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Volcano 101: Phreatic eruption in Filipino

Nagiging aktibo ang bulkan kapag ang magma ay umaangat mula sa ilalim ng lupa. Sa pag-angat at pagtama ng magma sa water table o bahagi ng lupa kung saan naipon ang tubig sa loob ng bulkan, lumililkha ito ng steam o water vapor na kumakawala palabas sa bunganga ng bulkan o iba pang biyak sa ibabaw ng lupa.

Sa sobrang bilis ng pagdami ng water vapor, naiipon ito sa loob ng bulkan hanggang sa ito ay sumabog. Sa sobrang lakas ng pagsabog, ang mga bato ay nagiging abo na ibinubuga sa kalangitan. Ang magkahalong steam, abo at maliliit na bato ang siyang dinadala ng hangin sa ibang lugar.

Kung ang bulkan ay magbubuga ng steam at magma ito ay tinatawag na Phreatomagmatic eruption.

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New coronavirus in China similar to those found in bats – just like in the movie Contagion

Have you seen the movie Contagion? Released in back in 2011, it showed how a deadly disease could easily spread throughout the world thanks to the convenience of air travel. How that deadly disease started was accurately shown in the film’s final scene:

Pathogens crossing from animals to humans has long been established by science. The recent outbreak of a pneumonia-like illness in China and the discovery that the virus closely resembles those found in bats just made the movie a lot more scarier. It just happened in real life, in our present times.

ScienceMag has details from a transcript of an interview with Xu Jianguo, head of an evaluation committee advising the Chinese government on what we know so far of this outbreak:

Q: The virus has been isolated from one patient, is that correct?

A: Correct. Two groups isolated the virus from samples from one patient. The viruses are nearly identical in morphology under electron microscopy. Researchers did laboratory investigations of 34 patients. A total of 15 were positive for the novel virus, [based on] sequencing samples of [fluid injected into the lung and collected for examination]. The teams got complete genome sequence data from about 10 patients. They are now attempting to isolate the virus from those samples as well. There are 19 cases with no evidence of the virus. There is no information available for the results of the remaining 25 cases.

Q: How close is this new virus to the SARS coronavirus?

A: The virus is similar to some of the published viruses collected from bats. But it is not close to SARS and not close to MERS.


Q: Is there any progress in tracing the original source of the virus?

A: I have no information. Personally, I’m interested, too. The virus looks like viruses isolated from bats, but how it was transmitted from bats to people is still a question. Several groups in China have been working on bat coronaviruses for years. I imagine they’re working on this but so far there is no information.

Q: Are other live animal markets being checked?

A: The Wuhan market has been closed. I have no information about other [markets]. Wild animals carry the risk of exposing people to new viruses. I think we should have more strict regulations and inspections of markets that sell wild animals, especially since the source of the new coronavirus has not been identified and eliminated.

One fatality has already been linked to the outbreak. Airports in Hong Kong, Singapore and the Philippines has imposed screenings of travelers from mainland China. Hopefully the disease is contained and there won’t be a repeat of the SARS or MERS epidemic a few years ago.

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Who is Qassem Soleimani? Is it now World War III?

When news of the US admitting that President Donald Trump ordered the assassination of Iranian military leader Qassem Soleimani broke out, World War III became a trending topic in Twitter, Google search and Facebook.

Journalist Caitlin Johnstone has a good rundown of what this recent development in the Middle East is and she’s right to say that those who value peace and humanity should closely follow how it will all pan out.

Who is Qassem Soleimani to begin with? Andrew Sexun easily sums it up as:

But I do know something of how important Qassem Soleimani was, because he spent more time in the Arabic-speaking world—propping up Iranian allies from Iraq to Lebanon, and from Syria to Yemen—than he did back home in Iran. From a military and diplomatic perspective, Soleimani was Iran’s David Petraeus and Stan McChrystal and Brett McGurk all rolled into one.

To which Fred Kaplan adds:

To convey a sense of Soleimani’s significance, it would be as if, during the Iraq war, the ayatollah had ordered the assassination of Gen. David Petraeus, Gen. Jim Mattis, the head of Special Operations Command, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.* Soleimani’s responsibilities corresponded with all four of these roles. Even then, the analogy falls short because, among Shi’ite Muslims across the region, Soleimani also exuded the charisma of a religious icon, a holy warrior.

For the past 20 years, he had been the architect of Iran’s expansionist foreign policy, running subversive operations and controlling Shiite militias in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, and Afghanistan.

Why did the US assassinated Soleimani? He may have helped the US push back ISIS, he is also responsible for attacks against US soldiers and operatives in recent years. That may or may not be a justification, but most experts are now saying it doesn’t matter. It’s been done. The real question now is, what will happen next aside from the certainty that Iran will strike back? World War III? Who knows? Even the experts don’t have an answer yet. And that’s the scary part.