Isaac’s threat to Gulf Coast goes beyond New Orleans despite Katrina memories
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- With its massive size and ponderous movement, a strengthening Isaac could become a punishing rain machine depending on its power, speed and where it comes ashore along the Gulf Coast.
The focus has been on New Orleans as Isaac takes dead aim at the city seven years after Hurricane Katrina, but the impact will be felt well beyond the city limits. The storm’s winds could be felt more than 200 miles from the storm’s center.
The Gulf Coast region has been saturated thanks to a wet summer, and some officials have worried more rain could make it easy for trees and power lines to topple in the wet ground. Too much water also could flood crops, and wind could topple plants like corn and cotton.
"A large, slow-moving system is going to pose a lot of problems -- winds, flooding, storm surge and even potentially down the road river flooding," said Richard Knabb, director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami. "That could happen for days after the event."
The storm’s potential for destruction was not lost on Alabama farmer Bert Driskell, who raises peanuts, cotton, wheat, cattle and sod on several thousand acres near Grand Bay, in Mobile County.
party in southern Afghanistan, behead 17 civilians
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- Insurgents beheaded 17 people at
Near-daily attacks by militants and increasingly frequent deadly violence against NATO troops by their Afghan allies highlight an embarrassing failure of Western policy: After nearly 12 years of military intervention, the country is not pacified. Once the United States and other countries pull out their troops, chaos seems almost certain to return and Taliban domination in large parts of the country is hardly implausible.
The beheadings occurred in southern Helmand, the same province where more than 100 insurgents attacked an Afghan army checkpoint and killed 10 soldiers.
Helmand was the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s surge, when he ordered 33,000 additional U.S troops to Afghanistan to help the military with a counterinsurgency plan. That plan hoped to turn the tide in Helmand and neighboring Kandahar and establish the governmental institutions that would allow the Afghan government to take control of the Taliban heartland.
Two years later, however, Helmand is still so lawless that Afghan government officials couldn’t even go to the Taliban-controlled town where the beheadings were reported. Many Afghans in the south, the Taliban’s birthplace and the home of the country’s Pashtun speaking population, are leery of a government that many consider to be corrupt and ineffective.
Shooting near Empire State Building shows that officers often miss intended target
NEW YORK (AP) -- The police shooting near the Empire State Building last week is a testament to how quickly officers can fire off 16 rounds to take down an armed suspect.
But the nine wounded bystanders attest to another truth: Officers often miss.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly reiterated Monday that officials believe that two patrolmen followed proper police protocol once Jeffrey Johnson pulled a pistol on them moments after he ambushed a former co-worker -- an assessment supported by experts on police policy and training.
"When you’re told that someone just killed someone around the corner, and five seconds later that person identified as the shooter points the gun at you ... it was the appropriate action to take," Kelly said at an unrelated press event in midtown Manhattan.
Dramatic security video of the Friday morning confrontation shows Johnson pointing the weapon at the officers, other pedestrians scattering and the two officers firing -- one from very close range, the other while retreating.
Teens who routinely use pot before age 18 may see long-term declines in IQ
NEW YORK (AP) -- Teens who routinely smoke marijuana risk a long-term drop in their IQ, a new study suggests.
The researchers didn’t find the same IQ dip for people who became frequent users of pot after 18. Although experts said the new findings are not definitive, they do fit in with earlier signs that the drug is especially harmful to the developing brain.
"Parents should understand that their adolescents are particularly vulnerable,"’ said lead researcher Madeline Meier of Duke University.
Study participants from New Zealand were tested for IQ at age 13, likely before any significant marijuana use, and again at age 38. The mental decline between those two ages was seen only in those who started regularly smoking pot before age 18.
Richie Poulton, a study co-author and professor at the University of Otago in New Zealand, said the message of the research is to stay away from marijuana until adulthood if possible. "For some it’s a legal issue," he said, "but for me it’s a health issue."
Bugs from the days
of earliest dinosaurs found trapped in amber
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Scientists have found three well preserved ancient insects frozen in amber -- and time -- in what is Earth’s oldest bug trap.
The discoveries of amber-encased insects in Italy may sound like something out of "Jurassic Park" but these bugs are even older than that. They are about 230 million years old, which puts them in the Triassic time period, and about 100 million years older than what had been the previously known oldest critters trapped in fossilized tree resin, or amber.
Gooey tree resin is like sap but without water and can’t be diluted.
Researchers painstakingly examined 70,000 droplets of amber found in northeastern Italy. Stuck in them were two microscopic mites and much of one fly. The mites are too small to be seen with the naked eye and the fly is a tad tinier than a fruit fly, researchers say.
The discovery was reported Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Apple lists 8 Samsung devices it wants banned from the
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Apple Inc. on Monday gave a federal judge a list of eight Samsung Electronics Co. products it wants pulled from shelves and banned from the U.S. market.
U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh asked for the list after a jury in San Jose last week slammed Samsung with a $1.05 billion verdict, finding that the South Korean technology giant had "willfully" copied Apple’s iPhone and iPad in creating and marketing the products. Samsung plans an appeal.
The products Apple wants banished from the United States are all smartphones: Galaxy S 4G, Galaxy S2 AT&T, Galaxy S2, Galaxy S2 T-Mobile, Galaxy S2 Epic 4G, Galaxy S Showcase, Droid Charge and Galaxy Prevail.
Koh on June 26 banned the Galaxy Tab 10.1 from the U.S. market after finding it likely violated a "design patent." Samsung is now asking for that ban to be lifted after the jury found the computer tablet didn’t infringe that particular patent, but it did find it infringed three Apple’s software patents that cover the popular "bounce-back" and pinch-to-zoom features.
The judge has scheduled a Sept. 20 hearing to discuss Apple’s demands for the sales bans. She asked Apple on Friday to submit the list of products its wants removed from U.S. stores after Samsung complained it doesn’t have enough time to prepare for the scheduled hearing.