Saturday, June 25, 2011

Someone told me that there was a camouflaged vehicle over here somewhere but I can't find it.  I haven't seen it anywhere .........

Friday, June 24, 2011


 I guess it depends on where you live but it would appear that what some cultures call horses some would call asses.  Would that be tantamount to equine racism?  Perhaps 'Asian horses' would be a more
more definitive term and prevent a little visual shock.  I was going to entitle the blog  'A HORSE'S ASS?' but then thought better of it, after all looks should not define the beast and out of respect for my friends in Mongolia, seriously, I'm pleased to say that Mongolians read my blog!

KHOMIIN TAL RESERVE, Mongolia (AP) — After a long journey by plane and truck, four rare wild Przewalski horses are home in their native Central Asian grasslands.
Following a 6,000-kilometer (3,700-mile) flight and another 280 kilometers (175 miles) on trucks, the three mares and a stallion could finally roam this western Mongolian reserve.
The females — Kordula, Cassovia and Lima — and the male named Matyas arrived from Prague as part of efforts to reintroduce the species. They could join a herd of 24 reintroduced by a French organization.
Przewalski horses became extinct in the wild in the late 1960s. This is the first Czech effort at reintroducing them, following several international programs.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Protection Against Alzheimer's Disease Boosted By Mystery Ingredient In Coffee

A yet unidentified component of coffee interacts with the beverage's caffeine, which could be a surprising reason why daily coffee intake protects against Alzheimer's disease. A new Alzheimer's mouse study by researchers at the University of South Florida found that this interaction boosts blood levels of a critical growth factor that seems to fight off the Alzheimer's disease process.

The findings appear in the early online version of an article to be published June 28 in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. Using mice bred to develop symptoms mimicking Alzheimer's disease, the USF team presents the first evidence that caffeinated coffee offers protection against the memory-robbing disease that is not possible with other caffeine-containing drinks or decaffeinated coffee.

Previous observational studies in humans reported that daily coffee/caffeine intake during mid-life and in older age decreases the risk of Alzheimer's disease. The USF researchers' earlier studies in Alzheimer's mice indicated that caffeine was likely the ingredient in coffee that provides this protection because it decreases brain production of the abnormal protein beta-amyloid, which is thought to cause the disease.

The new study does not diminish the importance of caffeine to protect against Alzheimer's. Rather it shows that caffeinated coffee induces an increase in blood levels of a growth factor called GCSF (granulocyte colony stimulating factor). GCSF is a substance greatly decreased in patients with Alzheimer's disease and demonstrated to improve memory in Alzheimer's mice. A just-completed clinical trial at the USF Health Byrd Alzheimer's Institute is investigating GCSF treatment to prevent full-blown Alzheimer's in patients with mild cognitive impairment, a condition preceding the disease. The results of that trial are currently being evaluated and should be known soon.

"Caffeinated coffee provides a natural increase in blood GCSF levels," said USF neuroscientist Dr. Chuanhai Cao, lead author of the study. "The exact way that this occurs is not understood. There is a synergistic interaction between caffeine and some mystery component of coffee that provides this beneficial increase in blood GCSF levels."

The researchers would like to identify this yet unknown component so that coffee and other beverages could be enriched with it to provide long-term protection against Alzheimer's.

In their study, the researchers compared the effects of caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee to those of caffeine alone. In both Alzheimer's mice and normal mice, treatment with caffeinated coffee greatly increased blood levels of GCSF; neither caffeine alone or decaffeinated coffee provided this effect. The researchers caution that, since they used only "drip" coffee in their studies, they do not know whether "instant" caffeinated coffee would provide the same GCSF response.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Look what I found on the sidewalk when I was out walking.  It's about 2.5cm/1 inch whatever it is.  The wings are beautiful.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

'Ugly' flooding turns Saskatchewan highway into river

The picture below is from Estevan, SK south of Weyburn.

The Canadian Press

Date: Tuesday Jun. 21, 2011 6:10 AM ET

WEYBURN, Sask. — Communities across soggy southeastern Saskatchewan are dealing with displaced residents, sewage-flooded basements and suspect drinking water -- the unwanted byproducts of days of rain that has overwhelmed rivers and swollen reservoirs.
"It's pretty ugly," said Dustin Bell, who said there's so much water around his home a couple of kilometres northeast of Weyburn that he can't drive out to get to work.
"Unfortunately we can't stop because of this so we had to get a rope and a boat and pull ourselves in."
The Saskatchewan Watershed Authority warned Monday that levels could rise another half metre in the partially flooded communities of Estevan and Roche Percee, downstream from Weyburn, after more water was released from dams on the Souris River.
Some residents say they don't understand why floodgates on the dams are being opened when communities downstream are already under water.
But authority spokesman Dale Hjertaas said the reservoirs simply can't hold back the huge amount of water.
"Everything is very saturated so all the water is running off now," Hjertaas said.
"The bottom line is ... an awful lot of rain fell and an awful lot of water is coming, and the capacity of the reservoir to hold it back is limited. Therefore, most of it needs to be passed on through at this point."
The areas affected were along the Souris, about an hour and a half southeast of Regina. There were also problems just east of Regina, where the Trans-Canada Highway was closed Monday because it was submerged under several metres of water.
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall toured the southern areas Monday and said it's not clear yet how much it will cost the government to help the communities.
"It's in the millions of dollars certainly and there's two levels of costs. There would be one to the municipalities that already had a lot of stressed infrastructure because of so much rain," said Wall.
"We've just told them, do what you need to do and we'll be there for you."
Wall, who delayed his trip to the western premiers conference in Yellowknife, called the torrents of water that have washed through the area unprecedented.
"We went over to Rafferty (Dam) and I can't give you a description," said Wall.
"I have no more adjectives, I have no more superlatives and I'm a politician so I shouldn't be lost for words maybe, but I am. It's hard to describe what you see driving around Weyburn, what these folks have been dealing with."
The premier said the provincial disaster assistance program gets help from the federal government. But he added they need to work together to prevent future flooding of such magnitude.
"There are some things we need to do soon in this region for responsible relief of the water pressures."
Environment Canada said that as of Monday morning, Estevan has had 287 millimetres of rain since May 1, making this the wettest May-June period since records began in 1945. The agency said 112 millimetres of rain had fallen in Weyburn since Friday and more rain was expected Monday.
People were out of their homes in Roche Percee, a tiny community near Estevan with a population of 160. Residents reported seeing a dike breach on the weekend that put much of the community under water.
The Willow Park Greens Trailer Park on the outskirts of Estevan was also under an evacuation order affecting about 400 people.
There was a precautionary boil water advisory in the City of Weyburn because of problems at the sewage plant. A trailer park outside the city was also evacuated. Some homes and businesses had water or sewage in their basements, including The Family Place, a community resource centre.
"We had upwards of two feet of sewage in our basement and we've basically been evicted from our building," said Clark Gordon, chairman of the board at The Family Place.
"You can't spend more than two or three minutes in there without feeling sick just because of the smell."
Gordon said everything in the basement, including toys and a play room, are now useless. The basement will have to be gutted and the building cleaned before the centre can open again. He hopes to get some of the program running at another location, but it will take time for the centre to get back on its feet.
"I mean we've got a mess on our hands. That mess has to be cleaned up."
Highway 39 that runs through Weyburn looked more like a tributary of the Souris River than a roadway, as water submerged the city's main bridge Monday.
Farmer Al Watson, 75, of Yellow Grass, said he's lived in the area his whole life and has never seen so much water.
"I do remember one time we had more rain, but it was drier when it started," said Watson.
"A lot of the problem this year has been that the ground was so saturated (from the snowpack) and really there was no place for the water to soak in."
In all, 20 communities were under a state of emergency Monday because of flooding.
Weyburn Mayor Debra Button said the city is experiencing difficulties with the electrical system at its main sewage lift station. Button said the community is pulling together but it has been stressful.
"I think initially everyone has shock. Then you go from shock to anger to can't believe it to 'what am I going to do' and there's despair in there as well. You know, we're watching for signs of that within the community," said Button.
"And we're reminding people, it's not worth staying in your house if you've got water or effluent ... Get out."
Colin King, the province's deputy fire commissioner, said many homeowners were feeling the pain.
"The amount of flow they are getting now is higher now than it has been previously this spring and it is affecting them quite dramatically ... (there are) a significant amount of homes with water in their basement,whether it be from seepage or overland flooding through the windows or from sewer backup -- that sort of thing."
King said it's tough to estimate how many have been forced to leave their homes, noting some people went to stay with family or friends and may not have registered with shelters.
There could be more evacuations over the next few days, he added.


‘It’s a sad day’ — Crest could be 10 feet higher than June 1st

Disastrous. Unstoppable. Historic. Unprecedented.

All words used to describe what city, county and state officials warn is an imminent assault on all residents of the Souris River Valley.

The highest flows ever recorded on the Souris are approaching a city whose defenses are destined to be over run. Can the city hold?

Dikes currently in place, recently improved greatly to combat high flows, are now expected to disappear under the traveling torrent. The amount of water flowing with a vengeance down the Souris River Valley is forecast to inundate Minot to a level seven to eight feet higher than the catastrophic and benchmark flood of 1969.

Saddened with that horrific knowledge, officials announced during a late afternoon press conference Monday that very little can be done to stop the powerful onslaught. Massive secondary dikes that were built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to save much of the town from the previous high on the Souris this year fall far short of defending against the impending and rapid rise of the Souris.

Mandatory evacuations were ordered Monday for all evacuation zones within Minot. Mayor Curt Zimbelman said all affected residents and businesses must vacate those areas no later than 10 p.m. Wednesday. Within minutes of the announcement residents once again began the laborious and hastened work of moving out of their homes for the second time this year.

Burlington Mayor and Ward County Commissioner Jerome Gruenberg, backed by a declaration from Gov. Jack Dalrymple, urged evacuations at all points along the river in Ward County. Dalrymple urged citizens to "move in an orderly and not panicky way." Rick Hauck, Corps of Engineers, said the "saving lives" is now what is important.

"It's pretty easy to get to 23,000 cfs, which is bearing down on Sherwood as we speak," said Alan Schlag, Monday. Schlag is a hydrologist for the National Weather Service in Bismarck.

For comparison purposes, the previous peak flow at Sherwood this year, one which caused great concern at all points downstream, was a mere 8,860 cfs.

"Basically, Canada is pouring the coals to releases from dams. Rafferty is wide open, Alameda upped to 1,800 Monday and Boundary was at about 5,000 cfs," said Schlag.

Dalrymple, who conversed with Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall on Monday, said he received assurances from the Canadians that all that could be done to prevent high flows was done. Additionally, said Dalrymple, the citizens of Estevan are already enduring flooding hardships that may soon be experienced in Minot as well.

"It is very serious. Very difficult," said Dalrymple. "You need to protect your services at all costs."

Zimbelman explained that essential city services would be diked and that every effort would be made to keep Broadway open for traffic. To accomplish that, the recently constructed secondary dike beginning at the intersection of University Avenue and Third Street Northwest, which passes under Broadway Bridge and then east along Fourth Avenue toward the State Fairgrounds, needs to be raised approximately seven feet.

 The crowd at Monday's City Hall press conference sat in stunned silence, followed by a few brief murmurs, when it was revealed that releases into the Souris from Lake Darling Dam would be ramped up to "16 or 17,000 cfs by Thursday." Minot's existing dike system laborously protects against 10,000 cfs. The previous high release for Lake Darling prior to this flood event was less than 5,000 cfs.

 Numbers all along the Souris are similarly stunning, shocking and, ultimately, saddening.

Monday, June 20, 2011


This is a picture and a note from a friend in Estevan.
Just got home from doing some sand bagging down at the golf course (& I don't even golf).
They are increasing the output from Boundary/Rafferty dams to at least 400 Cubic Meters per second which they say will increase the water level in the valley by at least 1 meter from where it is now.
To put it in perspective, the maximum release before was 211 cubic meters per second. Friends of mine who live in the valley had about 18" of water in their home from the previous release so one can imagine what is going to happen this time.
They are evacuating Ambassador Village, which is a large trailer park south of town, and I heard they are evacuating Roche Percee as well (the water was within 2" of the top of the dikes there previously. I also believe the water treatment plant will be flooded so I've stored up some water.
I'm glad I live on the top edge of the valley with a sand base under my house as many of the homeowners down here have water problems in their basements.
All this in a desert!
This is what the golf course & park looked like when the release was at 211.
The golf course is the flooded area in the upper 3rd of the picture. The water treatment plant is the building at the end of the road on the right of the picture.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


An invisible man marries an invisible woman.  The kids were nothing to look at either.