Journey Through North Carolina – Part 13 ~ By Tom and Audrey ~ — “USA Through Our Eyes”

Hello and welcome to part 13 of our journey through North Carolina. While walking around the Down by the River campground in a light rain, we started talking with a guy that was washing his camper as it rained. He said it was perfect weather for washing the bugs off and letting nature rinse it […]

via Journey Through North Carolina – Part 13 ~ By Tom and Audrey ~ — “USA Through Our Eyes”


Total solar eclipse: US braces for rare astronomical event

Good Morning AmericaAugust 21, 2017

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From Oregon to South Carolina, a total solar eclipse on Monday will darken the sky as it arcs across the contiguous United States.

A total solar eclipse is when the moon moves between the sun and Earth, an occurrence that lasts up to three hours from beginning to end. Monday’s total solar eclipse is particularly rare because it’s the first time in 99 years that the path of totality exclusively crosses the continental United States from coast to coast. It’s also the first continent-wide eclipse to be visible only from the United States since 1776.

The last time the contiguous United States saw a total solar eclipse was Feb. 26, 1979, when the path of totality crossed the Pacific Northwest. ABC News’ Frank Reynolds anchored a special report on the celestial phenomenon at the time and pledged that the network would cover the next total solar eclipse in 2017.

“So that’s it — the last solar eclipse to be seen on this continent in this century. And as I said not until Aug. 21, 2017, will another eclipse be visible from North America. That’s 38 years from now. May the shadow of the moon fall on a world in peace. ABC News, of course, will bring you a complete report on that next eclipse 38 years from now,” Reynolds said before signing off.

On Monday, starting at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET, ABC News’ David Muir will lead the network’s live coverage of the astronomical event from within the path of totality.

PHOTO: A total solar eclipse, which is when the moon completely covers the sun, will occur across 14 states in the continental U.S. on Aug 21, 2017. (NASA)
PHOTO: A total solar eclipse, which is when the moon completely covers the sun, will occur across 14 states in the continental U.S. on Aug 21, 2017. (NASA)

You must be in the path of totality to witness a total solar eclipse. NASA estimates more than 300 million people in the United States could potentially view the total solar eclipse in its entirety.

However, a partial solar eclipse will be visible in every U.S. state. In fact, everyone in North America, as well as parts of South America, Africa and Europe, will see at least a partial eclipse, according to NASA.

The path of totality for the Aug. 21 solar eclipse is a 70-mile-wide ribbon that will cross the United States from west to east, sweeping over portions of 14 U.S. states: Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

The moon’s shadow will start to eclipse the sun over the West Coast just after 9 a.m. PT. From there, the moon’s shadow will speed across the country and leave the East Coast just after 4 p.m. ET.

The exact times for partial and total phases of Monday’s eclipse vary depending on your location.

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With millions of people expected to pour into the select U.S. cities located within the path of totality, law enforcement, emergency personnel and hospitals there are on high alert.

“It’s all hands on deck,” Kentucky’s Madisonville Police Chief Wade Williams told ABC News. “We’re kind of throwing everything at it.”

The state of Oregon alone is anticipating a million visitors Monday, causing some local hospitals to cancel elective surgeries and call in extra help for the emergency rooms. Some cities even preemptively declared a state of disaster, a move that allows them to call in the National Guard to help direct the large crowds if needed.

“If a police department in a certain area is overwhelmed and they need us to help come and set up traffic control check points, we’re ready to do that,” Oregon National Guard spokesperson Leslie Reed told ABC News.

More than than 17,000 cars and SUVs have already been rented for Monday at Oregon’s Portland International Airport, a number it normally hits over an entire week.

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The eclipse track crosses into Zambia at Chavuma Falls, passing north of the city of Zambezi. From here it heads east southeastward across Kafue National Park to pass 40 km north of the capital of Lusaka, the only major city to lie within totality. East of Lusaka, the umbral path reaches the Zambezi River again, passing just to the north of Lake Kariba to cross into Zimbabwe.

Access to the center line is relatively easy in Zambia. The highway from Lusaka west to Mongu (M9) stays within the umbral shadow for over 300 km, though well to the south of the centerline. This route is described as being in “protracted repair” by one guide book, but is the main route to Kafue National Park and the western half of the country. Two other highways head north from Lusaka to cross the centerline in two places. Landless Corner, 69 km north of the capital, lies just beyond the middle of the shadow path on the Great North Road. To the northeast, the Great East Road to Chipata, one of the best in the country, crosses the centerline at about 60 km distance.

Zambia has a number of safari settings for the eclipse, particularly at Kafue National Park in the northwestern part of the country. This park is one of the largest in Africa, swampy in the wet season but offering some of the best weather along the track in June. The Kafue Park gate is easy to reach from Lusake, 279 km to the east, but the centerline lies a further hundred km to the north of the gate and must be traveled on softer roads within the park. Even though it is the dry season, 4-wheel drive vehicles may be necessary to reach the shadow axis by this route.

There are over 70 different tribes in Zambia, but one has a special association with eclipses. Originally from South Africa, the Ngoni migrated into eastern Zambia (and into Zimbabwe) around 1830 to escape the Great Shaka Zulu. A solar eclipse and a great celebration marked the day they crossed the Zambezi to their new homeland. This eclipse and the one in 2002 which also touches Zambia and Zimbabwe will likely provide opportunity for further celebration.

Winter months in Zambia are virtually rainless. The circulation associated with the anticyclones to the south dries the mid levels of the atmosphere and suppresses any tendency to form rain-bearing clouds. The southeast trade winds, blowing first across Madagascar and then Mozambique, carry little moisture into the mid-continent in June, blocked in large part by the Eastern Highlands.

The most important source of cloudiness in Zambia in June comes in association with the passage of a succession of highs and lows across South Africa at intervals of a few days. Passage of a high pressure cell results in a flow of cold air from the south that is restricted in its inland motion by the Drakensberg Mountains in South Africa and the Eastern Highlands in Zimbabwe. The cold air finds an opening into the continent along the Limpopo River, and less commonly, along the Zambezi. This air has a high relative humidity and as it rises along the slopes of the Eastern Highlands and the Zambezi Escarpment, pushed by easterly winds, it quickly turns into an extensive broken stratiform cloudiness. Much of the impact of this cloudiness is felt over the lowlands of Mozambique and eastern Zimbabwe, but the continuing push of the winds frequently forces the cloud deep into the Limpopo and Zambezi valleys.

This pattern of cloudiness is known locally as a guti; its counterpart in Malawi is the chiperoni. The cool southerly winds, cloudiness, and drizzle can bring an abrupt change to the normally sunny and dry weather. These invasions of cold air occur year round, at about weekly intervals, but in Zambia, well inland from the Mozambique Channel, the incidence of cloudiness is much reduced (Figure 13) and the cloud cover tends to be more scattered than at lower elevations in the Zambezi Valley. It is uncommon for the guti to have an influence beyond a line from Lusaka to Mpika, along the Great North Road. In the graphs of Figure 13 the effect can be seen by comparing the cloudiness in “Lusaka to Kafue Park” with “Lusaka to the Zimbabwe Border”. The effect of the guti can also be seen in the sunshine statistics in Table 17.

Moisture that travels inland from the south, following the Limpopo River, is unlikely to make it as far north as the eclipse track. The sunshine statistics for Livingstone, Victoria Falls and Bulawayo speak to the efficiency of the blocking caused by the Eastern Highlands.

A guti usually doesn’t persist for more than a day in the vicinity of Lusaka, breaking up quickly as it moves onto the plateau. A high sun and generally drier surrounding conditions soon change the stratiform cloud into cumuliform types that mix with the air of the plateau and dissipate. Satellite images from 1998 show that patchy cloudiness associated with a guti, cloud that might affect observations of the eclipse, was observed in the Lusaka-Zambezi area on seven occasions in the 35 days of observation (Figure 13). Twenty-eight days were clear or had only scattered cloud and would not have interfered with a view of the Sun.

Of the seven critical days, three had scattered to broken cloud that would likely disappear between first and second contact, though some movement might be necessary to avoid the larger patches. The remaining four days would have required more definite movement, perhaps a hundred kilometers to the west, though on two of these occasions a patch of cloud drifted west almost to Kafue National Park.

On days that will tend to be cloudy, the morning often greets the sunrise with a heavy cloud cover, sometimes overcast. As the sun rises, the cloud will dissipate, being relatively thin and at a high level so that it mixes readily with drier atmospheric layers. The improvement doesn’t last however, as a little more heating brings the onset of cumulus cloudiness, encouraged by the invisible but still-present moisture which formerly fed the dawn cloudiness. Thus we have a very characteristic pattern of morning cloud, promising mid-morning clearing, and then a return to noontime cloudiness again.

If the morning cloud burns off quickly and the resulting noontime cumulus clouds are widely dispersed, then the cooling associated with the arrival of the shadow is most likely to dissipate the small amount of cloud and bring a successful eclipse. If the noon clouds are heavy and return the sky to an near-overcast condition, then the eclipse is in danger. Such skies are likely to be reluctant to clear as the shadow approaches, and instead settle into a stratiform layer that will obscure much of the spectacle. Even in this case the whole event may not be lost, as central African cloud layers are typically very thin in this season and the inner parts of the corona and the prominences may be quite visible. Nevertheless, a heavy cumulus cloudiness at noon is a sign that alternative plans should be readied for use.

Viewing locations along the Great East Road, which runs parallel to and about 50 km west of the Zambezi, are most at risk. Selecting a backup site along the Great North Road (though Zambezi cloudiness can reach this area as well) would be a good idea for those planning to choose locations east of Lusaka. Fortunately, the approach of cloud along the Zambezi River can often be seen a day or two ahead from satellite imagery.

As in Angola, one element that will likely affect the view of the eclipse is the extensive haziness that overlies the interior plateau in the winter months (Table 17, Figure 12). This haziness is man-made, the consequence of an extensive burning of the veldt that begins in earnest in June and reaches its worst in September or October. Much of the burning occurs in the grasslands north of the eclipse track and occasionally visibilities may be reduced below 5 km. The haze is thickest in the morning hours and disperses through the lower atmosphere during the day. While unlikely to have a major impact on the view of the eclipse, it could reduce the visibility of the fainter parts of the outer corona.

Temperatures on the Zambia-Zimbabwe plateau are pleasant but cool in June, with daytime highs generally in the low to mid twenties and morning lows between 5 and 10 degrees. The dry air and generally cloudless skies should bring a significant drop in ground temperatures during the eclipse especially on the plateau west of Lusaka. Occasional winter cold outbreaks come overland from Botswana and arrive in Zambia and Zimbabwe with dew points well below zero. This dry air brings no cloudiness with it, but nighttime temperatures can fall below the freezing mark in southern parts and below the 5° mark near the eclipse track.

Blue Bar

Adapted from NASA TP 1999-209484 “Total Solar Eclipse of 2001 June 21”Permission is freely granted to reproduce this information and data when accompanied by an acknowledgment of the source:


CYBERGEDDON10 US Navy sailors missing after destroyer collides with merchant ship

Story highlights

  •  US Navy reports flooding in destroyer’s berthing compartments
  • US warships have been involved in 4 incidents this year, one fatal
  • Ship equipped with missile system that would be key to counter North Korea

(CNN)Ten US Navy sailors are missing after a US Navy guided-missile destroyer collided with an oil tanker east of Singapore early Monday, the fourth accident in Asian waters involving a US warship in 2017.

The Navy’s 7th Fleet said the USS John S. McCain collided with the merchant vessel Alnic MC while the destroyer was making its way to a port visit in Singapore. The collision was reported at 5:24 am local time, east of the Malacca Strait, one of the world’s most congested shipping routes.
The Navy reported significant hull damage to the McCain, saying there was flooding in berthing compartments as well as machinery and communication rooms.

Pacific naval impact

The collision comes at a time of high tensions in the Pacific.
The McCain is equipped with the Aegis missile defense system, which has been touted as a possible counter to any North Korean missile launch.
A US 7th Fleet spokesman said Monday the McCain is one of 14 Aegis-equipped ships the Navy has forward-deployed to Japan and it plans to add another next year. In total, the US Navy has 84 vessels equipped with the Aegis system.
Cmdr. Clay Doss said the US has a mixture of ships and aircraft available to cover all missions even without the McCain or USS Fitzgerald, the McCain’s sister ship that was damaged in a June collision.
The McCain’s last high-profile mission was earlier this month, when it performed a freedom-of-navigation exercise near a Chinese-claimed island in the South China Sea.
No fuel or oil was seen on the water near the ship after the collision on Monday as it steamed under its own power to Changi Naval Base in Singapore, arriving in the afternoon, the Navy said.

Search on for missing sailors

Search on for missing sailors 01:36
Malaysian officials said their ships and aircraft had joined the search for the missing US sailors.
The search area encompassed 100 nautical square miles, they said, describing sea conditions as rough, with waves up to 1 meter (3.2 feet) high.
In addition to the 10 missing sailors, the Navy said five were injured in the collision. Four of those were flown by a Singapore Navy helicopter to a hospital in Singapore with non-life-threatening injuries, Navy said.
US helicopters and Marine Corps Osprey aircraft from the amphibious assault ship USS America were joining search and rescue efforts along with Singaporean ships and helicopters, the Navy said.
The McCain collision marks the fourth incident involving a US Navy warship in the Pacific this year.
On June 17, the USS Fitzgerald collided with a container ship off the coast of Japan. That collision resulted in the deaths of seven US sailors. The Fitzgerald will be transported to the US for repairs.
On May 9, the guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain was struck by a small fishing boat off the Korean Peninsula.
And in late January, the guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam ran agroundwhile trying to anchor in Tokyo Bay. Authorities at Yokosuka Naval Base said the Antietam remains out of action.
Military experts said the latest incident calls into question the Navy’s training and will likely lead to a serious shake-up among the Navy’s leadership.
“I can almost guarantee you that there will be a tumultuous shake up in the senior leadership of at least the 7th Fleet and maybe the Navy in general,” CNN military analyst Rick Francona said.
“The Navy is not looking good about now, especially when we need those … Aegis-equipped ships for possible ballistic missile defense in a North Korean scenario,” he added.
In a report on the Fitzgerald collision released just last week, the Navy it would review its training and qualification procedures.
“The collision was avoidable and both ships demonstrated poor seamanship. Within Fitzgerald, flawed watch stander teamwork and inadequate leadership contributed to the collision,” a 7th Fleet statement said.

Oil tanker ‘three times bigger’

Carl Schuster, a former director of operations at the US Pacific Command’s Joint Intelligence Center, said the oil tanker would have been at least three times bigger than the USS John S. McCain.
“Oil tankers are huge and it takes miles for them to change course,” he said.
“When you’re going into a congested channel, you’re supposed to be very alert, track ships around you to a very meticulous degree.”
The Malacca Strait, which runs between Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, is the world’s second busiest waterway according to the World Economic Forum. The collision took place in waters to the east of the Malacca Strait, US authorities said.
At a press conference Monday afternoon, Malaysian authorities said both ships were heading toward Singapore from the South China Sea when the collision occurred. They described the area as very busy, with some 80,000 ships passing through it every year.
Both ships should have reported in to what the Malaysian authorities called a maritime “traffic separation scheme,” essentially air traffic control for ships.

The tanker Alnic MC

Francona said no matter what the tanker did, the faster, more-nimble US destroyer should have been able to avoid a collision.
“How does a state-of-the-art Navy destroyer equipped with multiple radar systems and communications gear with a full bridge watch not see, detect and evade a 30,000 ton slow-moving (10 knots) behemoth?” Francona asked.

Search and rescue

A US Navy official told CNN the McCain had experienced a loss of steering before the collision, but that steering had been regained.
Merchant marine websites describe the Alnic MC as a 30,000-ton, 600-foot-long oil tanker flying a Liberian flag.
The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore said the Alnic sustained damage to a tank at its bow, about seven meters (23 feet) above the waterline. No one was injured on the tanker, it said, and no oil spill was reported.
The McCain is named for the father and grandfather of US Sen. John McCain. Both of McCain’s relatives were US Navy admirals. The senator was a captain in the US Navy.
The vessel is 505 feet long and displaces about 9,000 tons.



For Moms Heading Back to Work, ‘Returnships’ Offer a Path Forward

August 19, 2017 3:00 AM

How does a former stay-at-home mom become an employee of a tech company that could be worth more than $1 billion?

For Ellein Cheng, mom to a 5½- and a 2½-year-old, the answer involved a “returnship.”

So-called returnships are internships that target men and women who have been out of the workforce, either for childrearing or other caregiving. It gives them a chance to retrain in a new field.

In Cheng’s case, the former math teacher and tutor took a returnship at AppNexus, an online advertising company.

For companies, returnships are an opportunity to tap into more mature and professionally diverse talent pools. For participants who may be out of the workforce, it’s a chance to refresh their networks, learn new skills and try on new roles.

Beneficial arrangement

For both parties, it’s a low-risk, low-commitment arrangement. Companies can achieve their goals to make the employee ranks more diverse. Job seekers can potentially find full-time work.

Cheng’s returnship was set up by Path Forward, a New York-based nonprofit that works with tech companies to coordinate 16-week, paid assignments for those who have been away from the labor market for two or more years because of caregiving.

The organization partners with tech companies that range in size from 30-person startups to behemoths such as PayPal, which has more than 10,000 employees.

“What these companies of every size in the tech sector have in common is rapid growth, and also not enough talent to fulfill their needs,” said Tami Forman, executive director at Path Forward.

Women re-entering the workforce often struggle to explain the gap in their resume and find employment harder to come by, Forman said.

“They often get feedback from companies and recruiters and hiring managers that makes them believe that they’ll never be hired, that no one will ever overlook their gap,” she said. The organization says it gets results — 40 out of the 50 women who have gone through the program were offered ongoing employment at the companies in which they interned.

Teaching background

In her job search, Cheng applied for teaching positions but was also open to other fields. The product support work struck a chord with her in its appeal for candidates “passionate about learning and teaching.”

The program gave both managers and participants the chance to see if a long-term opportunity would be the right fit for them.

It also provided a dose of inspiration.

Other employees were “inspired to see people stepping out of their comfort zone, taking a big risk, working on something they haven’t done before,” Lorraine Buhannic, senior director of talent acquisition at AppNexus, said.

For Cheng, the inspiration came from a more personal place — her daughters.

They are growing up “in a world that is changing so quickly with technology, and I just want to be part of that,” she said. “I want to grow with them, I want to learn with them.”

In the end, the match worked. After the returnship, AppNexus hired Cheng as a product support specialist.

Now working in the fast-paced world of online advertising, Cheng says she doesn’t feel she has left her old self behind.

“I’m still obviously learning a lot, because I’m switching careers completely, but at the same time, still bringing the teaching element part of it every day to work,” she said.