HAMNET REPORT 1ST DECEMBER 2019
Let me start the bulletin this week, by congratulating Grant Southey ZS1GS on his recent appointment as temporary National Director of HAMNET, after the retirement by Glynn Chamberlain due to pressure of work. Grant is a worthy successor to Glynn, and we hope he fits in so well, that his appointment becomes permanent.
At the same time, may I welcome Michael Taylor ZS1MJT as newly appointed Regional Director for HAMNET in the Western Cape? Michael comes with a lot of experience in organizational skills, particularly in motor sports events, and also a very practical approach to all situations. His skills in “making a plan” are phenomenal, so we trust he will guide HAMNET WCP to greater heights, as we respond to the requests for assistance in the Western Cape.
Now for some bad news. I’m sorry to have to tell you that Lewis, the Koala, badly burned in an Australian bush fire, did not recover from his burns. He had been taken to an animal hospital last week after a woman plucked him from a tree in burning bushland in New South Wales.
Video of the rescue, which shows Toni Doherty using her shirt to wrap up the koala, was viewed globally. Vets said the marsupial was sadly put down because his burns were not improving.
“[Our] number one goal is animal welfare, so it was on those grounds that this decision was made,” said Port Macquarie Koala Hospital.
The 14-year-old Koala had significant burns to its chest, feet and other parts of its body, vets said.
The hospital has treated dozens of koalas injured from the bushfires which have burnt through more than a million hectares in New South Wales alone.
Our respects go to Lewis, and to the vets who tried their best to save him.
The Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS) has reported a red alert for a Tropical Cyclone, named KAMMURI-19, about 2 days due East of the central parts of the Philippines, expected to hit the East Coast at about 02h00 our time on Tuesday. There is a fairly wide range of uncertainty over precisely where it will hit the mainland, but some 28 million people are within that trajectory of the 120 kph wind zone. The path calls for it to cross directly from East to West across the Central parts of the country, hopefully losing strength as it crosses the land.
Please be mindful of emergency comms traffic on 20, 40 and 80 metres, if you are working these frequencies.
ScienceNews reports that Ultima Thule is no more. The remote solar system body visited in January by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft now has a proper name: Arrokoth.
The word means “sky” in the language of the Powhatan people, a Native American tribe indigenous to Maryland. The state is home to New Horizons mission control at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel.
NASA announced the name change on November 12, with the consent of Powhatan tribal elders and the International Astronomical Union, the organization of astronomers who, in part, oversee celestial naming conventions.
Arrokoth (pronounced AR-uh-koth), a flattened two-lobed body in the Kuiper Belt of icy worlds beyond Neptune, has been through a couple of names already. Up until now, its official designation had been 2014 MU69. In March 2018, the team landed on the nickname Ultima Thule, a Latin phrase that signifies a place beyond the known world.
“[Ultima Thule] was, as we said, always a placeholder we would discard once we did the flyby,” Stern says. The New Horizons spacecraft — originally sent to check out Pluto and its retinue of moons — is still transmitting data from its January 1 flyby of Arrokoth and will continue to do so for at least another year, Stern says. By then, the team will have begun hunting for a possible third target, a search they can’t start until Earth gets to the other side of the sun next summer and New Horizons once again becomes visible at night to telescopes.
ScienceNews also notes that, for the first time, a chemical potentially responsible for widespread vaping-related lung injuries and deaths in the United States has been found in lung fluid from patients.
Researchers detected vitamin E acetate, widely used as a dietary supplement, in every sample of lung fluid collected from 29 patients suffering from the severe illness, health officials announced in a news briefing and a report. Vitamin E acetate is also an ingredient in some skin care products but could be toxic when inhaled.
“We are in a better place than we were two weeks ago, in terms of having one very strong culprit of concern,” said Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. “We still have more to learn.”
CDC researchers obtained broncho-alveolar lavage fluid, a sample that contains fluid from the lining of the lungs, from health care workers caring for patients with the injuries, called e-cigarette or vaping-associated lung injury, or EVALI. Twenty-nine patients from 10 states provided the specimens. Vitamin E acetate was the only chemical detected in all of the fluid samples, CDC researchers reported online November 8 in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Vitamin E acetate was previously identified by health officials in some vaping products used by patients
Vitamin E acetate is used as a diluting and thickening ingredient in vaping products that contain tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Most EVALI patients have reported using vaping products containing THC; some also used nicotine-containing products. Although vitamin E acetate is considered safe when used in skin creams and as a dietary supplement, research indicates that it could be harmful when inhaled.
The researchers also tested for, but did not detect, other chemical additives that are used as diluting ingredients, such as plant and mineral oils.
Schuchat called the findings a “breakthrough,” but said that more work needs to be done to understand how vitamin E acetate is harming the lungs. And it’s still possible that more than one ingredient could be responsible, she said.
By the 5th November, 2,051 patients with EVALI had been reported in all states except Alaska, and 39 people had died.
Thanks to ScienceNews for these reports.
This is Dave Reece ZS1DFR reporting for HAMNET in South Africa.