The supervolcano under Yellowstone should make you worried

By Joel Achenbach | Washington Post

Yellowstone National Park sits squarely over a giant, active volcano. This requires attention.

Yellowstone has been a national park since 1872, but it was only in the 1960s that scientists realized the scale of the volcano – it’s 44 miles across – and not until the 1980s did they grasp that this thing is fully alive and still threatens to erupt catastrophically. Yellowstone is capable of eruptions thousands of times more violent than the Mount St. Helens eruption of 1980. The northern Rockies would be buried in multiple feet of ash. Ash would rain on almost everyone in the United States. It’d be a bad day. Thus geologists are eager to understand what, exactly, is happening below all those volcano-fueled hot springs and geysers.

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Obviously they’d like to know if and when Yellowstone will blow again, and with what level of explosiveness. A major eruption would be a low-probability, high-consequence event, a proverbial Black Swan, something that could have societal and planetary effects. The problem for scientists is that these big “supervolcano” eruptions rarely happen, and the most important action is out of sight, many miles below the surface, involving chaotic forces, complex chemistry and enigmatic geological features.

One new study has offered insight on Yellowstone’s hidden architecture. It modeled the way magma rises from deep in the Earth’s interior and creates two large chambers of partially melted rock beneath the surface of the national park.

These two magma chambers are stacked, and separated by a layer (called a “sill,” like a window sill) of non-melted rock. The magma rising from the Earth’s mantle flows easily and doesn’t hold much gas. It cools …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Nation, World

      

‘Sully’ was simply a hero, period. Why label the Southwest captain a ‘female pilot’?

By Beverly Weintraub | Special to The Washington Post

A feeling of pride swept through the small community of female pilots Wednesday as word spread that the captain who had safely landed Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 after an engine blew out in midair the day before was a woman. But disappointment tempered that sentiment. Virtually all news coverage of the incident put the word “female” before “pilot.” As a private pilot, aircraft owner and airplane racer, I shared both the pride and the disappointment.

Why not call the hero captain simply a pilot? Was Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger — to whom Capt. Tammie Jo Shults was aptly compared — referred to as a “male pilot” after landing US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River?

And why the surprise that a former Navy fighter pilot and seasoned airline captain, as Shults is, could handle an emergency situation calmly and competently?

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Part of it could be the numbers: In 1960, there were 25 female air transport pilots — licensed to fly for the airlines — in the United States; in 2016, there were 6,888, a huge increase, but still only 4.4 percent of the U.S. airline pilot population. Overall, of nearly 600,000 pilots licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration, approximately 39,000 are women. That’s around 6 percent, and that proportion has held steady for decades.

But lack of exposure goes only so far as an explanation. Women have been flying for more than a century, and flying professionally for nearly as long: first for airplane manufacturers and in airshows, then for the airlines, the military and the space program. The first licensed female pilot in the United States, Harriet Quimby, received …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Nation, World

      

Family with 13 sons welcomes Baby No. 14

Brothers Francisco, 2, Tucker, 4, Luke, 6, Charlie, 8, Gabe, 11, Wesley, 9, Calvin, 13, Drew, 20, Tommy, 16, Zach, 22, Vinny, 15, and Ty Schwandt, 25. The only brother not pictured is Brandon, 18. (Casey Sykes /The Grand Rapids Press via AP)

Brothers Francisco, 2, Tucker, 4, Luke, 6, Charlie, 8, Gabe, 11, Wesley, 9, Calvin, 13, Drew, 20, Tommy, 16, Zach, 22, Vinny, 15, and Ty Schwandt, 25. The only brother not pictured is Brandon, 18. (Casey Sykes /The Grand Rapids Press via AP) The Grand Rapids Press via AP

ROCKFORD, Mich. (AP) — There will be no shortage of hand-me-downs for this Michigan kid.

The Grand Rapids Press reports that Kateri and Jay Schwandt welcomed the birth of their 14th son on Wednesday, five days before he was due. They have no daughters.

WOOD-TV reports that the boy weighs 8 pounds, 4 ounces and is 21 inches long. His name wasn’t immediately announced.

As with their last few children, the couple from Rockford, north of Grand Rapids, didn’t want to know the baby’s sex ahead of time. Jay Schwandt said earlier this year that he would have loved to have a girl, but didn’t think would be in the cards. He was right.

Kateri Schwandt has said she’s used to large families, as one of 14 children herself.

The older brothers range in age from 2 to 25. The eldest was born when the Schwandts were students at Ferris State University.

Their names: Tyler, Zach, Drew, Brandon, Tommy, Vinnie, Calvin, Gabe, Wesley, Charlie, Luke, Tucker and Francisco.

…read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Nation, World

      

Two Florida sheriff’s deputies shot to death through restaurant window

Keith McMillan, Mark Berman | The Washington Post

Two Florida sheriff’s deputies were shot and killed while eating in a restaurant Thursday afternoon by an attacker found dead outside shortly after, police said.

Authorities said they did not immediately have a motivation for the sudden, shocking burst of violence in Gilchrist County, Florida, a small community in northern Florida about 40 miles west of Gainesville.

“I don’t have answers to why this happened,” Gilchrist County Sherifff Robert Schultz said at a news briefing.

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Schultz identified the slain officers as Sgt. Noel Ramirez, 30, a seven-year law enforcement veteran, and Deputy Taylor Lindsey, 25, a three-year law law enforcement veteran. Schultz said Ramirez had children and was married, while Lindsey was not married but had a girlfriend.

The two were “the best of the best,” Schultz said. “They’re men of integrity. They’re men of loyalty. They’re God-fearing. And they loved what they did. And we’re very proud of them.”

According to the sheriff’s office, they were eating inside the Ace China restaurant in Trenton, Florida, around 3 p.m. when “a suspect walked up to [the] business and shot both deputies through the window.”

When other deputies responded to the restaurant, they found the shooter dead outside. Schultz did not say how the attacker died, only calling the person a “coward.” The sheriff also said authorities believe this person acted alone.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the shooting, Schultz said. A spokesperson for the department did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday evening.

While acknowledging that officials did not yet know a motivation for the shooting, Schultz on Thursday evening alluded to tensions that have emerged in recent years …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Nation, World

      

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