August 24th, 2007


Nah, Nah, Nah, Nah, Nah, Nah!

Electrical outages plagued me last night, but by 11:45, they were done. I reset the clock as best I could (won't turn on the computer in storms like that, as I don't want it hit by lightning), so I was worried because during school, I need to be in bed by 10-10:30, and if the alarm doesn't go off due to electrical outage, and I'm overly tired, I MIGHT NOT wake up soon enough...

So, minutes before the alarm was to go off (if I had the time right), the phone rang. School was canceled. The alarm went off only two minutes late, and I heard that Centerville (25 miles southeast of me) got 8" of rain overnight and people in low-lying areas were being evacuated.

So, here's my contribution to the day:

It's raining; it's pouring;
School's out; how boring!
Went to bed, worry in my head
That I'd wake up late in the morning...

Eight inches overnight
Wish I may, wish I might
See the old house in daylight
Still standing in the morning...

Sent to my sister in Rochester, MN (also flooded in places this week), who works for the FDIC, under the heading NAH, NAH, NAH, NAH, NAH! (Our family teases, obviously.)

Not sure if Centerville flooding was state-wide or national news, I CALLED my mom. She's BEEN to Centerville this summer, so will surely remember that it is close to me... even though she is 83.

The bridge just south of me is a good two yards from flooding, although the little creek is out of its bank. The one by my old house did NOT come up into the yard down there -- that guy's pond is still WORKING as flood control. (3" in 30 min. used to = house surrounded by water).

The ancient Chinese curse I live under is still working: May your life be INTERESTING.

Examining Effects

School started Wed. We got out at 1 for heat. Yesterday, we did the full day. Today we're out for flood. I feel an INTERESTING year coming on. Our new Superintendent seems TIMID compared to the old one, who prided himself on keeping to the original calendar.

MY FARM has NO FLOODING. The neighbor to the north build a pond a few years back. The powers that be made him have all landowners whose farms that creek ran through sign a permission to reduce the water flow slip. It came out of the bank, but NOT into the house yard...

The creek to the south is only half way across the hay field, about to the dirt road down the center of his property that we used to go ride on all the time when others owned it. The year we got the 13" overnight, the water filled the whole hay field and my driveway, level with the raised road bed for the entire width of the old house before it starts to climb the hill, served as a levee, with waters lapping several feet up the side before all was said and done. The old house was SPARED by the driveway...

For Fat People: Excuses Allowed!

Study: Virus May Contribute to Obesity

WASHINGTON (AP) -- In the buffet of reasons for why Americans are getting fatter, researchers are piling more evidence on the plate for one still-controversial cause: a virus.

For several years, researchers have looked at a possible link between obesity and adenovirus-36.

New research announced Monday found that when human stem cells -- the blank slate of the cell world -- were exposed to a common virus they turned into fat cells. They didn't just change, they stored fat, too.

While this may be a guilt-free explanation for putting on pounds, it doesn't explain all or even most of America's growing obesity problem. But it adds to other recent evidence that blames more than just super-sized appetites and underused muscles for expanding waistlines.

For several years, researchers have looked at a possible link between obesity and this common virus, called adenovirus-36, from a family of viruses that cause colds and pinkeye in people. They had already found that a higher percentage of fat people had been infected with the virus than nonfat people. They had exposed animals to the virus and got them to fatten up and even found a a gene in the virus that causes animals to get obese.

But ethical restraints kept researchers from exposing people to the virus to see what happens. So they did what would be considered the next best thing, said Nikhil Dhurandhar, who headed the research at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in the Louisiana State University system.

They took fat tissue from people who had liposuction, removed adult stem cells from the tissue and exposed the cells to the virus in the lab. Adult stem cells can regenerate and turn into different types of specialized cells to help the body heal itself.

More than half the stem cells exposed to the virus turned into fat cells and accumulated fats, while only a small percentage of the non-exposed stem cells did the same, said researcher Dr. Magdalena Pasarica, who presented the results Monday at the American Chemical Society's annual meeting in Boston, Massachusetts.

"It's the first time we see an effect in human cells," Pasarica said in a phone interview.

If a viral cause of obesity can be confirmed, a vaccine could be developed, maybe within five to 10 years, to prevent the virus from making some people fat, Dhurandhar said. However, it wouldn't help people already obese, he said.

Outside experts are intrigued but worry about people blaming viruses for all obesity, when this may be just one of many causes. It doesn't mean it's OK to overeat, blame a bug or wait for some kind of antivirus medicine, they

"The cause for obesity in everyone is the same," said Dr. Samuel Klein, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. "You eat more calories than you burn up; You can't get away from that basic law of physics."

But there are many causes that trigger overeating and extra storage of fat in the body, including the virus, Klein said. However, he said he considers the virus only a small factor, easily outweighed by genetics and even
childhood eating habits.

Dhurandhar said some of his earlier research found that 30 percent of obese Americans had developed antibodies to the virus, showing they had been exposed to it at some point. But for non-obese people, only 11 percent had antibodies, he said.

That means for some people it is not their fault they are fat, Dhurandhar said.

But Klein said that's not completely right.

"We don't want obese people to feel that it's all their fault because it is not all their fault ... but clearly the buck finally lies with the person," Klein said.

Damage Update

I drove down to the mail box so I could take a fast wheel around the area... and ran into the Corydon staff from one of the government agencies, out taking photos, and checking each bridge/culvert.

Our area is under watch now, called Promise City (six miles south), not Centerville) until Midnight. For PC to make even STATE WIDE news is unheard-of in the 31 years I've been here.

Shortly after 8, I saw the county's grader going SOUTH (normally, they come NORTH first...) He did NOT stop to scrape the gravel off the road surface, even though one area is so washed out that an entire semi could be dropped off into it (or maybe his double wheels would save him, as the groove is only about as wide as a car tire... He must have been setting out the flood signs, or something.

I think the weather is reporting about 3-5 hours behind the actual on the ground happenings. Before dawn, the creek just north of the old house flashed. I found debris at the edge of the driveway two feet northwest of the base of the blasted pine in the front yard, so the entire lower house drive below that was under, but not the far side of the garage/machine shed.

The bridge four miles north of PC is still open, no debris, so it looks as if the extensive diking system and land confiscation program the government embarked on has been successful. Water is still a foot below crossover at present. The area where the dike is has a foot of water on it and a vigorous flow making white caps on the OUTSIDE away from the creek, so we're not out of the woods there, yet.

The gravel road beds off S 56 are highly eroded clear out into the traffic lanes on both sides of the steeper hills, so it is one lane traffic or bury the vehicle over the axel if you don't line up slantwise across the ruts... On S 56's edges, the gravel has washed clear to the center line over 1/4-1/2 mile area around my farm. One rut that runs immediately along the east side of the road in front of my property is over a foot deep. I pity anyone who unknowingly tries to PULL OFF along there!

The side road at the top of the hill to the south that curves around and comes out 1/8 mile from CM's house has a "flood area ahead" warning on it.

I drove over to CM's, using the bridge across that creek on the next road north from there, which had debris on the bridge surface, but was 1" in the clear now. I watched from the top of the hill while the county's carful of people gingerly crept across, then when they'd pulled over to take photos, went over myself. I figured my smaller car with fewer people in it would not crash through if theirs didn't... Not totally logical, but a pretty good indicator, I figured. With people watching, rescue might happen in the event something went bad, right? Or is that only on TV?

CM's drapes were still drawn, so I assumed she was either gone or still asleep. I went south as far as the buffalo pastures. They are all safe, but the lower pastures had wide open gates, so they'd obviously been moved... The rural mail carrier, who normally hits my farm around 10, was just setting out. That's a good sign. I'd love to hear afterward how much of his route he was able to reach.