HANOI, Vietnam — Dubbed "breakbone fever", dengue is one of the world's leading mosquito-borne illnesses and infects tens of millions across the globe annually. Around half of the planet's population live in at-risk areas, mainly in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Explosive outbreaks have ravaged Southeast Asia this year, infecting hundreds of thousands, killing hundreds, and crippling health care systems as governments struggle to contain the untreatable virus. So what is dengue, how does it spread, and how can it be contained? How does it spread? Dengue is transmitted mainly by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which thrives in densely-populated tropical climates and breed in stagnant pools of water. The mosquitoes pick up the virus from infected humans -- even asymptomatic ones -- and pass it along to other people through bites. Infections have steadily climbed across the globe since the 1970s due to rising temperatures and irregular monsoon rains linked to … [Read more...] about What is dengue, and why is it so widespread this year?
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Air quality in shipping ports: Why is it important?Seaports around the world have been asked to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions and contribute to efforts against global warming. Around72 percent of the earth’s surface or the equivalent of 363 million square kilometers (140 sqm2) is covered by oceans. Data show that about 40 percent or almost 2.4 billion people live within 100 kilometers of the nearest coast. In a 2017 report by the United Nations (UN), over a third or 37 percent of the global population live in coastal communities. Nearly 10 percent, or more than 600 million people, live in coastal areas below 10 meters above sea level.Another UN report found that 70 percent of marine-related emissions occur within 400 kilometers of the coast. Given these statistical data, the proximity to the world’s oceans put the human population in areas already affected by marine-related emissions also at risk due to the rise of sea levels caused by global warming. It is … [Read more...] about Air quality in shipping ports: Why is it important?
In our Gospel today, someone asks Jesus, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” Jesus answers, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.” Why does the gate have to be narrow? If God’s arms are always wide open and ready to embrace us, why can’t the gate be opened wide so that more people can more easily pass through? Why is faith hard? Is it so that we may learn better? I have had teachers who put me and my classmates through the wringer, and their lessons we still remember. Aside from the subject matter, we also had the values of discipline, rigor, and hard work pounded into us. But I have also had teachers who were gentler to us. Their lessons, too, have been ingrained in us – and their compassion and kindness, a source of inspiration when we reminisce about our school days. So why make things difficult? Doesn’t Jesus claim that his yoke is easy and his burden … [Read more...] about Why is faith hard?
Q: The latest series of Singapore coins is magnetic. Why is that so and what other special features are there? A: The Third Series coins are minted with a steel core electroplated with three layers of metals, according to the Monetary Authority of Singapore. It is this steel core that causes the coins to be attracted to magnets. Each of the five denominations ($1, 50 cents, 20 cents, 10 cents, five cents) in the latest series has a customised electromagnetic signature, which helps to distinguish it from foreign coins of similar size, shape and weight. This signature is determined by the coin's material, dimensions, shape and features such as embossing, and is what helps vending machines to differentiate it from counterfeit coins. To keep counterfeiters at bay, the electromagnetic signatures of the coins are kept within a narrow range. Coin-accepting machine operators are required to calibrate their machines within tight limits, so that counterfeit coins can be easily singled out. The … [Read more...] about Why is the latest series of S’pore coins magnetic?
DELHI: Severe cyclone Fani, which blasted ashore Friday (May 3) in India, is expected to pack a frequently underestimated yet lethal threat: storm surge.The surge happens when sea levels rise dramatically during a storm, sending a destructive wall of water gushing over people and property on land.Here are key questions and answers on the phenomenon:HOW DOES IT WORK? Storm surge is not the result of rainfall or flooding, rather it happens when powerful winds push ocean water rushing toward land.The phenomenon is an "abnormal rise of water generated by a storm, over and above the predicted ... tides," according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).Indian forecasters said a surge of 1.5m could hit the eastern state Odisha, where the monster cyclone is forecast to make landfall.WHY IS IT SO DANGEROUS? In previous storms, people have failed to flee because they did not grasp the storm surge's deadly threat.That was the case for 2013's Super … [Read more...] about What is a storm surge and why is it so dangerous?