Unprecedented international tornado study begins

An international team of researchers are embarking on what has been described as the most ambitious tornado study in history.

An array of instruments will be deployed across the US Great Plains, where violent twisters are more common than anywhere else on the planet. It is hoped that the data gathered will improve tornado warnings and forecasts.

More than 100 scientists will be involved in the study, which will continue until the middle of June…

The study, Vortex2, will use a range of enhanced mobile radars and other weather-sensing equipment in order to build up a comprehensive picture of the zones where tornadoes develop.

Researchers say that rapidly changing contrasts in wind and temperatures in an area just a few miles across can spawn a tornado in a matter of minutes.

But, they added, only a small percentage of “supercell storms” generate twisters, and standard observing networks and radars struggle to pick up the atmospheric conditions that lead to the formation of a tornado…

The study area stretches from West Texas to south-west Minnesota, covering more than 900 miles.

The researchers will not have a fixed base, spending the entire six weeks on the road following outbreaks of severe weather.

Surrounded by pilots in this family, you know I had to get this post up for the weekend.

Though, frankly, as someone who used to live on the road – in later years in regions including part of Tornado Alley – I’m as interested as any of the usual weather geeks in the family.

Operation Cross Check nets almost 600 illegals with priors

Federal agents arrested 596 immigrants with criminal records during a three-day immigration enforcement sweep across the Southeast, authorities…described as their biggest operation yet.

The three-day sweep — dubbed Operation Cross Check by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials — was the largest the agency has ever conducted targeting foreign nationals convicted of crimes. The convicted criminals have already served their sentences and authorities will now work to deport them.

“As a result of the operation, communities around the Southeast are safer than they were before,” said Felicia Skinner, an ICE field director.

The sting involved nearly 400 federal and local law enforcement officers who sought out convicted criminals in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Puerto Rico.

Authorities say they didn’t single out a specific nationality — those arrested came from at least 60 nations in Latin America, Asia, Europe, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The immigrants will likely face immediate deportation or an immigration hearing, although at least 12 of those arrested during the surge may also be charged by prosecutors because of prior immigration arrest records. Those offenders could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted of felony re-entry.

The people nabbed in the sweeping sting had been convicted of a broad array of charges. Three of them were convicted murderers, 26 were sex offenders and more than 250 were convicted on drug charges. Authorities say they targeted convicted criminals because they are the most likely to re-offend.

Overdue.

Taiwan-China flight forced to land after bomb hoax

An airliner travelling from Taiwan to China made an emergency landing after a passenger jokingly claimed he had a bomb on board, officials say.

The Taipei-Shanghai flight of Taiwan’s China Airlines landed safely in Hangzhou, eastern China, and the passenger was held for questioning.

Police then checked the man’s luggage and found no explosives.

The man – identified only as Lin – later admitted he made the comment as a joke, the officials said.

China Airlines spokesman Bruce Chen said the passenger was travelling on a US passport, the Associated Press reports.

He did not appear to have been drinking excessively, the spokesman added.

So, uh, maybe he was just drinking “enough”?

Governor revises Arizona immigration law


Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

Gov. Jan Brewer on has signed a bill modifying Arizona’s controversial new immigration law, saying it will “make it crystal clear and undeniable that racial profiling is illegal.”

The governor’s signature on House Bill 2162 modifies a measure signed into law by Brewer last week that requires police to inquire about the immigration status of anyone they reasonably suspect to be in the country illegally. Barring a successful legal challenge, the law goes into effect July 29…

The bill also clarifies that law-enforcement officers shall inquire about the immigration status only of those they “stop, detain or arrest.” The earlier bill simply said “contact.” The change is designed to allay fears that officers would have to examine the papers of anyone they spoke to, including crime victims and witnesses.

These changes specifically answer legal questions raised by some who expressed fears that the original law would somehow allow or lead to racial profiling,” Brewer said in a statement.

To date, three lawsuits have been filed against the new immigration law, arguing that it is unconstitutional and will encourage racial profiling…

The dedication of the Arizona state legislature to anti-immigration measures has never been questioned. Along with their history of racism. Cloaking that bigotry in the Emperor’s New Clothes of supporting federal regulations was hurried enough that easy constitutional challenges were included. The new Bill removes the obvious factor of profiling.

Like many, I feel existing law is adequate – and what has always been required is enforcement. Most especially those penalizing employers using undocumentados as scabs to cut the wages and benefits of existing jobholders. There are whole industries in the United States – like meatpacking – where wages and benefits have been halved over the past couple of decades.

Counterfeit documents, identity theft – especially social security ID – all are verifiable with the cooperation of federal and state agencies. Which have done nothing to enforce existing laws. Mostly at the behest of corporations profiting from the wholesale importation of illegal migrant labor.

Substance in breast milk kills cancer cells

A substance found in breast milk can kill cancer cells, reveal studies carried out by researchers at Lund University and the University of Gothenburg.

Although the special substance, known as HAMLET (Human Alpha-lactalbumin Made LEthal to Tumour cells), was discovered in breast milk several years ago, it is only now that it has been possible to test it on humans. Patients with cancer of the bladder who were treated with the substance excreted dead cancer cells in their urine after each treatment, which has given rise to hopes that it can be developed into medication for cancer care in the future.

HAMLET was discovered by chance when researchers were studying the antibacterial properties of breast milk. Further studies showed that HAMLET comprises a protein and a fatty acid that are both found naturally in breast milk. So far, however, it has not been proven that the HAMLET complex is spontaneously formed in the milk. It is speculated, however, that HAMLET can form in the acidic environment of the babies´ stomachs.

Laboratory experiments have shown that HAMLET kills 40 different types of cancer, and the researchers are now going on to study its effect on skin cancer, tumours in the mucous membranes and brain tumours. Importantly, HAMLET kills only cancer cells and does not affect healthy cells.

Still have to get past a couple of researchers in Scandanavia who manage to come up with an acronym that spells HAMLET. 🙂

On the reality side of the page, this offers terrific potential in the battle against cancer.

“God told me to rob this bank!” Well, that changes everything…

A bank robber who placed a Walmart bag on his head before passing a note with his real name on it was held at gunpoint by a customer today until Palm Bay police arrived and arrested him.

Floyd Francis said in the note that he wanted to rob the bank without a weapon because “I am a son of God.” He wrote that he goes by the name YungSoulji and provided the address of his MySpace.com page. Later, at the Police Department, he said Jesus told him to “go get money this morning, today.”

“I am a black Muslim. I am a black Christian. I am a Black Rastafarian … Always smoke weed get high,” the holdup note reads, in part.

Francis, 23, went into Space Coast Credit Union, 152 Malabar Road, a little before 2 p.m. and put the bag on his head while in line, then took off the bag and handed a teller the bag and the note, police said.

The note instructed the teller to, “put di money innah di Bag.” The teller complied.

A customer who saw what was going on and has a concealed-weapons permit got a gun from his car, pointed it at Francis and ordered him to the ground…

What is there to say? Anyone dumb enough to believe all the crap he believes – should commit the dumbest crime of the week?

Italian police charged with stealing stolen food


They do everything with style in Naples

Eleven Naples police officers were arrested Friday on charges of stealing about a ton of food from a hijacked truck, authorities said.

The Italian news agency ANSA reported Deputy Police Chief Pasquale Toscano, the head of the Naples flying squad, and 10 other officers are suspected of filing a false report after catching the truck and arresting its five hijackers.

Toscano will be replaced and the 70-member squad reorganized, Naples Chief Prosecutor Giovandomenico Lepore told reporters.

The rotten apples have been found and eliminated,” Lepore said. “Certain things cannot be allowed, at any level.”

Har! [Yes – a hollow laugh]