Jul
24

The Latest: Wildfire north of Los Angeles growing

BBuI8wI. [downloaded with 1stBrowser]

© The Associated Press Smoke from a nearby wildfire looms over Los Angeles on Friday, July 22, 2016. Smoke drifted over the city’s downtown, about 30 miles from the fire’s location in Santa Clarita. It’s one of…

The latest:

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. — The Latest on California wildfires (all times local):

11:40 a.m.

A wildfire burning in the mountainous Angeles National Forest north of Los Angeles has grown to more than 17 square miles.

U.S. Forest Service spokesman Nathan Judy says the fire is only 10 percent contained Saturday.

Judy says the Wildlife Waystation, a private sanctuary for rescued exotic animals, is being evacuated.

The Wildlife Waystation has about 400 animals on 160 acres within the national forest.

Its Facebook page is appealing for flatbed and enclosed trucks as well as an air-conditioned warehouse to keep the animals cool.

___

10 a.m.

A forest fire burning near Big Sur on California’s scenic Central Coast has nearly doubled in size to almost 3 square miles.

The state forestry department says the blaze is a threat to 1,000 homes and the Monterey County community of Palo Colorado has been ordered evacuated.

The fire erupted Friday in almost inaccessible terrain 5 miles south of Garrapata State Park.

Another wildfire burning north of Los Angeles has grown to more than 8½ square miles and there’s zero containment.

___

8:50 a.m.

A wildfire burning in wilderness north of Los Angeles expanded significantly overnight to more than 8½ square miles.

Much of the sky over greater Los Angeles is filled with heavy smoke Saturday morning and ash has fallen in some areas.

Authorities have issued an advisory warning that air quality may reach unhealthy levels in central Los Angeles and adjacent valleys.

The fire erupted Friday afternoon in the Sand Canyon area near State Route 14 as the region was gripped by triple-digit heat and very low humidity levels. Some 300 homes have been ordered evacuated.

The blaze is being battled by 300 firefighters from Los Angeles County and the Angeles National Forest as well as a fleet of helicopters and airplanes.

Earlier story:

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. — California bore down Saturday against the continuing heat and wildfires that have forced the evacuations of hundreds of homes as red-flag warnings of extreme fire danger predicted gusty winds and scorching, dry air.

For a second day, triple-digit highs were forecast for many regions of Southern California.

On Friday, the Woodland Hills area of Los Angeles topped out at 111 degrees while Palm Springs recorded 115, and even San Diego and beaches hit the 80s.

It reached 106 in Santa Clarita, just north of Los Angeles, where a brushfire raged up tinder-dry ridges near State Route 14. As many as 400 homes and a recreational vehicle park were ordered evacuated.

“It just continues to move. It’s not slowing down,” Los Angeles County fire Inspector Joey Marron said late Friday night.

No homes had burned and the fire was heading southward into Angeles National Forest and away from densely populated areas north of it in Santa Clarita, which has about 180,000 residents.

“I got all my tenants out of the RV park and for the people that weren’t there and still have dogs, I broke into their trailers and got their dogs out,” Kurtis Bell, manager of River’s End RV Park, told KCAL-TV.

Driven by 20 mph winds, the afternoon fire quickly enveloped more than 5 square miles of brush near a freeway, State Route 14. Some lanes were shut and Metrolink train service in the area was halted.

Huge flames leapt on ridgetops and smoke could be seen miles away in downtown Los Angeles.

“You could see the fire (on) the top of that mountain, the tops of all these mountains, 20 feet up in the air,” Bell said. “It absolutely looked like the apocalypse.”

About 300 firefighters and a dozen aircraft fought the fire. As night fell, the flames were heading away from the more heavily populated areas of Santa Clarita, which has around 180,000 residents, toward the Angeles National Forest.

Nighttime images showed long glowing lines on the ridges, topped by soaring swaths of flames and walls of smoke.

In the steep, rugged canyons near the Central California coast, a fire near Big Sur in Monterey County burned nearly 1 ½ square miles of brush, grass and redwoods. Garrapata State Park south of Carmel was closed for the weekend.

It was heading toward the famously beautiful Big Sur forest and was expected to burn more fiercely at night as moist ocean air retreated and warm, dry air from inland began blowing toward the sea, state fire spokesman Jonathan Pangburn said.

No homes were immediately threatened in the sparsely populated area.

Jul
24

Here’s What Cholesterol Can Do To the Brain

BButHVR. [downloaded with 1stBrowser]

© PASIEKA/Science Photo Library/Getty Images undefinedThere’s growing evidence that the heart and brain are connected, since both rely on keeping the blood system healthy. Now, in a study published in the journal Circulation, researchers find that changes in levels of LDL cholesterol may be especially harmful to cognitive functions.

The scientists, led by Dr. Roelof Smit at Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands, studied 535 elderly people enrolled in a study involving a statin, a medication that lowers LDL cholesterol. Previous studies hinted that LDL levels influence stroke as well as heart disease risk, so Smit and his colleagues wanted to investigate whether they have an effect on cognitive functions like attention, information processing and memory. They only analyzed people who had been taking the statin for at least three months in order to avoid any bias caused by the sudden change in LDL levels by the drug, and compared them to people who didn’t take the drug.

People with the most variation in their LDL levels over the study’s 2.5-year follow up showed the lowest scores on the cognitive tests. They took nearly three seconds longer, for example, to name the correct color of ink when it was printed in a different color.

“These findings add to the emerging evidence that vascular [blood flow] factors are closely linked to neurocognitive function, and call for further research to disentangle the causality behind lipid variability,” he says.

BButHQi. [downloaded with 1stBrowser]

© Illustration by Sydney Rae Hass for TIME

The study could not isolate why people’s LDL levels fluctuated, but changes in diet and exercise could be important factors to consider. Changes in the body’s ability to maintain a proper balance of cholesterol levels could also be a factor, since with age, this equilibrium could be disrupted. The statin medications were unlikely to be a major contributor since they remained constant, says Smit.

Whatever the reason, the changes in LDL are worth studying further, since animal studies found that such fluctuations can influence how unstable plaques in the heart and brain are—and those in turn can contribute to heart attacks or stroke.

Jul
24

How Scientists Are Preparing for the First-Ever ‘All-American’ Eclipse

 9700   Sharesubmit to reddit
A child (L) watches a partial solar eclipse with a woman at the Sydney Observatory on May 10, 2013. Star-gazers were treated to an annular solar eclipse in remote areas of Australia with the Moon crossing in front of the Sun and blotting out much of its light. The annular eclipse, a phenomenal which occurs when the Moon is so close to the Earth that is cannot completely cover the Sun when it passes between it, was seen across a band across northern Australia, while places such as Sydney saw a partial eclipse. AFP PHOTO / Saeed KHAN        (Photo credit should read SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

A child (L) watches a partial solar eclipse with a woman at the Sydney Observatory on May 10, 2013. Star-gazers were treated to an annular solar eclipse in remote areas of Australia with the Moon crossing in front of the Sun and blotting out much of its light. The annular eclipse, a phenomenal which occurs when the Moon is so close to the Earth that is cannot completely cover the Sun when it passes between it, was seen across a band across northern Australia, while places such as Sydney saw a partial eclipse. 

Wear protective eye gear. Image credit: Saeed Khan/AFP/Getty Images

Preparations have already begun for what scientists are calling the Great American Eclipse of 2017. For the first time in American history, on August 21, 2017 the “path of totality” of a solar eclipse—that is, the path along which the Moon’s shadow transits—will run exclusively and entirely across U.S. soil in a 70-mile-wide line running from Oregon to South Carolina. Astronomers see it as an opportunity for new scientific observations and public engagement.

The last coast-to-coast solar eclipse over North America occurred in 1918. It followed a similar path as the 2017 eclipse, but because its path also brought it over Bermuda—then part of the British Empire, now a British territory—the United States couldn’t claim exclusivity. The 2017 eclipse won’t pass over Bermuda or any other territory. It is truly “all American.”

“The is the science Super Bowl,” said physicist Angela Des Jardins of the Montana Space Grant Consortium, who is leading an experiment in which 50 teams of students in 30 states will fly high-altitude balloons during the eclipse. Speaking on June 2 at the 47th annual conference of the Solar Physics Division of the American Astronomical Society in Boulder, Colorado, she described how the balloons will transmit to the Earth’s surface live video from the edge of space. Only once has an eclipse ever been observed from such a height—over Australia, in 2012—though coverage and images were then limited. “There’s never been live footage from the edge of space, and certainly not coverage across an entire continent,” she said. “It’s going to be awesome.”

Scientists anticipate filling other gaps in our understanding of the Sun as well. According to astronomer Shadia Habbal of the University of Hawaii, the eclipse will provide to scientists “unsurpassed views of the physics of the solar corona,” the halo of plasma surrounding the Sun that burns at 1,000,000 degrees Kelvin. During the eclipse, when the Sun is blotted out, instruments will be able to observe the intricate details of coronal structures, register the escape of material from the Sun, and capture plasma instabilities otherwise too faint to observe. “The solar corona is a rich astronomical laboratory we can observe in exquisite detail,” Habbal noted.

ENGAGING—AND EDUCATING—THE PUBLIC

In 2014, the National Science Foundation mounted a study that it repeats every few years, in which it tests scientific literacy by asking Americans whether the Earth goes around the Sun, or the Sun goes around Earth. This question was settled in the 17th century, but apparently word hasn’t yet reached everyone: 26 percent of the American public thinks the Sun orbits the Earth. (“We hope to decrease this percentage by a little bit,” said Des Jardins.) If for no other reason, then, scientists hope the eclipse will spur people to look up and consider the solar system, how it works, and our place in it.

Jay Pasachoff, a professor at Williams College and the astronomy equivalent of Indiana Jones, travels the world to study eclipses. He has observed 63 of them. He wants the public to travel to the path of totality and be active participants in the 2017 eclipse. “We want to let you know in advance that you will be missing some really wonderful stuff if you are not in the zone of totality on August 21,” he said at the conference. (Previously, he described witnessing an eclipse outside of the path “like going up to the ticket booth of a baseball or football stadium but not going inside.”)

Michael Zeiler, GreatAmericanEclipse.com

To view the eclipse for its maximum duration, observers will have to travel to Hopkinsville, Kentucky. There, the eclipse can be experienced for a full two minutes, 40 seconds, during which time it will become as “dark as night in the middle of the day,” according to Pasachoff. The town has been preparing for the event for several years, building accommodations for a large influx of visitors, who are expected to number in the hundreds of thousands. A dress rehearsal of sorts was held in June 2012, when thousands flocked there to view the transit of Venus.

There are other vantages along the continental path, however, that offer shorter viewings but unique experiences. In Kentucky alone, one can forego Hopkinsville and instead choose Bowling Green, where the totality of the eclipse will be shorter but the Sun’s reddishchromosphere will be more visible. Elsewhere in the country, many are expected to climb mountains and not only witness the eclipse above, but also look down and watch as the moon’s shadow crawls eerily across the ground below.

All of this, of course, depends on clear skies. “You can’t outrun the clouds, so hope for good weather,” said Pasachoff. But even if unfavorable weather obscures the event, there will still be a creepy darkening of the skies to be enjoyed. Meanwhile, NASA’s website, and others, will be broadcasting the event. In the worst-case scenario, the wait won’t be terribly long for the next solar eclipse—just seven years. On April 8, 2024, the path of totality of a solar eclipse will cross from Mexico to Newfoundland, passing over much of the central-eastern U.S. in the process.

Jul
23

Know How To Strengthen Your Relation With Allah This Ramadan

And then whilst surfing on facebook a post just strangled me in its words that were beautifully intertwined and intrinsically quoted in words. The words were depiction of pure love with our creator, which needs to be invigorated now and then. There are some special rituals and days when the mighty Lord is so close to us that we can in actually call onto Him and rely upon Him to pamper us in our worst days.

The post reads: Talk to Allah as if He is your best friend. When you see something amazing, even tough Allah sees it, quietly mention it to Him. When you are walking home from work, tell Him about your day. Tell him about your plans for the next day when you are lying in bed. Tell Him about the dream you had, when you want to eat for dinner, tell Him when you are stressed. Tell Him about your family, just talk to Him. You will grow closer to Him, it’ll be easier to turn to make Dua and it’ll be easier to turn to Him both In sadness and happiness.

Strengthen-ur-relation. [downloaded with 1stBrowser]

After scrutinizing this beautifully composed paragraph every Muslim wants to reinvigorate and rejuvenate his/her relation with Allah Almighty but it seemingly is not that easy as it needs significant amount of work out to make your relation strengthen with the merciful Lord of the universe. Ramadan is such a spiritual occasion to work and make the relation better to feel blessed. This month that is sacred in its own connotations, spiritual in its unwinding and precious in paramount deeds has every ingredient in it to make Allah yours this Ramadan 2016.

Necessary Deeds to Opt in Ramadan:

Need of a counselor? Having a bad day? In pure trouble and want someone to be with you to listen to you, to care for you and to make ways out for you then definitely you need to work on your relation with Allah so that He can be your best friend in moments of striving and days of sorrows. Ramadan is an Islamic month which is a name of sacrifice and atonement of sins to shunt all the bad things, to chain the inside beasts and to supplicate in order to recover the tormented relation with Allah Almighty.

Following are some of the divine tasks through which a Muslim can revive his/her relation with God of the universe, which includes the followings:

  • Follow the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH):

It is evident from the Quranic Ayah that says:

forgiving and merciful

“Say, [O Muhammad], “If you should love Allah, then follow me, [so] Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” [Quran 3:31]

Love for Muhammad (PBUH) is to have love for Allah and Love for Muhammad (PBUH)is to follow the Sunnah of His beloved Prophet by doing and adopting what he used to do to make Allah happy and to seek His mercy. Read His life biography and the books of Sunnah to analyze his life events and His daily practices that are the best depiction of his relation with Allah Almighty.

  • Constant Dhikar Towards Forgiveness:

Dhikar is to alleviate fikar and tension from our lives by the constant remembrance of Allah Almighty. Dhikar is to soothe our hearts, souls when anything happens that trashed us down, and we have nothing except to call onto Allah who is so clear to us more than the jugular vein.

close to jugular vein

“And We have already created man and know what his soul whispers to him, and We are closer to him than [his] jugular vein.” [ Quran 50:16]

Remember Allah when you want to achieve the highest level of closeness and the sole way is to do tasbeeh. Call Allah by His beautiful names, ask Him for forgiveness, say Astaghfar a lot, say Alhumdulialah on your every blessing bestowed upon you, say Subhan Allah to appreciate His nature and bounties.

concerning names

“And to Allah belong the best names, so invoke Him by them. And leave [the company of] those who practice deviation concerning His names.” [7:180]

Do worship in gathering so that you all be blessed:

“Whenever some people gather in one of Allah’s houses (mosques) to recite the book of Allah and study it among themselves – then calmness (tranquility) descends upon them, the angels surround them, mercy covers them, and Allah mentions them to those who are with Him.” [Sahih Muslim]

  • Do Frequent Dua:

Dua or supplication is the miracles that do wonders that is why it is called a way of easing one’s pain and sorrow by asking and handing them to Allah. In our life we are at time caught up in the hurdles and left hopeless enough that cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel. In such situations, making supplication remains the only way to ask Allah to help us by taking us out of these troubles.

Allah that is why have asked us to supplicate to Him regardless of time and occasion and Dua is not bound to these things rather depends on the intention with which you ask Allah to grant your wish. Ramadan is one such month when Allah grants all the wishes and asks His people to supplicate and do good deeds:

invocation of supplicant

“And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided.” [ Quran 2:186]

  • Kill the Inner Daemons:

Ramadan is the month when Satans are chained and the door to the hell fire is closed as Hadith states:

“When the month of Ramadan comes, the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of the (Hell) Fire are closed, and the devils are chained.” [Sahih Bukhari]

Daemons reside inside us hence Satan are not the only daemons that provoke your inner self to do the wrong doings. Make yourself strong enough to not be caught in the flickers of wrong doings that you inner self provoke you to do. Kill these daemons and opt the best so that Allah be pleased with you and you attain the highest level of piety.

Following are few of the ways through which you can achieve the strongest bond with Allah Recite Quran, act upon the teachings and you definitely will fall in love with the lord who loves you, care for you, and protect you. This Ramadan make a pledge in heart to reconsider your relation with Allah Almighty and make it a stronger one.

Jul
23

THE MOST FAMOUS ACTORS WHO HAVE TAPPED INTO BLOCKBUSTER FRANCHISES

AAhckV0. [downloaded with 1stBrowser]Film franchises gross billions of dollars each year, and draw in millions of viewers at the box office. They engage their audiences with spectacular effects and star-studded casts who play characters with richer backgrounds than your typical 90-minute flick. These actors and actresses deliver powerful performances and amass fans across the globe.

The celebrity experts at PrettyFamous, an entertainment research site part of the Graphiqnetwork, ranked the actors and actresses who have tapped into blockbuster franchises. Using data from Box Office Mojo and Gracenote, PrettyFamous found the actors in each film from the 15 highest-grossing franchises. Then they ranked each actor by their “Actor Score” which is based number of Wikipedia page views over the past 30 days, total number of award nominations, and total number of IMDb ratings for the movies and TV shows that they have been in. Actors and actresses who only appeared in one movie were excluded.

Note: Ties were awarded to the actor/actress with the most 30-day Wikipedia page views.

Jul
23

FDA Renews Call to Reduce Salt in Processed Foods

By cutting down on hidden sodium sources, agency hopes to reduce America’s overall intake

salt

FRIDAY, July 22, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Americans eat way too much salt, and one reason why is that processed and prepared foods have a lot of hidden salt, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says.

But proposed new guidelines for food manufacturers and restaurants — first announced early in June — may change that. The FDA is asking food makers and eating establishments to voluntarily reduce salt levels in their products to help reduce Americans’ high salt intake.

The draft guidelines target these sources of salt with the goal of reducing Americans’ average daily salt intake from 3,400 milligrams (mg) a day to 2,300 mg a day.

“It’s no easy task for consumers to consume the recommended amount of sodium in their diets,” Susan Mayne, director of FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, said in an agency news release.

“We want to help reduce the amount of sodium across the entire food supply by setting reasonable goals,” she said. “There are few interventions that could potentially have as great an overall benefit to public health.”

Too much salt in the diet can lead to high blood pressure, a leading cause of heart disease and stroke. Reducing salt in foods could prevent hundreds of thousands of premature deaths and illnesses over a decade in the United States, according to the FDA.

Currently, 90 percent of American adults consume more salt than recommended, the FDA pointed out. The problem is widespread in children and teens, too.

Foods that are often high in sodium include pizza, sandwiches, deli meats, pasta dishes, snacks, salad dressings, soups and cheese.

The public has until the fall to comment on the FDA’s voluntary salt guidelines for food manufacturers and restaurants.

“We know that many companies have already taken steps on their own to reduce sodium in certain foods, but our food supply is still too high in sodium,” Mayne said. “There is important work to be done. People will always have the choice to add salt to their foods. What they don’t have now is the choice to take it out.”

More information

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration explains how to reduce salt in your diet.

Jul
22

McDonald’s expands Gilroy Garlic Fries promotion in California

103807214-Gilroy-Fries-Expansion-header.160x105. [downloaded with 1stBrowser]

All-day breakfast isn’t the only popular menu item at McDonald’s.

The Golden Arches, which amped up its french fries in four locations in San Francisco in late April, will now offer “Gilroy Garlic Fries” at 240 McDonald’s restaurants in California.

The made-to-order fries are tossed with a puree mix of garlic, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, parsley and salt. The new offering sold out within the first two weeks of its initial promotion in San Francisco, causing a shortage in early May.

“McDonald’s has a long standing history of creativity and innovation. McDonald’s Gilroy Garlic Fries is a unique, regional offering that is tailored to Bay Area tastes,” Nick Vergis, president of the local franchisee division, said in a statement. “The innovation of this new menu item is due in large part to our local franchisees and their commitment to providing food our customers want.”

Participating restaurants in the Greater Bay Area are expected to begin selling Gilroy Garlic Fries around July 27, according to the company.