay and I went into town to pay our water bills, so I stopped at the little grocery/hardware and bought some phone line cord couplers. 
When we got back, we hung the big Texas Star over my garage door.

Then Jay helped me move everything in my computer area, then we strung phone cords and added a long corded phone next to where I sit, with a splitter to my laptop, then another phone cord to the All-In-One, another back to the desktop computer, and another to a cordless phone on the other side of the room.  I have to be able to use Dial-Up when the cable and/or power goes out.  This time we made sure that all the connections are easy to get to, and sprayed each one with Contact Cleaner.
Jay couldn't believe how many wires it takes to make all this work, with a router in there, too.  We vacuumed and cleaned as we went.  Now, at least when I take or make a call on the corded phone, I can still reach the cordless one, if I have to move around.

The cordless phone that I carry around when we are working in the mornings, is my old favorite black phone as it fits a special pouch on my tool belt.  It is right next to my body, but I don't have to worry too much about it as it is an old 900 MHz.
"If you must use a cordless phone, use the older kind that operates at 900 MHz. They are not safer during calls, but at least many of them do not broadcast constantly even when no call is being made. Also, make sure there are at least three rooms between the base station (where the phone rests and recharges) and where you sleep and spend most of the time in the day."     

When I think of all the old 900 MHz phones that I have thrown away, as the batteries cost as much as a new phone these days!

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