Escaping the Flames near Malibu.

Malibu, California
Gabi and Jonah Frank walk on Pacific Coast highway as the Woolsey Fire threatens their home in Malibu.
At least nine people died after a northern California wildfire incinerated most of a town of about 30,000 people, authorities said.
Only a day after the fast-moving fire began, the blaze near the town of Paradise had grown to nearly 140 sq miles and had destroyed about 6,500 structures.
Three bodies were found outside their homes, one inside a home and several in cars, said the Butte county sheriff, Kory Honea.
Image Credit: Photograph by Eric Thayer/Reuters
Source: The 20 photographs of the week | Art and design | The Guardian

Those ‘Mongrel’ Cane Toads.


The much maligned venomous cane toads earned their bad reputation shortly after being released into the Australian ecology in 1935 with the hope that they would control the destructive cane beetle population.
They turned out to be failures at controlling beetles, but remarkably successful at reproducing and spreading themselves.
About 3,000 cane toads were released in the sugarcane plantations of north Queensland in 1935.
They now number well into the millions, and their still expanding range covers thousands of square miles in northeastern Australia.


Photo by Iрина Д. Ukraine Joined in 2015
They are considered pests, and government eradication efforts include asking residents to help collect and dispose of them.
Cane toads are large, stocky amphibians with dry, warty skin, and are native to the southern United States, Central America, and tropical South America.
Their numbers are manageable in their natural range, but they have thrived in Australia because there are few natural predators, they breed easily, and they have abundant food, including pet food, which they steal from feeding bowls left outside of homes.
via Cane Toads, Cane Toad Pictures, Cane Toad Facts – National Geographic.

In 1918 the Spanish Flu took 50 Million lives.

1918-flu-epidemic-mystery_79132_990x742Scientists have announced that they may have solved one of history’s biggest biomedical mysteries—why the deadly 1918 “Spanish flu” pandemic, which killed perhaps 50 million people worldwide, largely targeted healthy young adults.
The explanation turns out to be surprisingly simple: People born after 1889 were not exposed as kids to the kind of flu that struck in 1918, leaving them uniquely vulnerable.
Older people, meanwhile, had been exposed to flu strains more closely related to the 1918 flu, offering some immunity.
Simply put, the Spanish flu owed its ferocity to a switch in dominant influenza varieties that had occurred a generation earlier. (Related: “1918 Flu That Killed 50 Million Originated in China.”)
“All a matter of timing,” says virologist Vincent Racaniello of Columbia University in New York, who was not part of the study.
Researchers involved in the study looked at the evolutionary history of the components of the 1918 flu, which was built of genes from human and avian flu strains. They unraveled the history of dominant flu strains stretching back to 1830.
The evolutionary biologists found that a worldwide 1889 outbreak of the so-called Russian flu, the H3N8 flu virus, left a generation of children that had not been exposed to anything resembling the Spanish flu, which was an H1N1 strain.
(The H and N in the flu designation stand for proteins called hemagglutinin and neuraminidase, respectively).
The spread of a more closely related H1 flu variety after 1900 provided partial immunity to children born after that time. That closed the window of vulnerability.
“You have the most deadly flu pandemic in history essentially leaving the elderly, its most frequent victims, completely alone,” says biologist Michael Worobey of the University of Arizona in Tucson, who led the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences report.
Instead, people aged 18 to 29 died in droves during the outbreak, which killed about 1 in 200 of victims.
Experts have suggested that such a window of vulnerability partly explained the 1918 pandemic, Racaniello notes.
But the new study provides computational evidence that the 1918 flu’s precursor originated around 1907, he says, and explains how the window of vulnerability opened and closed for the disease.
Read on further via Mystery of 1918 Flu That Killed 50 Million Solved?.

The Tragedy of the Seas, 1841.

The Tragedy of the Seas; or, Sorrow on the Ocean, Lake, and River, from Shipwreck, Plague, Fire and Famine, by Charles Ellms; 1841; New York, Collins, Keese & Co.
What can convey a more exalted idea of human daring and fortitude, than the boldness with which man rushes forth to encounter the storms and waves of those two mighty elements, the air and ocean?
What can speak louder in praise of human ingenuity, than the wonderful art by which he is enabled to boldly steer from the land until it fades in the horizon, and nothing is to be seen but the heavenly concave above and a watery waste around him ?

So asks Charles Ellms in the preface to The Tragedy of the Seas, a book which, as its title suggests, is dedicated to the times when such waterborne adventures go wrong — a colourful compendium of thirty-seven nautical catastrophes that took place in bodies of water around the world between 1803 and 1840.
We read of ships wrecked on coral reefs, capsized in hurricanes, and reduced to cinders after lightning strikes.
The celebrated French navigator De Blosseville sails on a voyage of discovery to the Arctic Ocean never to return.
A steamer violently explodes on the Ohio River killing dozens. The most fatal involves 116 starving passengers freezing to death on the barque Mexico after it was stranded off Long Island in January 1837.
There is enough pulsating action, compelling characterisation, and technical information in the book’s 432 pages to keep your average deckhand entertained for an entire Atlantic crossing.
The writer of the book, Charles Ellms, was a Boston stationer and author of three other popular adventure books including The Pirates Own Book (1837) and Robinson Crusoe’s Own Book (1842). In his introduction to The Tragedy of the Seas Ellms declares that “The Narratives that follow are plain, true, and unvarnished; and if the hand that guided the rudder in the hour of misfortune was prevented, by the physical elements, from steering a correct course, nothing has prevented truth, that moral magnet of the mind, from invariably guiding the survivor in his narration.
” Some modern readers are less certain than Ellms about his magnetic relationship to truth. Boyd Childress, writing for Williams College, Connecticut, believes he was never shy of embellishment: “It is difficult to determine where accuracy ends and Ellms begins.”
Source: The Tragedy of the Seas (1841) – The Public Domain Review

Spectacular Crash at Belgian F1 Grand Prix.

McLaren’s Spanish driver Fernando Alonso (in air) crashes over Sauber F1’s Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc during the first lap of the Belgian Formula One Grand Prix at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Spa on August 26, 2018.
Image Credit: Photograph by John Thys / AFP / Getty.
Source: Photos of the Week: Bog Snorkeling, Air Guitar, Canadian Calf – The Atlantic