Archive for June 13, 2008

China Also Suffering from Torrential Rains

BEIJING, June 13 (Xinhua) — A dozen people were killed and millions were affected as rainstorms continued to lash south China over the past two days, local authorities said on Friday.

Torrential rains also destroyed more than 10,000 houses, disrupted traffic and caused landslides in the provinces of Jiangxi, Hunan, Hubei and Anhui, Guangdong, as well as Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

Precipitation exceeded 300 mm in several counties and 250 mm in more than 20 during the last two days in Guangxi and Hunan.

Five people were killed in landslides and house collapses in Guangxi. More than 1.58 million were affected as of Friday morning.

Read Xinhuanet for more on this story, as well as pictures.

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6.9 Earthquake in Eastern Honshu, Japan

According to the U.S.G.S. Haven’t heard anything, so assume there have been no injuries.

According to Xinhuanet.com:

TOKYO, June 14 (Xinhua) — A 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck northeastern Japan on Saturday, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

The quake, which hit at 8:43 a.m. (2343 GMT Friday), was centered in the northern prefecture of Iwate, the agency said.

I understand from various news reports that the earthquake has been revised upwards to a 7.0 or a 7.2 (depending on which country’s news reports I read) and the death toll now stands anywhere from 2 to 6, again depending on the country.

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Sumitomo Electric Equips Electric Car with Superconducting Motor

I don’t know whether it works well or not, of course. You can read the whole article here. Otherwise, here’s the gist:

In a standard electric vehicle motor, the coil is supplied with a slightly lower current and a slightly higher voltage to reduce electric resistance. However, it is difficult to generate a higher torque with a lower current.

As no resistance is applied to the superconducting coil, it results in a higher current with fewer turns and a lower voltage, thus resulting in a higher torque. While the latest electric vehicle was prototyped based on a passenger car, the company also plans to consider utilizing the superconducting motor in larger vehicles such as buses and trucks.

A superconducting magnet can be used in both the stator and the rotator. The released photos show that there is nothing sealing the coolant piping to the rotator. Thus, it is likely that the superconducting coil itself is being used as the stator.

I would certainly like to be able to drive a vehicle without sacrificing safety, room for a passel of grandkids along with their accoutrements, be able to haul some lumber, and all without enriching some dictator that in my view would be better off dead.

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Muslim Doctors Open Free Clinic in Brooksville

BROOKSVILLE — It was about to rain Monday afternoon, and Dr. Husam Zarad had an exam table to move.

With some help from deliverer Don Lambert, the 45-year-old internist unloaded the table from the back of Lambert’s pickup as the clouds darkened overhead. Wheeling it on a dolly, they maneuvered the large brown rectangle down a long, narrow hall and into one of the examination rooms at the soon-to-open Crescent Community Clinic of Hernando County.

On the way in, they passed a stack of gray waiting-room chairs and diagrams of the human body — detailed sketches of the nervous system and the brain — yet to be hung on the freshly painted peach-colored walls.

“This is our dream coming true,” Zarad said, wiping sweat from his brow after angling the table into the room. “This is how we are going to give back to our community.”

In the coming weeks, Zarad and nearly 40 other Muslim doctors in Hernando County will begin working on Saturdays in their new space in the Brook Plaza at Broad Street and Ponce de Leon Boulevard, just outside downtown Brooksville. Their goal is to provide free care to the growing number of underserved and uninsured people in Hernando County.

Today, the doctors and clinic spokesman Ahmed Bedier are expected to announce the opening of the clinic, financed solely by physicians from Hernando’s Muslim community.

Source and the rest of the article at TampaBay.com

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Accused Murderer Toby Lowry Attempts Suicide

PALATKA, Fla. — A 22-year-old man awaiting trial on a charge of murder tried to commit suicide Friday morning by attempting to hang himself with a bed sheet, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office said.

Toby Lowry was found hanging in his cell at 9:45 a.m. and transported to Putnam County Medical Center for evaluation, where deputies said he was under heavy guard.

Putnam County Maj. Keith Riddick said Lowry was conscious and alert, talking and crying when the ambulance arrived. Once he is medically cleared, he will be returned to jail and placed in isolation and under constant supervision pending an examination by a contracted mental-health professional.

Lowry and 15-year-old Morgan Leppert are accused of killing a Melrose man before fleeing the state in the victim’s pickup truck. Both are accused of first-degree murder.

James Stewart, 66, was found dead in his Melrose home on May 1. Authorities said he was beaten, stabbed and suffocated.

Leppert, who was the focus of a nationwide Amber Alert after she disappeared with Lowry, appeared in court for the first time on Wednesday.

A hearing was scheduled in Lowry’s case on Thursday, but prosecutors told Channel 4 that the defendant waived his appearance.

Lowry is facing charges of first-degree murder, auto theft, interference with custody and panhandling. He could face the death penalty if convicted.

Leppert is also charged with first-degree murder and auto theft. Because of her age, she would not face a death penalty if convicted.

Source: News4Jax

Additional story at First Coast News.

There is no question of his guilt, and he will spend the rest of his life in prison until death or execution. Looks like he chose and was denied death.

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Florida’s Governor Orders Another 4% Reduction in State Spending

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Charlie Crist ordered all state agencies Thursday to reduce spending by 4 percent in the coming fiscal year, just a day after signing an already pared down state budget.

State economists say the action — the second holdback in less than 12 months — is necessary because high food and gas prices are prompting consumers to spend less. They now project lower sales tax collections in the coming fiscal year.

If Crist’s order stands all year, agencies will have cut spending by roughly $1-billion out of the $25-billion operating budget.

“I believe it (this move) says that this administration believes in being prudent,” Crist said Thursday night before a speech before the state Republican Party near Orlando.

The holdback means public schools, universities, community colleges, judges, prosecutors, public defenders and others — already bracing for the smallest state budget in three years — will have to get by with less.

Starting July 1, each agency’s quarterly disbursement will shrink.

“It’s awful. They just can’t keep doing this,” said Pinellas-Pasco Public Defender Bob Dillinger. “I laid 10 people off last week and didn’t fill another 10 empty spots.”

Crist’s order comes just one day after signing the 2008-09 budget in which he sent no signal of his plan. In fact, he vetoed just $1-million in projects, far less than the $459-million he vetoed a year before.

Source: TampaBay.com

A lot of municipalities are screaming that they want increased taxes, but the taxpayers are having a difficult time meeting their mortgages, paying for food, electricity, and filling up their tanks.

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Things You May Not Have Known About Florida Agriculture

Overview of Florida Agriculture

In 2005, Florida had 42,500 commercial farms, utilizing 10 million acres to continue to produce a variety of food products.

Florida ranked first in the United States for sales of snap beans, fresh market tomatoes, cucumbers for fresh market, cucumbers for pickles, bell peppers, squash and watermelons.

Florida also ranked first in the United States in the value of production of oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, and sugarcane for sugar and seed.

Florida ranked second in the United States in sales of greenhouse and nursery products, sweet corn and strawberries.

Florida ranked fourth in value of production of honey.

In 2005 Florida accounted for:
— 56 percent of the total U.S. value of production for oranges ($843 million)
— 52 percent of the total U.S. value of production for grapefruit ($208 million)
— 53 percent of the total U.S. value of production for tangerines ($68.4 million)
— 53 percent of the total U.S. value of production for sugarcane for sugar and seed ($433 million as of 2004)
— 49 percent of the total U.S. value of sales for fresh market tomatoes ($805 million)
— 44 percent of the total U.S. value of sales for bell peppers ($213 million)
— 31 percent of the total U.S. value of sales for cucumbers for fresh market ($73.7 million)
— 31 percent of the total U.S. value of sales for watermelons ($127 million)

Source: Florida Agriculture.com

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