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Aloysius Alaiza

Aloysius Alaiza has 1183 articles published.

Airport Keeps Wildlife Away From Runways with Robot Disguised as Predator

in Technology 28 views

Across Alaska last year, there were 92 instances of animal strikes on the state’s runways.

This year, the Alaska Dept. of Transportation is rolling out a four-legged robotic guard animal that can be disguised as a fox or a coyote to deter animals from crossing or loitering on the runways.

The DoT and local airport managers have used all sorts of deterrents to try and keep runways clear of the state’s wildlife. These have included bringing pigs onto airport grounds to eat bird eggs in the 1990s, but also mounting speakers that produce loud noises, firing at animals with paintball guns, and even using drones that spray grape juice.

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Teen with Incredibly Rare Genetic Condition is Cured in World First By British Doctors

in Health 38 views

A teen diagnosed with an incredibly rare genetic condition has become the first person in the world to be cured, thanks to a team of pioneering British doctors.

13-year-old Kai Xue is one of just 21 people in the world stricken with a disease called WILD syndrome, which impairs cells, causes lymphedema and warts, and leads to infections—but she was also diagnosed with severe chylous ascites, a potentially fatal illness that caused 28 liters of lymphatic fluid to collect within her abdomen.

It took over a decade to find a special team of doctors who could locate the cause of the fluid buildup from chylous ascites—and stop it for good.

Kai was born with an abnormal lymphatic system and her mother Ning Chen said they spent her daughter’s childhood in the UK visiting different hospitals and had even travelled to China to see if she could get treatment there.

But more than a decade later, Kai was finally cured after she was diagnosed by Dr. Mona Mossad, a national expert in lymphatic intervention.

The doctor went on to work alongside experienced surgeons to remove the excess fluid from Kai’s body, while also fixing a leak that had developed in her liver.

After a five-week stay at Staffordshire Children’s Hospital at Royal Stoke, which is run by University Hospitals at North Midlands NHS Trust, she was finally able to return home to her grateful family.

“Throughout her childhood, we were under the care of a number of different hospitals to try to find out what the matter was, but nobody knew the cause,” said her relieved mom.

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U.S. Unveils First-Ever Regulations to Remove ‘Forever Chemicals’ in Drinking Water

in Environment 70 views

Despite a huge amount of political opposition from the chemical industry, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its first regulations aimed at limiting quantities of PFAs, or ‘forever chemicals,’ in American drinking water.

For decades, Polyfluoroalkyl substances or PFAs have been used for coatings that resist fire, oil, stains, and water and are now found in a wide variety of products like waterproof clothing, stain-resistant furniture, food packaging, adhesives, firefighting spray foams, and non-stick cooking surfaces.

There are thousands of PFAS compounds with varying effects and toxicity levels, and the new EPA regulations will require water utilities to test for 6 different classes of them.

The new standards will reduce PFAS exposure—and thereby decrease the health risk—for 100 million people in the U.S.

A fund worth $1 billion for treatment and testing will be made available to water utilities nationwide—part of a $9 billion investment made possible by the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to assist communities impacted by PFAS contamination.

“Drinking water contaminated with PFAS has plagued communities across this country for too long,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan in a statement Wednesday.

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Mysterious Rainbow-like ‘Glory Lights’ Observed on Planet Outside Our Solar System for First Time Ever

in Astronomy 138 views

Astronomers have detected signs of the rainbow-like ‘glory’ effect on a planet outside our solar system for the first time.

Spotted on a planet that is 637 light years away from Earth, it may offer new information on how habitable distant planets could be.

‘Glory’ lights are concentric rings of light that only occur under specific conditions—namely, when light is reflected off clouds made up of a uniform substance (so far, unknown).

The effect, often seen on Earth and mistaken for a rainbow, is understood to happen when light passes between a narrow opening, such as between water droplets in clouds, causing it to diffract and create ring-like patterns.

The effect has only once been found on another planet – Venus – meaning that, if confirmed, this is the first ‘glory’ to be detected outside our solar system.

Scientists from the University of Warwick believe the ‘glory’ occurred on a planet called WASP-76b. First discovered in 2013, it’s nearly double the size of Jupiter, and known for its ‘hellish’ atmosphere.

One side always faces the sun, reaching unbearably hot temperature of 2,400 degrees Celsius, and one side always faces away from the sun, creating an ‘endless’ night where clouds drip iron molten rain.

However, observations from the European Space Agency’s Characterizing Exoplanet Satellite (CHEOPS) suggest that between these two sides, there may be a ‘glory’.

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Three Castaways Stranded on Island Rescued After Spelling Out ‘HELP’ Using Leaves

in People 189 views

Castaways stranded on an island in Micronesia were rescued after spelling out ‘HELP’ in palm leaves.

The U.S. Coast Guard picked up the three sailors stranded on Pikelot Atoll after they got into trouble in their small 20-foot open skiff.

The men, all experienced in navigating local seas, reportedly embarked on a voyage from Polowat Atoll on Easter Sunday equipped with an outboard motor.

But six days later, the Joint Rescue Sub-Center Guam received a distress call from a relative of the three mariners reporting that her uncles were missing after they departed on a 100-nautical-mile voyage and had not returned.

Thanks to the coordination of the Coast Guard in Micronesia/Sector Guam and the U.S. Navy, the men were able to be located—with a “crucial factor” being their idea to spell out ‘help’ on the beach.

The breakthrough came when the U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon aircraft confirmed their presence on April 7 on Pikelot Atoll, and the crew successfully deployed survival packages to sustain the men until further assistance could arrive.

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Cost of Watertown treatment project jumps $11.7 million

in Local News 163 views

The cost has jumped $11.7 million for a water treatment plant project to improve the city’s drinking water.

According to the City Council agenda released on Friday afternoon, council members will be asked on Monday night to approve $61.7 million in bonding for the project.

City officials had projected it would cost $50 million and had already passed a bond for that amount.

Councilman Cliff G. Olney III said Friday that he was surprised by the new price tag, saying that no reason was given to council members for it.

“I’m going to ask a lot of questions,” he said.

The project will preserve and improve the city’s water treatment plant, bringing improvements to drinking water quality and promoting water conservation.

“The new estimate for the water disinfection by-products project is $61,700,000,” according to a memo from City Manager Eric Wagenaar.

He explained that grantors typically require proof that the city has financing for the project.

“The bond ordinance must continually be amended to reflect the current projected cost of the project, he wrote.

The city will continue to seek grants to reduce the cost to city taxpayers, Wagenaar wrote.

City officials have been grappling with how Watertown would pay for a project.

The project will help reduce two disinfection byproducts that exceed acceptable levels at the Huntington Street water treatment plant.

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Inked for a cause: Line out the door for tattoos in Watertown during Pet Day fundraiser

in Animals/Art 199 views

People lining up outside Bare Knuckle Tattoo Thursday afternoon were ready to face the needle in support of their four-legged friends at the Jefferson County SPCA.

The National Pet Day fundraiser is a collaboration between the two establishments. Patrons could select from 13 designs, each one for $40. All proceeds went toward funding an X-ray machine for the SPCA.

Inside, the artists were focused, cranking out the designs in assembly-line fashion to keep things moving.

By 2 p.m., 33 people had already been inked-up, while 23 people waited their turn on the Franklin Street sidewalk.

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Thompson Park Golf Course opens for the season Monday

in Sports 194 views

Get the golf clubs out of the garage and get ready for the season.

The Thompson Park Golf Course opens on Monday.

With so much rain during the last two weeks, only nine holes will be ready for Monday’s opening, with the other nine by May 1, golf course Manager Jordan Northrop said.

“The rain definitely put us behind,” he said, “so this week we have to get it mowed.”

It’s the second year that the city will run the 18-hole course in Thompson Park after buying 63 acres for $3.4 million from Michael E. Lundy in 2023.

For months last year, the $3.4 million price tag divided the community, caused heated debate among City Council members and produced lots of headlines.

But that was last year.

“I think the controversy is behind us,” Northrop said, stressing he’s optimistic for the season.

The golf course has signed up 16 tournaments, up from nine. Calling it “a lofty goal,” he’s targeted 200 memberships, an increase from 171.

“I think this is going to be a cultural change year,” he said.

Initially, local golfers didn’t know what to expect last year after there was so much angst and turmoil. That might have kept some of them away, he said.

As the season went on last year, golfers heard there was a change in atmosphere at the golf course. Staff made it a focus to know members by name and to greet them, Northrop said.

“It felt more like a country club,” said Taylor LaVere, the assistant golf course manager.

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Hotel operators, retailers praise eclipse tourism; Public Square not so crowded

in Tourist 392 views

Jody Pettit, general manager of Watertown’s Hilton Garden Inn, said the weekend couldn’t have gone any better with eclipse chasers coming to the north country to view the solar spectacle.

The hotel’s 136 rooms were booked by tourists from all over the country to view Monday afternoon’s total eclipse of the sun.

“It was an economic boon for us, definitely,” she said.

Corey C. Fram, director of the Thousands Islands International Tourism Council, heard positive remarks from all kinds of tourism operators about visitors coming to the north country.

Eclipse chasers were so impressed with the region that they asked about what it’s like during the summer. He expects some of those folks will come back.

Visitors came from Long Island, New York City, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, the Mid-Atlantic states and as far away as New Mexico and Oregon.

The north country got “a bump” in tourism from what would have happened this time of the year, Fram said.

Many were eclipse veterans who attended the celestial events in 2017 and earlier, he said.

Welcoming them at the North Country Welcome Center in Alexandria Bay, he talked to some visitors who told them that they were headed to places like Rochester and Buffalo.

But with the better weather here and concern for traffic, they decided to make their eclipse memories in Northern New York.

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Watertown High students treated to preview performance of Case Middle School’s “Frozen Jr.”

in Entertainment 404 views

Students at Watertown High School were treated to a sneak preview Wednesday of an upcoming performance of a musical presented by the Case Middle School Music Department.

After classes, the high schoolers gathered in the auditorium to watch “Frozen Jr.,” a lively show based on the 2018 Broadway musical “Frozen.” The musical itself is a stage adaptation of a popular animated Disney film of the same name.

“Frozen Jr.” features all of the memorable songs from the 2013 animated film, with music and lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, plus five new songs written for the Broadway production. It also expands upon the emotional relationship and journey between Princesses Anna and Elsa.

When faced with danger, the two discover their hidden potential and the powerful bond of sisterhood.

The musical will be staged at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Watertown High School auditorium. Tickets are $6, available at the Case Middle School main office or at the door for both performances.

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