Monday, September 25, 2017

"‘Humanitarian crisis’ looming in devastated Puerto Rico, governor says"

Where Is The Media? If The Devastation In Puerto Rico Doesn't Get Their Attention What Will? A Space Alien Invasion?

Puerto Rico is dying and all I'm seeing in U.S. media is stuff about the NFL.
Plus Arecibo is down.

From WGN, Chicago:
A damaged dam is in danger of bursting. Most buildings are damaged or destroyed. Millions are without power, and the communication network is crippled. 
Puerto Rico is in a dire situation after Hurricane Maria, Governor Ricardo Rosselló told CNN in an interview on “New Day” Monday morning. 
“This is a game changer,” he said. “We need to prevent a humanitarian crisis occurring in America.” 
Rosselló urged Congress to approve a commensurate aid package as the US territory, already hammered by a prolonged economic crisis, tries to get back on its feet.
“Puerto Rico is part of the United States, and we need to take swift action,” the governor said. “This is a major disaster.” 
President Donald Trump has pledged federal help for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. A White House official said Trump is planning to visit Puerto Rico, but a date has not been set because of infrastructure concerns on the island. 
The Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration said 4,000 members of the US Army Reserves have been deployed to the island to help with Hurricane Maria recovery.
Airplanes and ships loaded with meals, water and generators have been arriving or are headed to Puerto Rico and other affected Caribbean islands, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said in a statement....MORE
From National Geographic, Sept 22: 

Hurricane Damages Giant Radio Telescope—Why It Matters
Staff at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico are safe, but the storm destroyed a key instrument, and conditions in surrounding towns are still unknown.
After a tense 36 hours, scientists and ham radio operators have confirmed that the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico—arguably the world’s most iconic radio telescope, which has a dish stretching a thousand feet across—has come through Hurricane Maria mostly intact, but with some significant damage.

More importantly, the observatory’s staff sheltering on-site are safe.
Though the initial reports are reliable, it will take a while for teams to reach the site and assess the extent of the hurricane’s impact, which includes the loss of a smaller, 12-meter dish as well as substantial damage to the main dish. (Find out why this hurricane season has been so catastrophic.) 
The information comes from Arecibo telescope operator Ángel Vazquez, who managed to get to the site and communicate via short-wave radio in the early evening of September 21.

Because of the storm, a 96-foot line feed antenna—which helps focus, receive, and transmit radio waves—broke in half and fell about 500 feet into the huge dish below, puncturing it in several places, says Pennsylvania State University’s Jim Breakall, who talked with Vazquez.

A fixture of the observatory since 1966, that line feed weighs about ten thousand pounds and is easily visible in images of the telescope as the pointy thing hanging off the platform. It was once used to detect mountains on the surface of Venus, and it is still crucial for studies of the part of Earth's atmosphere called the ionosphere, says former observatory director Frank Drake, who is also my dad.

“It allows the Arecibo telescope to achieve the most sensitivity of any radar telescope in the world,” Drake says, noting that it’s not clear how much time or money could be needed for repairs. “The end result is that the telescope will not be fully operative for some time at all wavelengths.”...MORE
The observatory was originally designed for national defense during the Cold War, when the U.S. wanted to see if it could detect Soviet satellites (and maybe missiles and bombs) based on how they alter the portion of Earth’s atmosphere called the ionosphere. Later, the telescope became instrumental in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) programs and in other aspects of radio astronomy....