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Today โ€” February 24th 2020Science&Space

Warren Buffett warns coronavirus could disrupt Berkshire Hathaway's annual meeting, and calls Bill Gates his 'science adviser'

Warren Buffett warns coronavirus could disrupt Berkshire Hathaway's annual meeting, and calls Bill Gates his 'science adviser'The famed investor pointed out the virus is "particularly tough on old people" and there will be "two guys on the stage whose combined age is 185."


  • February 24th 2020 at 14:18

Italy put 12 towns on coronavirus lockdown after 215 cases and 5 deaths made it the most infected country outside Asia

Italy put 12 towns on coronavirus lockdown after 215 cases and 5 deaths made it the most infected country outside AsiaItaly has put at least a dozen towns into lockdown and canceled public events as neighboring countries consider how to stop the virus from entering.


  • February 24th 2020 at 14:09

Iran, Italy, and South Korea announced harsh new measures to stifle their own outbreaks of the coronavirus

Iran, Italy, and South Korea announced harsh new measures to stifle their own outbreaks of the coronavirusNew cases outside China have caused global concerns that more major regions were at risk and the outbreak could reach pandemic status.


  • February 24th 2020 at 03:02

Mike Hughes, 64, D.I.Y. Daredevil, Is Killed in Rocket Crash

By Aimee Ortiz

The launch that killed Mr. Hughes, known as Mad Mike, was being filmed for a new Science Channel series called “Homemade Astronauts.”

Daredevil 'Mad' Mike Hughes Killed In Crash Of Homemade Rocket

By James Doubek
"Mad" Mike Hughes

Mike Hughes promoted himself as believing that the Earth was flat. He launched homemade rockets with the goal of eventually flying to the edge of space to see for himself.

(Image credit: Mercedes Blackehart/AP)

  • February 24th 2020 at 00:49

Daredevil 'Mad' Mike Hughes Killed In Crash Of Homemade Rocket

By James Doubek
"Mad" Mike Hughes

Mike Hughes promoted himself as believing that the Earth was flat. He launched homemade rockets with the goal of eventually flying to the edge of space to see for himself.

(Image credit: Mercedes Blackehart/AP)

  • February 24th 2020 at 00:49
Yesterday โ€” February 23rd 2020Science&Space

Flat Earth advocate dies after homemade rocket crashes

Flat Earth advocate dies after homemade rocket crashesThe saga of "Mad" Mike Hughes and his homebuilt rocket has come to a tragic end. The Flat Earth advocate died on February 22nd at the age of 64 when the chute for his steam-powered rocket detached shortly after launch, leading to a high-velocity crash in the desert near Barstow, California. The launch was being filmed for a Science Channel series, Homemade Astronauts, that aims to document the adventures of amateur rocket makers.


  • February 23rd 2020 at 20:14

Officials Scramble To Contain Coronavirus Outbreaks In South Korea, Iran And Italy

By Bobby Allyn
A huge screen displaying precautions against the new coronavirus is seen in downtown Seoul, South Korea, on Sunday.

Health officials are on high alert over the global spread of the illness that has infected nearly 77,000 people in China, with more than 2,400 deaths tied to the virus.

(Image credit: Lee Jin-man/AP)

  • February 23rd 2020 at 20:06

Storm to aim for Northeast and unload heavy snow, strong winds

Storm to aim for Northeast and unload heavy snow, strong windsA strengthening storm is expected to dump snow on interior portions of the Northeast, setting up lake-effect snow that will continue even after the storm departs.After traveling through the Plains and into the Midwest, a snowstorm will press through the Ohio Valley and into southern Canada Tuesday and Tuesday Night. This will drop a swath of heavier snow from Iowa to southern Ontario.At the same time, this storm will send rain showers into the Northeast, with perhaps some wet snow mixing with rain in far northern New England. While this winter storm continues to strengthen in southern Canada, a second storm will come into the Northeast from the south, spreading snow across interior portions of the region.Merging with the colder air introduced by the first storm in the east, more snow will spread from the Ohio Valley to New England from Wednesday through Thursday.The potential exists for a swath of significant snow to develop on the storm's colder, northwest flank, which will mostly be in Canada and in northern New England. In these areas, 6-12 inches of accumulation is possible with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™️ of 16 inches. Farther south, for portions of the eastern Ohio Valley and western slopes of the Appalachians, precipitation will begin as rain Wednesday before changing to snow later in the day."Precipitation will change over from rain to snow as the storm and the cold air moves eastward across central New York and northern New England," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alan Reppert.This mixing will limit snowfall totals to just a few inches, with little or no snow to the south and east.This amount of snow is still enough to cause slippery spots on untreated surfaces from northern Pennsylvania to Vermont, including on portions of Interstates 80, 81, 86, 87 and 91. CLICK HERE FOR THE FREE ACCUWEATHER APPThe same areas that have been in a snow drought this winter, namely along the I-95 corridor from Connecticut to Maryland, are once again likely to miss out, much to the dismay of snow lovers.Washington, D.C., has picked up 0.6 of an inch of snow this season. Typically, by this point the nation's capital has received 12.9 inches. Farther north, Philadelphia has recorded just 0.3 of an inch of snow or 2% of normal so far this season and New York City has picked up only 4.8 inches of snow so far this season, a mere 26% of its normal snowfall.While the storm is not expected to bring heavy snow to this region of the East Coast, but is likely to generate strong winds in this area."While the storm during the middle part of the week would bring rain to the coastal Northeast and even a large part of the central Appalachians, it is likely to be an effective wind producer," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Dombek.Wind gusts of 30-40 mph are possible, particularly on Wednesday night and Thursday across the Great Lakes and the Northeast. Even higher gusts are likely along the coasts of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.Airline passengers should anticipate delays and turbulence related to wind from the Ohio Valley and mid-Atlantic to the Great Lakes and New England spanning Wednesday and Thursday. There is potential for flight disruptions in the mega airline hubs of Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta and New York City from wind, in addition to or instead of heavy precipitation.Rainfall amounts of 0.5 of an inch to 1 inch are possible on the milder, southern side of the storm Wednesday through Wednesday night.The gusty winds, bringing the fresh, Arctic air over the Great Lakes, will generate some fierce lake-effect snow behind these storms.After starting in the western Great Lakes late on Wednesday, the cold air and wind on the backside of the storm will spread lake-effect snow to the eastern Great Lakes. The lake-enhanced snow could continue into the weekend. "Lake-effect snow can pile up in feet downwind of Lake Ontario with this setting up to be a multi-day event east of Ontario," Reppert said. "Even Lake Erie will have some areas that look to pick up over a foot of snow."Snowfall totals of this magnitude have been mostly absent so far this winter in the eastern Great Lakes.As the snow winds down, a lingering chill is expected to close out the month of February.Keep checking back on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.


  • February 23rd 2020 at 18:49

Michael 'Mad Mike' Hughes dies at 64 after attempting a homemade rocket launch into space

Michael 'Mad Mike' Hughes dies at 64 after attempting a homemade rocket launch into spaceThe rocket launch that occurred Saturday and led to Hughes' death was supposed to be featured on a new Science Channel show, "Homemade Astronauts."


  • February 23rd 2020 at 18:31

How to Be an Expatriate in 2020

How to Be an Expatriate in 2020Two years ago, Chuck Burgess and Kerstin Michaelsen were comfortably set up in New York City with good careers, a home in Manhattan and another in the Hamptons. But they yearned for something more. Not more in the sense of material things but in the satisfaction derived from new adventures and new lands. They fantasized about moving abroad -- an idea that seemed more attractive as the couple, both 50, settled into midlife.Ultimately it was a "heightened sense of our mortality," Burgess said, that gave them the prod they needed, after three of their parents died within three years. "We didn't want to miss our chance to live life as fully as possible."After a year of planning and divesting themselves of properties, their car and all but the bare necessities, they boarded a plane in May 2018 for six months of travel. In December they landed in Barcelona, without speaking a word of Spanish.Then they stayed.Burgess said the couple had grown eager "to put down roots and focus on how to spend the second half of our adult lives." Spain's lower cost of living has helped them make the transition, but so has the technology that enables them to conduct borderless business -- he as a communications strategist, she as a graphic designer."We tried out a few options and have discovered the ones that work best for us," Burgess said, noting that it was important to convey a local presence and availability for both their U.S. and Spanish clients.In the past decade, quantum leaps in technology, social media and the mobile economy have combined to the benefit of expatriates like Burgess and Michaelsen. To conduct their international lives, the couple use Google Voice for seamless transferring of their U.S. and Spanish phone numbers. They use TransferWise and Xoom to move funds between their banks in both countries. And they use video conferencing for intercontinental business meetings. Their ability to stay was helped by Michaelsen having a passport through her parents, who were German citizens; Burgess has applied for residency as the spouse of a European Union citizen.More Americans of all ages and stations are leaving the country for a multitude of reasons, be they political, economic, professional, romantic. "The whole field has changed dramatically in the last 10 or 15 years," said Dan Prescher, senior editor at International Living magazine, which has covered the expatriate experience for 40 years. "The internet has changed everything for everybody, and it's made being an expat a lot easier."According to the U.S. State Department, an estimated 9 million U.S. citizens live overseas, with nearly 21 million U.S. passports issued in fiscal year 2019 -- a 47% spike from five years earlier."It used to be just retirees living off of fixed income and Social Security, so you moved to the cheapest possible place," Prescher said. "But now almost any career is transportable in some way, shape or form. You can move to a place with great weather, where the cost of living is half of where you are now and you can still do your job. The synergies are obvious and very compelling for younger people."With dedicated services dispensing practical information, social media platforms providing virtual support villages, and remote live-work communities catering to globe-trotters, anyone can pack up and leave in 2020.Rise in Online ResourcesMore than 8.5 million unique Facebook users are part of at least one of the 8,000 active English-language groups devoted to expats. One group, Girl Gone International, evolved into a stand-alone resource for female travelers, with 300,000 members. The site is run by 600 volunteers in more than 200 cities. Anne Scott founded the group in 2010 when, after 10 moves in 10 years, she found herself "in a bad place in a new city.""I knew the solution was community, but none existed," she said. "I really felt like I was all alone in the world, and I knew it wasn't just me living like this."Scott, 39, said that in a 2019 survey of the group's members under 27, 40% of respondents said they were settling abroad for two or more years, and more than 46% said they felt lonely at multiple points overseas. Now her volunteer-led communities are "spreading friendship far and wide, so no woman has to ever feel alone."On the expanding landscape of resources dedicated to expatriates, perhaps the most comprehensive is InterNations, which was founded in 2007 by two German entrepreneurs and counts 3.7 million members in 168 countries. A founder, Malte Zeeck, 43, said Americans make up about 10% of the group's membership, the largest national contingency. The platform provides advice on locations and a portfolio of relocation tools, from visa assistance and housing searches to settling-in services including advice on local banking, insurance and tax registration."Our vision is really to be every expat's best friend and accompany them on every step of the journey," Zeeck said.Each year, the company conducts an Expat Insider Survey, ranking the best and worst cities for emigrants based on categories like quality of life, settling in, health care and family life. The 2019 survey, with more than 20,000 respondents, found that Taiwan was the most popular location. Justin Shields, 39, an engineer for a semiconductor manufacturer from northern Virginia, worked in the country on assignment twice before moving there full time in 2018. He cited friendliness, the food, health care and recreation options as the reasons he enjoyed living in Taipei, the capital city. "Living here has definitely exceeded my expectations," he said. "I would be completely happy to stay here forever."Love and FamilyZeeck said data from InterNations' 2019 survey showed that love was the most common reason for people to move to another country. That was the case for Ebony Buehler, an American management consultant, and Marcel Buehler, a German visual artist. They met in Germany while Buehler was on a business fellowship and ended up spending time in both New York and Germany before settling in Berlin.Although it was his dream to live among artists in Manhattan, Marcel Buehler, 50, said, "I was starting to lose my contacts and was not building them at the same rate in New York." After a year and a half there, Ebony Buehler, 38, was able to transfer back to Germany with her husband and now works in an office for Ernst & Young.The Buehlers have a 2-year-old daughter, Luna, who was born in Germany, and are mindful of rearing a multilingual, multicultural child when choosing schools and activities. On the internet, there are groups that can help, like Families in Global Transition, a nonprofit that supports families through conferences and online resources.Marcel Buehler's mother is Argentine and he has Polish and Russian heritage, and Ebony Buehler grew up in a Cajun region of Louisiana and the border city of El Paso, Texas. She said being African American adds another layer to her expat experience."Marcel has always seen himself as coming from many cultures, but my only culture is this one of being a person of color from the United States," she said. "I realize Luna's going to have a very different life growing up here and her background, even as a German, will be very different from ours. She will be my port to a deeper level of German culture."Millennials Make TracksToday's digital nomads are dominated by 20- and 30-somethings who are "exposed to other cultures much more than previous generations were, so it's natural for them to want to travel as a natural part of their career trajectory," said Katia Vlachos, an expat transition coach and author of "A Great Move: Surviving and Thriving in Your Expat Assignment."Taking the digital nomad concept a step further are those who live out of a suitcase full time, having experiences as diverse as apprenticing with Peruvian shamans (such as Nora Dunn, a Canadian known as the "Professional Hobo," who has been on the road for 12 years) or documenting European vineyards, as Matthew Horkey, 37, and Charine Tan, 33, do for their website, ExoticWineTravel.com.The couple met in Tan's native Singapore while Horkey, Korean-born but raised in Michigan, was setting up a local chiropractor office. In 2015, they took a travel sabbatical to pursue their mutual interest in wine. That turned into a business of promoting lesser-known wine regions through writing and consulting. In their five years of travel, they have covered vineyards in more than 30 countries, published books and traveled to speaking engagements."Our aim is to build a Lonely Planet-like platform for wine lovers," Horkey said. He and Tan use Airbnb and other online rental sources as they travel. They also registered as verified pet- and house sitters, exchanging those services for free housing.They each travel with two bags, plus their equipment. "You have limited options and you just have to make combinations to look like you have different stuff," Horkey said. "It's actually quite liberating."Mobile MidlifersIf trekking abroad for long stretches was once considered the domain of the retired and the preprofessional, the modern expat machinery has opened the door to everyone in between. The average age of InterNations' members is 41, up from 38 in 2015, a company spokeswoman said.For Heather Markel, a divorce in her late 40s helped spur her dream of traveling the world. A former telecom manager turned life coach in New York, she asked herself, "Why am I waiting until retirement to live? There was no career on the map that made joy."In early 2018, Markel assessed her savings, sold some stock and left for Costa Rica for what she thought would be a few months. Realizing it was cheaper to travel than to maintain a New York apartment, she did the ultimate Marie Kondo and gave up everything that didn't spark joy, including the apartment.She is now 100% location independent, living in a variety of housing, from Airbnb rentals to hostels and budget hotels she books online. She housesits and stays with friends. Along the way, she consults expat groups on Facebook for advice and community, as well as government sites for practical information on visas and vaccinations."I am supporting myself by a very firm per diem budget to make my money last as long as possible," Markel said. "I work hard to make it keep going."She writes and provides business- and life-coaching services through her company, BullBuster Business Coaching. She also uses her Twitter account to help fellow expats navigate foreign locales and founded the Expat Coach Association and Directory to help other location-transition coaches like herself market their businesses."This is not a life for those who are running away," she said. "It's for those who are running toward something."That was the goal for Marybeth Bentwood, who relocated from New York to Las Condes, Chile, with her Chilean partner in July 2019, wanting to connect their 6-year-daughter, Elisa, to her father's culture. She also wanted to remove her from a society where school shootings were "becoming normalized."Bentwood, 50, focuses on showing her daughter her new world, building her relationships with Chilean relatives and working on her own business. A former public-relations executive in New York with expertise in the Chilean hospitality industry, Bentwood established a lifestyle brand-strategy agency in Santiago, tapping a network she created through previous visits. She's able to traverse virtual business borders with ease, with most of her clients focused on the U.S. market."I don't need to be in the U.S. on a day-to-day basis," she said. Bentwood travels stateside four times a year (she is still on a tourist visa while she awaits her work visa) to reconnect with peers and have business meetings, but otherwise conducts her business online via video platforms like Zoom and FaceTime."It's increased the quality of my life exponentially and I didn't even realize I was lacking that while living in New York," she said.The Semi-Retirees"There's a rare retiree -- even 20 years ago -- who would just move to a place and lie in a hammock," said Prescher of International Living. "It's not just a paradise where you spend the rest of your life buried in the sand, it's a movement of people who retire and have at least another one, two or possibly three life stages to go through."Lee Duberman and Richard Fink, former restaurateurs in Vermont -- Duberman, 64, is a chef and Fink, 65, a sommelier -- had spent several winters in the colonial-era city of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, while their restaurant was closed. The idea of relocating came one season when they helped a local restaurant owner one night a week and found a receptive crowd.Although the seed was planted, "We knew we would have to figure out a way to make some money and didn't really have a strong idea of how to do that," Fink said. Meanwhile, Vermont was becoming more expensive, and Fink said they "saw the writing on the wall" after the 2016 U.S. presidential election."We were sitting in one of our favorite cafes the night after the election and started looking through a local bilingual newspaper. We saw a place for sale and we said, 'Yeah, let's do this now,'" he recalled. With local mortgages difficult to obtain, Duberman's father helped them finance the purchase; he lives with them part of the year.They divested themselves of their Vermont property and moved to San Miguel with their 16-year-old son, who finished high school online (their older son is married and lives in the U.S.). The family has temporary residence that will roll over into permanent in three years. Duberman has a work permit that allows them to operate as Casa Papaya San Miguel, a bed-and-breakfast and dinner club. They still have time for leisure and getting to know their community."We can do theater, travel a bit, volunteer, really fill our lives with a variety of interests that we weren't able to pursue when we worked full time while raising kids and struggling to pay the higher bills in the U.S.," Fink said. The lower cost of living, coupled with their savings, made it possible to start the business."We are not saving anything, but we're healthy and I am confident that I can work until I can retire in six years," Duberman said.--Thinking of Moving Abroad? Here Are Five Things to Know Before You GoWith technology and online resources at your fingertips, and with similarly minded modern expatriates communicating and collaborating all over the world, it's never been easier to live in a foreign land. But packing it in entails more than packing your bags. From tax codes to residency restrictions to health care systems, each country offers a slightly different introduction to expatriate life.Daniela Coleman, 42, an American university administrator whose career has led her back and forth across the pond several times (she's now a resident in Bologna, Italy), has faced all of these logistical hurdles at one time or another. Her advice: Make sure you're ready. "A lot of people fantasize about living abroad, particularly after having a junior year abroad experience," she said. "But one has to figure out: How do I want to do it?"Here are five things you should consider before you make the move.1\. Vetting VisasAnyone who isn't marrying a foreigner and moving to that person's country must check the visa requirements in their destination. When Jennifer Ceaser, 51, a freelance travel writer, moved from the U.S. to Europe in 2016, she assumed she had a visa sponsor through a relative in Germany. When that fell through, she faced "a year of frustrating appointments and a bureaucratic nightmare" -- only to be denied. With the help of a lawyer, she made a second round of applications and finally got a two-year visa.The U.S. State Department recommends contacting the embassy or consulate of your destination country several months before you plan to move.2\. Health CareUnderstand the requirements for health insurance in your destination country and your status in your country of origin. If you're planning permanent residency, you may qualify for national coverage in that country. Or you may, as Cynthia Simmons did in Mexico, change insurance as circumstances dictate. In her 15 years in Mexico, the Atlanta native used an international policy and private insurance before becoming Medicare eligible."I am questioning it now and may decide to return to a Mexican policy because I can see doctors for a minimal expense," said Simmons, 70, noting it wasn't worth traveling back to the U.S. just for medical care. For those who are eligible for Medicare in the U.S., coverage may be affected by your plans to live outside the country permanently or in the short term. Medicareinteractive.org is an online resource that explains some of the likely scenarios.3\. School TestsIf you are relocating with children, explore options for public local schools and private "international schools" that cater to the needs of dual-culture families. Created by Gerardo Robledillo, an expat father, the International Schools Database is a directory with more than 2,000 schools in 71 countries. Families in Global Transition and Safe Passage Across Networks (SPAN) are resources for families needing assistance with the emotional transitions across cultures.4\. Banking and TaxesSet up as much banking online as possible for domestic fixed costs such as mortgages or other repayment loans. Set up local bank accounts for paying utilities and having cash on hand in your new home. You'll also have to file taxes in the U.S. for as long as you retain citizenship. If you plan to work in your new country, check the local tax requirements, based on earnings and origin of income. Many working American expatriates, like Ceaser, choose to work primarily with U.S. companies to simplify their filing obligations. Online services like TransferWise provide borderless transfer services with current exchange rates.5\. Staying ConnectedFor staying connected to family, friends and business back home, check with your phone carrier for international plans, particularly for restrictions on usage, or buy SIM cards in your inbound countries for local calling. For the long term, consider a separate foreign phone. Apps such as FaceTime and WhatsApp are cost-effective ways to stay in touch. Cloud services are increasingly being used not only for storing photos and music but also for keeping health records and other important personal data you may need to access but don't want to haul around.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company


  • February 23rd 2020 at 17:57

Philip Leder, Who Helped Decipher the Genetic Code, Dies at 85

By Nicholas Wade

Dr. Leder, who also discovered a genetic cause of cancer, said he got his best scientific ideas while listening to classical music.

Could weather hold the secret to history's greatest ghost ship mystery?

Could weather hold the secret to history's greatest ghost ship mystery?An illustration of the Mary Celeste. Credit: Unconfirmed, possibly Honore Pellegrin (1800-c.1870). The "one in a million" ghost ship Alta that washed up on the shores of Ballycotton in County Cork, Ireland, on Sunday amid Storm Dennis stirred up references to the unforgettable true story of the most famous maritime mystery of all time: the Mary Celeste and her missing crew.The ship's saga and the serpentine twists of fate before and after its discovery in December 1872 captivated both the people of that era and subsequent generations almost 150 years later as tales of giant sea creatures, aliens, a voodoo curse and more became a part of its lore. Acclaimed writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - before achieving fame as the creator of Sherlock Holmes - even contributed greatly to the myth and the confusion surrounding the Mary Celeste.No one knows exactly what happened to the captain, his wife and 2-year-old daughter, and the seven crew members who vanished mysteriously from a seaworthy, well-stocked 100-foot ship midjourney.That includes Brian Hicks, author of an exhaustive, captivating book called Ghost Ship - but he has a theory and it doesn't include a giant kraken."It's a lot more entertaining to imagine that it was a giant squid or a UFO" that took those on board, Hicks told AccuWeather. "I just kept running across [those stories]."The lure of the seaAt a time when high-speed travel was limited to horses and the Wright brothers' first flight was still more than 30 years into the future, the sea offered sailors access to far-away lands, unimaginable sights and adventure. The sea also offered enormous uncertainty, and shipwrecks were relatively common.But that's not what happened to the Mary Celeste, which set sail from New York destined for Genoa, Italy. Instead, it was found floating adrift by a passing ship on Dec. 2, 1872. The last log entry on Nov. 25 was at 8 a.m. when the ship was 6 miles from an island in the Azores and revealed no signs of trouble.The crew members of the Dei Gratia who boarded the Mary Celeste found a ship capable of sailing and a cargo hold full of alcohol - likely the industrial or medical variety, not suitable for drinking - and the crew decided to claim her for salvage, expecting a substantial payoff for their efforts.They got a trial instead, as rumors of murder and an insurance scam were pursued. Ultimately the captain and crew of the Dei Gratia were cleared of wrongdoing but their reputations were tarnished.The sailors of the Dei Gratia believed weather factored into the Mary Celeste's fate, but that was an argument that "garnered little publicity because it was so common and devoid of criminal activity, which would make it unattractive to editors trying to sell newspapers," Hicks wrote in Ghost Ship.But their theory was too simplistic and didn't explain why foul weather wasn't recorded in the log or why the captain and crew would leave a 100-foot ship for an 18-foot skiff in foul weather conditions.In the ensuing years, other possibilities about the Mary Celeste's fate were floated, including the possibility of mutiny and piracy. Also, a wide range of hoaxes popped up, with Conan Doyle sparking controversy and intrigue that never went away. This undated photograph of the Mary Celeste shows the ship in an unidentified harbor in the days after those aboard disappeared. (Cumberland County Museum, Amherst, N.S.) His short story, "J. Habakuk Jephson's Statement" appeared in the January 1884 edition of London's prestigious fiction publication Cornhill Magazine. It was based on the word of a supposed survivor of the Mary Celeste, who "claimed the ship's crew and passengers were systematically killed on the trip across the Atlantic," Hicks wrote.The story was fiction in a fiction journal, but it was taken as fact by many - "which is hysterical by today's standards, but that's how they took it," Hicks told AccuWeather - and governments in two countries launched separate investigations into the story. As Hicks writes, perhaps the story "spread so quickly through seaports on both sides of the Atlantic because it was the first thing resembling a clue to turn up in 11 years."Hicks, however, offers a theory that, while not as compelling as others' wild ideas, seems far more likely, and weather plays a role. "I think a lot of these things can be explained by the weather," Hicks told AccuWeather. "If you've ever been out on a ship, it can be pretty rough."Alcohol in the hold - "probably some sort of industrial chemical," he wrote in Ghost Ship - had leaked out from nine barrels during the trip. "If 450 gallons of methanol or formaldehyde were poured into the ship's hold, it could have had serious physiological effects on the crew," Hicks writes.Because of harsh weather, the hold had been closed for two weeks. The captain "was in a dilemma," Hicks writes. "He had the vapors of an industrial chemical seeping from the hold and no breeze to stir the air....There was little they could do for relief, but get off the ship until it passed."That would explain why every hatch, door and window was opened, and why key papers, valuables and the logbook were left behind: "Because they expected to come back," Hicks wrote.Hicks thinks everyone on the Mary Celeste piled into the 18-foot lifeboat, secured a towline to the ship and expected to wait for a short duration while the sea air worked its magic on the odious ship.But "two small mistakes, coupled with a tragic coincidence, led to their doom," Hicks writes. First, some of the sails were left unfurled and the ship's wheel was not secured hard to port or starboard. Then, at some point while they waited, "a new weather pattern stirred."Conditions changed "quickly and dramatically" as a gale blew in and "churned the Atlantic into a healthy storm....The crew of the Mary Celeste would have been in a tug of war to draw their lifeboat back to the ship."At some point, the towline broke. The crew of the Dei Gratia who discovered the Mary Celeste found the rope hanging over the gunwales, but had not realized it was a towline and figured it was just a snapped line that they then used to rig the mainsail.According to Hicks's theory in his book, those in the lifeboat "watched helplessly as the Ghost Ship sailed away without a soul on board."Keep checking back on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.


  • February 23rd 2020 at 14:25

Microbes Point the Way to Shipwrecks

By Katherine Kornei

Distinct microbiomes flourish around sunken ships as they become artificial reefs, new research in the Gulf of Mexico reveals.

2 Of Paris Climate Negotiators Lay Out 2 Scenarios In Their New Book

By Lulu Garcia-Navarro

NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro speaks with climate scientists Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac about their new book, "The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis."

  • February 23rd 2020 at 13:19

South Korea Raises Threat Alert Level

The move empowers the government to lock down cities, as Italy imposes its own regional lockdown and cases rise in Iran.

Private jet demand surges in wake of coronavirus outbreak

Rise comes as airlines slash flights and warnings increase over spread of disease

  • February 23rd 2020 at 06:00

AI discovers antibiotic that kills even highly resistant bacteria

AI discovers antibiotic that kills even highly resistant bacteriaThe use of AI to discover medicine appears to be paying off. MIT scientists have revealed that their AI discovered an antibiotic compound, halicin (named after 2001's HAL 9000), that can not only kill many forms of resistant bacteria but do so in a novel way. Where many antibiotics are slight spins on existing medicine, halicin wipes out bacteria by wrecking their ability to maintain the electrochemical gradient necessary to produce energy-storing molecules. That's difficult for bacteria to withstand -- E. coli didn't develop any resistance in 30 days where it fought off the more conventional antibiotic cipofloxacin within three days.


  • February 23rd 2020 at 03:40
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