Nation roundup for December 5


‘Chirps’ made by radiation belts

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Twin spacecraft have captured the clearest sounds yet from Earth’s radiation belts — and they mimic the chirping of birds.

NASA’s Van Allen Probes have been exploring the hostile radiation belts surrounding Earth for just three months. But already, they’ve collected measurements of high-energy particles and radio waves in unprecedented detail.

Scientists said Tuesday these waves can provide an energy boost to radiation belt particles, somewhat like ocean waves can propel a surfer on Earth. What’s more, these so-called chorus waves operate in the same frequency as human hearing so they can be heard.

University of Iowa physicist Craig Kletzing played a recording of these high-pitched radio waves at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.

“Not only do you hear the chirps — the alien birds as my wife calls them — but you hear that sort of cricket-like thing in the background,” Kletzing told reporters.

Before, those background sounds were inaudible.

“So this is really a fantastic new measurement,” he said.

While the chorus has been audible even before the Space Age — ham radio operators could sometimes hear it in decades past — the clarity of these measurements is “really quite striking,” Kletzing said.

Parents risk girl by leaving hospital

PHOENIX (AP) — Authorities in Arizona are looking for an 11-year-old girl with leukemia who is at risk of a deadly infection after her parents inexplicably took her out of a Phoenix hospital last week.

The girl, Emily, had been receiving chemotherapy at Phoenix Children’s Hospital for about a month, Phoenix police Sgt. Steve Martos said Monday.

An infection forced doctors to amputate her right arm. The girl’s mother removed a tube that delivered medication to the girl’s heart, changed her clothes, and walked her out of the hospital last Wednesday night.

“If she contracts an infection, it really could just be a matter of days that could result in the young girl’s death,” Martos said. “It’s pretty serious.”

Authorities had been stymied by health privacy laws that kept them from releasing the parents’ names, but police said Monday that U.S. Border Patrol stopped the girl’s father, Luis Bracamontes, 46, as he crossed into Arizona from Mexico over the weekend.

Martos said the man provided no clues to the girl’s whereabouts and denied having any involvement in removing her from the hospital. Police released his name, along with that of the girl’s mother, Norma Bracamontes, 35, in hopes it will help locate the child.

Home prices rise 6.3% in October

WASHINGTON (AP) — A measure of U.S. home prices rose 6.3 percent in October compared with a year ago, the largest yearly gain since July 2006. The jump adds to signs of a comeback in the once-battered housing market.

Core Logic also said Tuesday that prices declined 0.2 percent in October from September, the second drop after six straight monthly increases. The monthly figures are not seasonally adjusted. The real estate data provider says the decline reflects the end of the summer home-buying season.

Bob Marley drink sickens students

HOLMDEL TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) — Officials have removed a drink named after reggae icon Bob Marley after several New Jersey students were sickened.

Marley’s Mellow Mood contains valerian root and chamomile and is promoted to reduce stress.

The drink’s nutrition facts say it may cause drowsiness and isn’t intended for children.

However, students at Satz Middle School and Holmdel High School could buy it on campus. Several middle school students were sickened Friday.

The school’s food service provider has removed a manager pending an investigation. Chartwells School Dining Services also removed the Marley product from other schools.

The company said it is taking the situation seriously.

Students who consumed the drink complained of lethargy, headaches, nausea and elevated heart rates. Officials are trying to determine how many students were sickened.

 

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