Ruminations

Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Before doomed voyage, victim of HMS Bounty sinking called parents to say she ‘loved what she was doing’

Harriet McLeod, Reuters | Oct 30, 2012 11:48 PM ET | Last Updated: Oct 30, 2012 11:52 PM ET
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Petty Officer 2nd Class Tim Kuklewski/ /U.S. Coast Guard via Getty
Petty Officer 2nd Class Tim Kuklewski/ /U.S. Coast Guard via Getty The HMS Bounty, a 180-foot sailboat, is submerged in the Atlantic Ocean during Hurricane Sandy approximately 150 km southeast of Hatteras, North Carolina, on Monday.
 
Claudene Christian was thrilled to join the crew of the replica ship HMS Bounty, embarking on a voyage that ultimately ended in tragedy with her death Monday.
Facebook   Claudene Christian, 42, has been identified as the woman who died after the HMS Bounty sank.
 
The Alaska-born woman was a direct descendant of Fletcher Christian, leader of the British sailors who mutineed against the tyranny of Captain William Bligh on a voyage to Tahiti more than 200 years earlier.

His five-times great-granddaughter signed up with Captain Robin Willbridge in May to help sail the three-masted square rigger.

“My new home 4 a few yrs! So excited!” she tweeted on May 15, three days after announcing she was joining the Bounty crew for a 21-port sail down the East Coast from Nova Scotia, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The ship was featured in the 1962 film Mutiny on the Bounty and two of the Pirates of the Caribbean films.

With 14 other crew, Ms. Christian left New London, Conn., on Thursday. The plan was to sail to the Bounty’s winter berth in St. Petersburg, Fla.

But Hurricane Sandy caught up with them when they were about 145 kilometres off Cape Hatteras, N.C.

After the craft was swamped by six-metre waves, Capt. Willbridge gave the order to abandon ship at about 4:30 a.m.

Ms. Christian, who was one of the last to leave, was washed from the deck before she could join the rest of the crew in the lifeboats.
Facebook  A photo taken from Claudene Christian's Facebook page shows her on the HMS Bounty.
 
Her unresponsive body was plucked from the water later in the day and taken to hospital, where doctors were unable to revive her.

Her mother Claudene Christian said her daughter called her before the ship set sail.

“She says, ‘We’re heading out and I just wanted to tell you and Dad that I love you,’ ” the mother told Canadian Broadcasting Corp. from her home in Vian, Okla.

“And I said, ‘What are you saying that for?’ And she said, ‘Just in case something happens.’ ”

“She was truly and genuinely happy and loved the Bounty and loved what she was doing — and wanted us to know that just in case she went down with the ship,” the mother added.

The 42-year-old woman studied at the University of South California.
Friends in Hermosa Beach, Calif., remembered her as a 5-foot-2 stick of dynamite. She was part-owner of a bar for a while and sang in a band.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Tim Kuklewski/ /U.S. Coast Guard via Getty Images In this handout image supplied by the US Coast Guard, The HMS Bounty, a 180-foot sailboat, is submerged in the Atlantic Ocean during Hurricane Sandy approximately 90 miles southeast of Hatteras, North Carolina, on October 29. 
 
She moved to Oklahoma last year to live with her parents.

Even before the trip, some crew wondered if it was wise to set sail.

“This will be a tough voyage for Bounty,” read a posting on the ship’s Facebook page that showed a map of its co-ordinates and satellite images of the storm.

As Sandy’s massive size became more apparent, a post on Saturday tried to soothe any worried supporters: “Rest assured that the Bounty is safe and in very capable hands. Bounty’s current voyage is a calculated decision … NOT AT ALL … irresponsible or with a lack of foresight as some have suggested. The fact of the matter is … A SHIP IS SAFER AT SEA THAN IN PORT!”

With files from The Associated Press and news services

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As part of Istanbul's modernization push, the government wants to kick its dogs off the streets and into parks. Some city residents are howling. 

By Alexander Christie-MillerCorrespondent / October 31, 2012
 
Istanbul
Few aspects of Istanbul's government-driven gentrification efforts have caused as much angst as a scheme to do away with the city's legions of stray dogs and cats.

In recent weeks, several thousand people have marched through Istanbul and other Turkish cities in protest of a draft law that envisions the rounding up and relocation of stray animals to specially-created "natural habitat parks."                

The law pits efforts to revamp the booming city against a mindset that remains strong within older districts, where street animals are seen as legitimate denizens of the city.

"These are the neighborhood's dogs," says Hamit Yilmaz Ozcan, as he sits with Chico, an elderly Alsatian, and Hercule, his younger, rust-colored companion, two strays that reside near his clothing shop in the neighborhood of Cukurcuma.

"They protect us and everyone loves them."

The government has expressed bafflement at the hostility, insisting its aim is to protect strays from the danger and hunger they face on the streets.

Authorities say the dogs and cats will be fed and cared for at the new "habitat parks" situated on city outskirts, where they will be visited by school children and available for adoption.

"The proposed law aims to make animals live," the Ministry of Forestry and Water, which drafted the bill, said in a statement last month. "The aim is to prevent bad treatment of animals, clarify institutional responsibilities, and to strengthen the mechanisms of animal ownership.”

Currently Turkey's strays are rounded up by municipal authorities, who generally vaccinate and spay or neuter them before releasing them back onto the streets with ear tags.

Animal rights activists are suspicious of government motives.

“The intention is to massacre these animals in a place where people will not see it,” says Emel Yildiz, a film actress and one of Turkey’s most prominent animal rights activists.

Street animals have been a part of Turkish culture for generations, and many Istanbul residents believe they have as much right to inhabit the streets as humans.

In the central Beyoglu district, a shopping and nightlife hub popular with tourists, stray dogs and cats are a fixture of the crowded, narrow streets. They are fed and often groomed by local businesses and residents. Some even become local celebrities.

One such character is Nazli, an obese Rottweiler mongrel who spends her days waddling between cafés, butchers, and fishmongers off Istiklal, the city’s busiest shopping street.

“Everyone loves her,” says Kubilay Bircan a café worker on Hazzo Pulo Passage, where Nazli often sleeps at night. “The shopkeepers feed her with different things: fish and meat mainly. We all take care of her,” he says.

Four years ago, local tradesmen, concerned about the length of her toe nails, wrestled Nazli to the ground so a veterinarian could clip them, recalls Rita Cindoyan, a shopkeeper in the passage. “You couldn’t just take [Nazli] to a new place because she has been here all her life and she is looked after,” she says.

At Coskun butcher’s shop in the nearby Fish Bazaar, where Nazli is better known as Zehra, manager Ibrahim Ersoy is blunt about the proposed law.

“We would not let it happen,” he said. “In our language we have a saying that the one who doesn’t love animals can’t love people.”

Opponents of the latest scheme see echoes of the "Great Dog Massacre of 1910," an event embedded in the city’s folklore. Ottoman authorities rounded up most of Istanbul’s 60,000 stray dogs and dumped them on the deserted island of Sivriada, a tooth of rock that lies in the nearby Marmara Sea. The dogs slowly starved to death.
 
That cull too took place amid a campaign to modernize the city, and was met with fierce resistance. The Western-oriented Young Turk government wanted to "Europeanize" Istanbul, and saw the strays as an embarrassment.
The government has even grander ambitions today: to make the city into a global hub, like New York or Tokyo. Turkey is riding high after a decade of economic growth in which per capita income tripled. A wave of urban renewal schemes in Istanbul and other major cities have seen vibrant, ramshackle neighborhoods razed and replaced with luxury housing projects, while former inhabitants have been shunted to tower blocks on the urban fringe.

“Strays are often seen as representing tradition or backwardness and associated with poor communities,” says Chris Pearson, a historian at the University of Liverpool who is studying the urban history of dogs. “For a city to appear modern, it must have clean, orderly streets, where shoppers and businessmen are not harassed by strays.”

In Paris and London, the tide turned against street dogs in the mid-1800s, fueled mainly by modern ideas of public health, but also by other factors, including the rise of pet ownership. But many people fear the changes are destroying a traditional social fabric, of which street animals form a part.

“Istanbul is going through a huge modernization, and in the new living spaces, animals don’t have a place,” says Tolga Sezkin, a photographer who cares for several street dogs.

Minister of Forestry and Water Veysel Eroglu, whose department is responsible for the draft law, argues that the proposal is more humane than practices in many other countries.

“This law does not aim to kill and destroy animals. Rather it aims to keep them alive,” he said, according to Turkish newspaper Sabah.

“In the Western countries animals are killed in these kind of places,” he said, referring to the proposed "habitat parks." “For us such a course is not an option."

The ministry also pointed out that the draft law includes measures that would criminalize the abuse and torture of animals for the first time in Turkey.

The bill has supporters. “There are too many [strays],” says Abdullah Yilmaz, 64, who sells simit – traditional Turkish bagels – from a stall on Istiklal Street.

“I walk 50 meters from my home to the bus stop every morning, and 10 dogs follow me. They are annoying for tourists. When there is a big group of dogs I can see them get scared.”

The furor has prompted an indefinite postponement of the parliamentary vote on the draft law, but the street animals' patrons are already taking precautions against a possible round up.

Two weeks ago in Cukurcuma, Mr. Ozcan fitted Chico and Hercule with new collars bearing their names.

“If they come and grab them in the night when no one’s around, they will see the collars and think twice,” he hopes.

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Stair-climbing amputee to test drive bionic leg all the way to the top of Chicago skyscraper

AP Photo/Brian Kersey
AP Photo/Brian Kersey Zac Vawter, fitted with an experimental "bionic" leg, is silhouetted on the Ledge at the Willis Tower in Chicago. Vawter is training for the world's tallest stair-climbing event where he'll attempt to climb 103 flights to the top of theWillis Tower using the new prosthesis.
 
CHICAGO — Zac Vawter considers himself a test pilot. After losing his right leg in a motorcycle accident, the 31-year-old software engineer signed up to become a research subject, helping to test a trailblazing prosthetic leg that’s controlled by his thoughts.

He will put this groundbreaking “bionic” leg to the ultimate test Sunday when he attempts to climb 103 flights of stairs to the top of Chicago’s Willis Tower, one of the world’s tallest skyscrapers.
AP Photo/Brian Kersey   Zac Vawter practices walking with an experimental "bionic" leg at the 
Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.
 
If all goes well, he’ll make history with the bionic leg’s public debut. His whirring, robotic leg will respond to electrical impulses from muscles in his hamstring. Vawter will think, “Climb stairs,” and the motors, belts and chains in his leg will synchronize the movements of its ankle and knee. Vawter hopes to make it to the top in an hour, longer than it would’ve taken before his amputation, less time than it would take with his normal prosthetic leg — or, as he calls it, his “dumb” leg.

A team of researchers will be cheering him on and noting the smart leg’s performance. When Vawter goes home to Yelm, Washington, where he lives with his wife and two children, the experimental leg will stay behind in Chicago. Researchers will continue to refine its steering. Taking it to the market is still years away.
AP Photo/Brian Kersey  Dr. Levi Hargrove, lead researcher for the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago's 
Center for Bionic Medicine, holds an experimental "bionic" prosthetic leg at the institute. 
 
“Somewhere down the road, it will benefit me and I hope it will benefit a lot of other people as well,” Vawter said about the research at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

“Bionic” — or thought-controlled — prosthetic arms have been available for a few years, thanks to pioneering work done at the Rehabilitation Institute. With leg amputees outnumbering people who’ve lost arms and hands, the Chicago researchers are focusing more on lower limbs. Safety is important. If a bionic hand fails, a person drops a glass of water. If a bionic leg fails, a person falls down stairs.
The Willis Tower climb will be the bionic leg’s first test in the public eye, said lead researcher Levi Hargrove of the institute’s Center for Bionic Medicine. The climb, called “SkyRise Chicago,” is a fundraiser for the institute with about 2,700 people climbing. This is the first time the climb has played a role in the facility’s research.
AP Photo/Brian Kersey   Zac Vawter kicks a soccer ball with an experimental "bionic" leg as 
 biomedical student Aaron Young makes adjustments to the leg at the Rehabilitation Institute 
of Chicago.
 
To prepare, Vawter and the scientists have spent hours adjusting the leg’s movements. On one recent day, 11 electrodes placed on the skin of Vawter’s thigh fed data to the bionic leg’s microcomputer. The researchers turned over the “steering” to Vawter.

He kicked a soccer ball, walked around the room and climbed stairs. The researchers beamed.
Vawter likes the bionic leg. Compared to his regular prosthetic, it’s more responsive and more fluid. As an engineer, he enjoys learning how the leg works.

It started with surgery in 2009. When Vawter’s leg was amputated, a surgeon repositioned the residual spaghetti-like nerves that normally would carry signals to the lower leg and sewed them to new spots on his hamstring. That would allow Vawter one day to be able to use a bionic leg, even though the technology was years away.
AP Photo/Brian Kersey   Biomedical engineer Annie Simon, left, and research prosthetist Elizabeth
 Halsne fit an experimental "bionic" prosthetic leg on Zac Vawter at the Rehabilitation Institute of 
Chicago. 
 
The surgery is called “targeted muscle reinnervation” and it’s like “rewiring the patient,” Hargrove said. “And now when he just thinks about moving his ankle, his hamstring moves and we’re able to tell the prosthesis how to move appropriately.”

To one generation it sounds like “The Six Million Dollar Man,” a 1970s TV show featuring a rebuilt hero. A younger generation may think of Luke Skywalker’s bionic hand.

But Hargrove’s inspiration came not from fiction, but from his fellow Canadian Terry Fox, who attempted a cross-country run on a regular artificial leg to raise money for cancer research in 1980.
AP Photo/Brian Kersey   Physical therapist assistant Suzanne Finucane, right, helps Zac Vawter as he 
practices walking with an experimental "bionic" leg at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. 
 
“I’ve run marathons, and when you’re in pain, you just think about Terry Fox who did it with a wooden leg and made it halfway across Canada before cancer returned,” Hargrove said.

Experts not involved in the project say the Chicago research is on the leading edge. Most artificial legs are passive. “They’re basically fancy wooden legs,” said Daniel Ferris of the University of Michigan. Others have motorized or mechanical components but don’t respond to the electrical impulses caused by thought.

“This is a step beyond the state of the art,” Ferris said. “If they can achieve it, it’s very noteworthy and suggests in the next 10 years or so there will be good commercial devices out there.”
The $8-million (C6-million) project is funded by the U.S. Department of Defence and involves Vanderbilt University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Rhode Island and the University of New Brunswick.
AP Photo/Brian Kersey   Suzanne Finucane, a physical therapist assistant, right, and prothetist Robert
Lipschutz, top, attach electrodes to Zac Vawter's leg as he is fitted with an experimental "bionic" leg at
the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. 
 
Vawter and the Chicago researchers recently took the elevator to the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower to see the view after an afternoon of work in the lab. Hargrove and Vawter bantered in the elevator in anticipation of Sunday’s event.

At the top, Vawter stood on a glass balcony overlooking the city. The next time he heads to the top, he and the bionic leg will take the stairs.
AP Photo/Brian Kersey   Zac Vawter, fitted with an experimental "bionic" leg, looks down from the
 Ledge at the Willis Tower in Chicago.

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After the Devastation, a Daunting Recovery

The New York Times - 31 October 2012

Shannon Stapleton/Reuters
Keith Klein and Eileen Blair among homes destroyed by fire in the Breezy Point section of Queens. More Photos »
The New York region began the daunting process on Tuesday of rebuilding in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, a storm that remade the landscape and rewrote the record books as it left behind a tableau of damage, destruction and grief.
Multimedia

The toll — in lives disrupted or lost and communities washed out — was staggering. A rampaging fire reduced more than 100 houses to ash in Breezy Point, Queens. Explosions and downed power lines left the lower part of Manhattan and 90 percent of Long Island in the dark. The New York City subway system — a lifeline for millions — was paralyzed by flooded tunnels and was expect to remain silent for days. 

Accidents claimed more than 40 lives in the United States and Canada, including 22 in the city. Two boys — an 11-year-old Little League star and a 13-year-old friend — were killed when a 90-foot-tall tree smashed into the family room of a house in North Salem, N.Y. An off-duty police officer who led seven relatives, including a 15-month-old boy, to safety in the storm drowned when he went to check on the basement. 

On Tuesday, the storm slogged toward the Midwest, vastly weaker than it was when it made landfall in New Jersey on Monday night. It delivered rain and high winds all the way to the Great Lakes, where freighters were at a standstill in waves two stories tall. It left snow in Appalachia, power failures in Maine and untreated sewage pouring into the Patuxent River in Maryland after a treatment plant lost power. 

President Obama approved disaster declarations for New York and New Jersey, making them eligible for federal assistance for rebuilding. “All of us have been shocked by the force of mother nature,” said the president, who plans to visit New Jersey on Wednesday. He promised “all available resources” for recovery efforts. 

“This is going to take some time,” he said. “It is not going to be easy for these communities to recover.” 

There was no immediate estimate of the losses from the storm, but the scope of the damage — covering more than a half-dozen states — pointed to billions of dollars. Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey called it “incalculable.” 

Rescuers looked for survivors in the wet rubble in places like Atlantic City, and state and local officials surveyed wreckage. Utility crews began working their way through a wilderness of fallen trees and power lines. And from Virginia to Connecticut, there were stories of tragedy and survival — of people who lost everything when the water rushed in, of buildings that crumbled after being pounded hour after hour by rain and relentless wind, of hospitals that had to be evacuated when the storm knocked out the electricity. 

The president spoke with 20 governors and mayors on a conference call, and the White House said the president would survey damage from the storm with Mr. Christie on Wednesday. Mr. Obama’s press secretary said the president would join Mr. Christie, who has been one of his harshest Republican critics, in talking with storm victims and thanking first responders. 

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said Mr. Obama had also offered to visit the city, “but I think the thing for him to do is to go to New Jersey and represent the country.” 

Connecticut, New Jersey and New York reopened many closed roads and bridges, and the New York Stock Exchange made plans to resume floor trading on Wednesday after a two-day shutdown, its first because of weather since a blizzard in 1888. 

There were no traffic signals on the walk from Fifth Avenue to the East River. Police officers were directing traffic; here and there, bodegas were open, selling batteries and soft drinks. In Times Square, a few tourists walked around, though some hotels still had sandbags by the doors. 

Mr. Bloomberg said 7,000 trees had been knocked down in city parks. “Stay away from city parks,” he said. “They are closed until further notice.” 

The mayor also said that trick-or-treating was fine for Halloween, but the parade in Greenwich Village had been postponed. The organizers said it was the first time in the parade’s 39-year-history that it had been called off. 
 
New York’s subway network, which suffered the worst damage in its 108-year-history, faced one of its longest shutdowns because the problems were so much worse than expected, said Joseph J. Lhota, the chairman and chief executive of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the agency that runs the subways and several commuter railroads.

Water climbed to the ceiling of the South Ferry subway station, the end of the No. 1 line in Lower Manhattan, and debris covered tracks in stations up and down other lines after the water rushed in and out. Mr. Lhota said that seven subway tunnels between Manhattan and Brooklyn were flooded.
He also said that the Metro-North Railroad had no power north of 59th Street on two of its three lines, and that a 40-foot boat had washed up on the tracks in Ossining, N.Y. 

The Long Island Rail Road’s West Side Yards had to be evacuated, and two railroad tunnels beneath the East River were flooded in the storm. The railroad had not restored power on Tuesday and had no timetable for restoring service. The Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, officially the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel, and the Queens-Midtown Tunnel also remained impassable, he said. 

Airports, too, took a beating. More than 15,000 flights were canceled, and water poured onto the runways at Kennedy International Airport and La Guardia Airport, both in Queens. Officials made plans to reopen Kennedy, the larger of the two and a major departure point for international flights, on Wednesday. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said La Guardia would remain closed “because of extensive damage.” 

The flooding in the tunnels in Lower Manhattan was so serious that the Federal Emergency Management Agency asked specialists from the Army Corps of Engineers to help. The “unwatering team,” as it is known — two hydrologists and two mechanical engineers from the corps with experience in draining flooded areas — flew to the airport in White Plains because it was one of the few in the area that was open. 

Buses began running again on Tuesday afternoon, and the mayor ordered a ride-sharing program for taxis. He said more than 4,000 yellow cabs were on the streets by Tuesday afternoon. 

From southern New Jersey to the East End of Long Island to the northern suburbs in Connecticut, power companies spent Tuesday trying to figure out just how much damage the storm had done to their wires, transformers and substations. 

The work will take at least a week, possibly longer, because the damage was so extensive, and utility companies called in thousands of crews from all around the country to help out. Consolidated Edison reached to San Francisco to bring in 150 workers from Pacific Gas and Electric. 

Even with the additional manpower, Con Edison said it could still take more than 10 days to complete the repairs. Con Edison had more than 285,000 customers in Manhattan who were in the dark on Tuesday, and more than 185,000 in Westchester. 

Things were worse east of New York City, where nearly one million customers of the Long Island Power Authority did not have power on Tuesday and Mr. Cuomo made clear he wanted the authority to restore power faster than it had in the past. He said it was “not O.K.” for it to take two weeks to repair lines brought down by tree limbs. 

In New Jersey, Public Service Electric and Gas said it had 1.3 million electric customers in the dark, including 500,000 without power because a surge in Newark Bay flooded substations and other equipment. Another New Jersey utility, Jersey Central Power and Light, whose territory covers many shore towns, said almost all of its customers had lost power in some counties, including Ocean and Monmouth. More than one-third of Connecticut Light and Power’s 1.2 million customers had no electricity, either. 

The fire in Breezy Point, Queens, leveled scores of houses, among them one that belonged to Representative Bob Turner, who was riding out the storm at home despite the mayor’s order to evacuate low-lying areas. Mr. Turner’s spokeswoman, Jessica Proud, said he and his wife made it out safely after flames reached their house. Michael R. Long, the chairman of the state Conservative Party, had a home nearby that also burned down, she said. 

Flooded streets in the area prevented firefighters from reaching the blaze, a Fire Department spokesman said, and the mayor, who toured the area on Tuesday afternoon, said the neighborhood was devastated. 

“To describe it as looking like pictures we have seen at the end of World War II is not overstating it,” the mayor said. 

The off-duty officer who drowned in his basement was identified as Artur Kasprzak, 28, who was assigned to the First Precinct in Manhattan. He had led seven relatives upstairs to the attic as the water rose in his house on Doty Avenue on Staten Island. He said he was going to check the basement and would be right back. About 20 minutes later, one of his relatives called 911 and said he was missing. 

A rescue team with boats and motorized water scooters tried to answer the call but could not reach the house at first because power lines were in the water. His body was found shortly before sunrise.

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Europe's oldest prehistoric town unearthed in Bulgaria

BBC News online - 31 October 2012

A photo provided by the Bulgarian National Institute of Archaeology and taken on 26 September 2012 shows the remains of a small settlement made of two-storey houses near the town of Provadia in eastern Bulgaria The prehistoric town at Provadia features two-storey houses and a defensive wall
Archaeologists in Bulgaria say that have uncovered the oldest prehistoric town found to date in Europe.

The walled fortified settlement, near the modern town of Provadia, is thought to have been an important centre for salt production.

Its discovery in north-west Bulgaria may explain the huge gold hoard found nearby 40 years ago.
Archaeologists believe that the town was home to some 350 people and dates back to between 4700 and 4200 BC.

That is about 1,500 years before the start of ancient Greek civilisation.

The residents boiled water from a local spring and used it to create salt bricks, which were traded and used to preserve meat.

Salt was a hugely valuable commodity at the time, which experts say could help to explain the huge defensive stone walls which ringed the town.

Excavations at the site, beginning in 2005, have also uncovered the remains of two-storey houses, a series of pits used for rituals, as well as parts of a gate and bastion structures.

A small necropolis, or burial ground, was discovered at the site earlier this year and is still being studied by archaeologists.

"We are not talking about a town like the Greek city-states, ancient Rome or medieval settlements, but about what archaeologists agree constituted a town in the fifth millennium BC," Vasil Nikolov, a researcher with Bulgaria's National Institute of Archaeology, told the AFP news agency.

Archaeologist Krum Bachvarov from the institute said the latest find was "extremely interesting".
"The huge walls around the settlement, which were built very tall and with stone blocks... are also something unseen in excavations of prehistoric sites in south-east Europe so far," he told AFP.

Similar salt mines near Tuzla in Bosnia and Turda in Romania help prove the existence of a series of civilisations which also mined copper and gold in the Carpathian and Balkan mountains during the same period.

BBC Europe correspondent Nick Thorpe says this latest discovery almost certainly explains the treasure found exactly 40 years ago at a cemetery on the outskirts of Varna, 35km (21 miles) away, the oldest hoard of gold objects found anywhere in the world.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Bananas could replace potatoes in warming world

Bananas on the way to market from the Mount Kenya region Bananas could take the place of potatoes in some developing countries
Climate change could lead to bananas becoming a critical food source for millions of people, a new report says.

Researchers from the CGIAR agricultural partnership say the fruit might replace potatoes in some developing countries.

Cassava and the little known cowpea plant could play increasingly important roles in agriculture as temperatures rise.

People will have to adapt to new and varied menus as traditional crops struggle say the authors.
"When the farmers see the problems they are having with production, they really are willing to shift”
Bruce Campbell CCAFS
 
Responding to a request from the United Nations' committee on world food security, a group of experts in the field looked at the projected effects of climate change on 22 of the world's most important agricultural commodities.

They predict that the world's three biggest crops in terms of calories provided - maize, rice and wheat - will decrease in many developing countries.

They suggest that the potato, which grows best in cooler climates, could also suffer as temperatures increase and weather becomes more volatile.

The authors argue that these changes "could provide an opening for cultivating certain varieties of bananas" at higher altitudes, even in those places that currently grow potatoes.

Dr Philip Thornton is one of those behind the report. He told BBC News that while bananas also have limiting factors, they may be a good substitute for potatoes in certain locations

"It's not necessarily a silver bullet but there may be places where as temperatures increase, bananas might be one option that small holders could start to look at."
Cassava Cassava could help meet food needs in South Asia

The report describes wheat as the world's most important plant derived protein and calories source.
But according to this research, wheat will face a difficult future in the developing world where higher prices for cotton, maize and soybeans have pushed wheat to marginal land, making it more vulnerable to stresses induced by climate change.

One substitute, especially in South Asia, could be cassava which can tolerate a range of climate stresses.

But how easy will it be to get people to adjust to new crops and new diets?

Bruce Campbell is program director of the climate change, agriculture and food security research group (CCAFS) which co-ordinates work among leading institutions around the world. He told BBC News that the types of changes that will happen in the future have already happened in the past.
"Two decades ago there was almost no rice consumption in certain areas of Africa, now there is. People have changed because of the pricing, it's easier to get, it's easier to cook. I think those sort of shifts do occur and I think they will in future."

One of the big concerns among researchers is how to tackle the need for protein in the diet. Soybeans are one of the most common sources but are very susceptible to temperature changes.

The scientists say that the cowpea, which is known in sub-Saharan Africa as the "poor man's meat" is drought tolerant and prefers warmer weather and could be a reasonable alternative to soya. The vines of the cowpea can also be used as a feed for livestock.

In some countries, including Nigeria and Niger, farmers have already moved away from cotton production to growing cowpeas.

There are also likely to be developments animal protein sources says the report including a shift from to smaller livestock.

This is an example of something that's happening already," says Bruce Campbell. "There's been quite a shift from cattle keeping to goat keeping in southern Africa in face of droughts - when the farmers see the problems they are having with production, they really are willing to shift.

"Change is really possible. It's not just a crazy notion."

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What Indeed Was He Thinking...?

The Costa Concordia, on its side near Giglio Porto, Italy is the largest passenger shipwreck by tonnage ever to be recorded.  It ran aground, all 950-feet of it, off the Tuscan island of Giglio last January under the expert guidance of its captain, Francesco Schettino.  The unfortunate occurrence in which the cruise liner crashed into giant granite undersea outcrops, marked the death of 32 people.

And its captain, a braggart, coward and noted womanizer, charged with manslaughter.  He, needless to say, counters with professions of innocence.  At the start of a routine week-long cruise of the Mediterranean Captain Schettino was set on a "sail-past" course of the port, a little bit of braggadocio in which he engaged, and which he quite obviously mismanaged.

The liner with its 4,2000 passengers and crew was mortally wounded, taking on water as a result of a giant hole opened in its hull.
"Costa Concordia"-Unglueck schadet Kreuzfahrtbranche nicht dauerhaft
The Costa Concordia cruise ship near the harbour of Giglio Porto. (Joern Haufe / AP Photo)
His reckless manoeuvring was compounded by charges of abandoning ship, ignoring the ages-old maritime custom of honour of a captain remaining with his ship.  And attending zealously to the safety and disembarkation of his passengers.  The charges are unfair and do not reflect reality, the captain contends.  The simple truth is, he contends, he haplessly tripped into a lifeboat.

The charges levelled against the man and to which he has yet to answer in a court of justice is of having abandoned ship after causing a shipwreck and responsibility for manslaughter.  Now attention has been turned to removing the carcase of a once-proud vessel, towing it to a demolition shipyard.  An immense enterprise, for the ship is the size of a large apartment block.

And the cost estimated to be in the range of $400-million.  A dozen countries have offered up the services of their marine rescue specialists.  A team of 450 of the world's most reliable salvage technicians will be involved in this project to persuade the ship from the seabed on which it reclines, so it can be towed to a site in Italy where it will be disassembled.

Pillars will be placed upon the granite seabed for a base the size of a football field to be built in sections to create an area on which to roll the ship without fracturing it.  Fifteen enormous steel tanks are to be bolted to its seaward side. "The biggest are 32 metres long.  They weigh 500 tons and to get them lined up exactly so that we can weld them on is no small feat."

"This operation is pushing the boundaries of marine technology.  There is no other job this size in the world", explained Capt. Peter Bouchard, a British master mariner.  Part of this formidably difficult task is filling sacks with close to 18,000 tons of cement which, as a result of access difficulty must be filled by hand by a team of 100 drivers working around the clock.

"With a ship of that size, you'd start to get nervous if you were within a couple of nautical miles of the island.  For him to get so close - I just can't comprehend what he was thinking", mused one of the salvagers.
The captain of the Costa Concordia, Francesco Schettino, leaves a Grosseto court on October 15. Schettino defended his actions at a pre-trial court hearing on Thursday that recalled the terrifying night of a cruise ship tragedy that claimed 32 lives.
The captain of the Costa Concordia, Francesco Schettino, leaves a Grosseto court on October 15. Schettino defended his actions at a pre-trial court hearing on Thursday that recalled the terrifying night of a cruise ship tragedy that claimed 32 lives.

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Culture in figures: Nordics most engaged

 

BRUSSELS - Compared to people from other parts of Europe, Scandinavians are the most inclined to spend their time and money on culture.
  • The Swedes and the Finns have the most artists and creative writers as a share of population (Photo: Steve Rhodes)

    The Danes are the biggest spenders. Some 5.5 percent of everything they spend goes into books, films, and other things cultural. They go the cinema more often than any other nation in the EU. In 2006, less than half of Europeans went to see a movie at least once.



On spending, the Danes are followed by the Finns and the Czechs, whose “share of cultural expenditure in total household expenditure,” according to the EU’s latest figures, amounts to five percent each. On average in the EU, that number is around four percent.

The Danes are also among the most creative in the EU, together with the Swedes, the Finns and the Latvians. The Swedes and the Finns boast the most artists and creative writers as a share of population.

But it is non-EU members Iceland and Norway who steal the show. Some 3.2 and 2.6 percent of their workforce, respectively, is employed in the cultural sector. The EU average is 1.7 percent.

The Danes are not, however, the most often enrolled in art school. Instead, it is the British and the Irish who top the bill. Of all university students there, some 6.8 and 6.6 percent respectively study the arts, compared to 3.8 percent on average in the EU.

In general in Europe, those in the north are more culturally savvy than those in the south, if statistics are anything to go by. But there are some outliers.

Luxembourg is one. After Bulgaria and Greece, its citizens spend less on culture than anybody else in the EU. Its share of cultural workers is well below the average.

Malta is another. It scores above average on most indicators. Its citizens do not go to the cinema much, but they study the humanities like no other.

There are differences between men and women, too. Women are much bigger readers than men. In every single country in the EU, the share of women who read at least one book per year is at least 10 percent higher than the share of men.

Most books are read in Sweden and Finland. Figures for Denmark are not available. The Czech Republic is a notable third.

Compared to other parts of the world, finally, Europe is a cultural hub. Not only does it boast more Unesco World Heritage sites than any other region but it also export 50 percent more cultural goods than it imports.

It trades most in books and paintings, predominantly with the US and Switzerland.

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12 Year-Old Boy Stands Trial for Murdering Neo-Nazi Father

by Rachel Hirshfeld 12 Year-Old Stands Trial for Killing Neo-Nazi Dad - ArutzSheva 7

Opening statements in the trial of a 12-year-old boy accused of murdering his neo-Nazi father are set to begin Tuesday in Riverside, California.

Then only ten years-old, Joseph Hall deliberately shot his father, who was a rising figure in Nationalist Socialist movement, using a snub-nose revolver at his family’s Riverside home.

“What he did, had it been done by anybody older, there would be no doubt that it was a murder,” said prosecutor Michael Soccio, according to The New York Times. “It’s planned. It’s premeditated. It was carried out in a cold, killing fashion. It is a murder.”

Joseph was present at neo-Nazi gatherings hosted by his parents and was taught at a young age how to use a firearm, but Riverside County prosecutors say the boy’s exposure to white supremacist culture probably won’t play a big role at trial.

Joseph’s public defender, Matthew J. Hardy, says his client has neurological and psychological problems, compounded by exposure to neo-Nazi “conditioning” and physical abuse in the home, the Times reported.

“He’s been conditioned to violence,” Mr. Hardy said, adding, “You have to ask yourself: Did this kid really know that this act was wrong based on all those things?”

Court documents reveal that the child was prone to violent outbursts and was frequently the target of his father’s drunken rages. The boy reportedly told police he killed his father to stop the abuse.

California’s penal code also states that children under 14 cannot be charged with a crime without clear proof that “they knew its wrongfulness.” The judge said she could make a ruling in the case as early as next week.

If convicted, Joseph Hall could remain in custody until the age of 25, providing he doesn’t commit any crimes while incarcerated.



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Arctic Trash Doubled in Past Decade: Study

By Jack Phillips
Epoch Times Staff
Created: October 23, 2012 Last Updated: October 30, 2012
Related articles: World » International

The Icebreaker Oden prepares to head out to sea on June 21, 2008 in Longyearbyen, a town on the Svalbard islands. (Chiis Jackson/Getty Images)
The Icebreaker Oden prepares to head out to sea on June 21, 2008 in Longyearbyen, a town on the Svalbard islands. (Chiis Jackson/Getty Images)

Debris like plastic bags and other waste are continuing to pile up on the Arctic Ocean’s seabed, with the amount doubling in the past ten years, according to a new study.

Marine biologist and deep sea expert Melanie Bergmann, in a study published Monday in the Marine Pollution Bulletin, examined 2,100 photographs of the Arctic seafloor at a depth of around 8,200 feet in the Fram Strait, which is located between Greenland and the Svalbard Islands.

The trash, Bergmann said, is impacting local sea life, with almost 70 percent of plastic litter coming “into some kind of contact with deep-sea organisms.”

“For example we found plastic bags entangled in sponges, sea anemones settling on pieces of plastic or rope, cardboard and a beer bottle colonized by sea lilies,” Bergmann says in a press release.

The photos Bergmann used were from a camera stationed near the seabed, that takes a photograph every 30 seconds. The camera is primarily used by scientists for documenting changes in the biodiversity, mainly in regards to sea cucumbers, sea lilies, sponges, fish, and shrimp.

Bergmann said she went through all the photographs from 2002, 2004, 2007, 2008, and 2011 to make a comparison of the trash on the seafloor.

“The study was prompted by a gut feeling. When looking through our images I got the impression that plastic bags and other litter on the seafloor were seen more frequently in photos from 2011 than in those dating back to earlier years,” Bergmann said in a release.

Trash and other pollutants that make it to the Arctic Ocean come from sources around the world via air and ocean currents, says the Pew Environment Group think tank. It argues that as Arctic ice continues to melt, more ships will be using the Northwest Passage and other routes that are subsequently opened up further, increasing the amount of garbage and sewage dumped into the ocean.

In Bergmann’s study, she was not able to determine the origin of the trash, but came to the conclusion that the dwindling Arctic sea ice is likely a factor. The ice serves as a barrier to trash that is blown from the land into the sea as well as blocking ships from passing through.

Bergmann said the photos showed the increasing pollution down there. “Waste can be seen in around one percent of the images from 2002,” she noted, adding it is “primarily plastic.”

“In the images from 2011 we made the same discovery on around two percent of the footage. The quantity of waste on the sea bed has therefore doubled,” she said.
There has been an idea that since the Arctic Ocean is located in a very remote area of the world with a relatively tiny population, it should have little to no garbage.

“Unfortunately, our results refute this notion at least for our observatory. The quantities observed were higher than those recorded from a deep-sea canyon not far from the industrialized Portuguese capital Lisbon,” Bergmann said.

The Epoch Times publishes in 35 countries and in 19 languages.

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Storm Sandy: Transport chaos as floods recede

BBC News online - 30 October 2012


Meteorologist Paul Heppner explains why Sandy has been so destructive

At least 32 people have been killed, millions are without power and transport across the north-eastern US has been severely disrupted as storm Sandy heads north for Canada.
In New York City, 10 people have been killed and the public transport system remains closed until further notice.

More than 15,000 flights were cancelled, the flight-tracking website FlightAware estimates.
Earlier, Sandy killed more than 60 people as it hit the Caribbean.

Sandy brought a record storm surge of almost 14ft (4.2m) to central Manhattan, well above the previous record of 10 feet (3m) during Hurricane Donna in 1960, the National Weather Service said.
The storm was causing heavy snowfalls over the Appalachian mountains on Tuesday afternoon. It was expected to turn towards western New York state during the evening before moving into Canada on Wednesday, the forecaster said.

The greatest storms on Earth

Nasa image of hurricane Sandy
  • A tropical storm is classified as a hurricane when wind speeds reach 74 mph (115km/h)
  • A hurricane can expend as much energy as 10,000 nuclear bombs over its lifecycle
  • The hurricane's spiral is due to the Coriolis Effect, which is generated by the Earth's rotation
At least eight million homes and businesses are without power because of the storm, says the US Department of Energy. 

The New York Stock Exchange says it will re-open on Wednesday after two days' closure, as will the Nasdaq exchange. The last time the stock exchange shut down for two days was in 1888.

New York's subway system sustained the worst damage in its 108-year history, said Joseph Lhota, head of the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA).

Subway tunnels were flooded and electrical equipment will have to be cleaned before the network can re-open.
Breezy Point, NYC after fire (30 Oct) A fire tore through the Breezy Point area of Queens in New York City
 
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said there was "no timeline" for when the subway would restart, but he hoped buses could begin running again on Wednesday.

All New York's major airports are closed as their runways are flooded.

It is likely to be two or three days before power is restored to most of the city, Mr Bloomberg said.
The Path commuter train service, which links New Jersey and New York City, is likely to remain suspended for seven to 10 days, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie told a news conference.

The tidal surge from the storm left fields of debris 7ft (2.25m) high and carried small railway goods cars onto elevated sections of the New Jersey Turnpike, he said.
Damaged boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey A large section of Atlantic City's famous boardwalk was destroyed when Sandy slammed into the New Jersey shore

President Barack Obama suspended campaigning for a third day ahead of next week's presidential election so that he could supervise the clean-up. 

His Republican challenger Mitt Romney resumed low-key campaigning on Tuesday, converting a rally into a storm relief event in the swing state of Ohio.

Governor Christie, a Republican and staunch supporter of Mr Romney, went out of his way to praise the Democratic president for his handling of the storm.

"I spoke to the president three times yesterday," Mr Christie told CNN. "He's been incredibly supportive and helpful to our state and not once did he bring up the election... If he's not bringing it up, I'm certainly not going to bring it up."

The cost of clearing up after the storm is likely to run to $30-40bn (£18-24bn), says the BBC's business correspondent Mark Gregory - far less than than the $100bn cost of clearing up after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
In other developments:
  • US federal agencies in Washington DC will re-open on Wednesday
  • Fire destroyed about 50 homes in the New York City borough of Queens
  • More than 200 patients were evacuated from New York University's Tisch Hospital after power went out and a backup generator failed
  • The oldest nuclear power plant in the US, Oyster Creek in New Jersey, remains on alert due to rising water
President Obama has also declared emergencies in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
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Storm Barrels Through Region, Leaving Destructive Path

New York Times - 30 October 2012

  • Michael Kirby Smith for The New York Times


Hurricane Sandy battered the mid-Atlantic region on Monday, its powerful gusts and storm surges causing once-in-a-generation flooding in coastal communities, knocking down trees and power lines and leaving more than five million people — including a large swath of Manhattan — in the rain-soaked dark. At least seven deaths in the New York region were tied to the storm.


The mammoth and merciless storm made landfall near Atlantic City around 8 p.m., with maximum sustained winds of about 80 miles per hour, the National Hurricane Center said. That was shortly after the center had reclassified the storm as a post-tropical cyclone, a scientific renaming that had no bearing on the powerful winds, driving rains and life-threatening storm surge expected to accompany its push onto land. 

The storm had unexpectedly picked up speed as it roared over the Atlantic Ocean on a slate-gray day and went on to paralyze life for millions of people in more than a half-dozen states, with extensive evacuations that turned shorefront neighborhoods into ghost towns. Even the superintendent of the Statue of Liberty left to ride out the storm at his mother’s house in New Jersey; he said the statue itself was “high and dry,” but his house in the shadow of the torch was not. 

The wind-driven rain lashed sea walls and protective barriers in places like Atlantic City, where the Boardwalk was damaged as water forced its way inland. Foam was spitting, and the sand gave in to the waves along the beach at Sandy Hook, N.J., at the entrance to New York Harbor. Water was thigh-high on the streets in Sea Bright, N.J., a three-mile sand-sliver of a town where the ocean joined the Shrewsbury River. 

“It’s the worst I’ve seen,” said David Arnold, watching the storm from his longtime home in Long Branch, N.J. “The ocean is in the road, there are trees down everywhere. I’ve never seen it this bad.”
In New York, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office said late Monday night that at least five deaths in the state were attributable to the storm. At least three of those involved falling trees. About 7 p.m., a tree fell on a house in Queens, killing a 30-year-old man, the city police said. About the same time, two boys, ages 11 and 13, were killed in North Salem in Westchester County, when a tree fell on the house they were in, according to the State Police. 

In Morris County, N.J., a man and a woman were killed when a tree fell on their car Monday evening, The Associated Press reported. 

In Manhattan, NYU Langone Medical Center’s backup power system failed Monday evening, forcing the evacuation of patients to other facilities. 

In a Queens beach community, nearly 200 firefighters were battling a huge blaze early on Tuesday morning that tore through more than 50 tightly-packed homes in an area where heavy flooding slowed responders. 

Earlier, a construction crane atop one of the tallest buildings in the city came loose and dangled 80 stories over West 57th Street, across the street from Carnegie Hall. 

Soon power was going out and water was rushing in. Waves topped the sea wall in the financial district in Manhattan, sending cars floating downstream. West Street, along the western edge of Lower Manhattan, looked like a river. The Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, known officially as the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel in memory of a former governor, flooded “from end to end,” the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said, hours after Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York ordered it closed to traffic.Officials said water also seeped into seven subway tunnels under the East River. 

Joseph J. Lhota, the transit authority chairman, called the storm the most devastating disaster in the 108-year history of the subway system. 

“We could be fishing out our windows tomorrow,” said Garnett Wilcher, a barber who lives in the Hammells Houses, a block from the ocean in the Rockaways in Queens. Still, he said he felt safe at home. Pointing to neighboring apartment houses in the city-run housing project, he said, “We got these buildings for jetties.” 

Hurricane-force winds extended up to 175 miles from the center of the storm; tropical-storm-force winds spread out 485 miles from the center. Forecasters said tropical-storm-force winds could stretch all the way north to Canada and all the way west to the Great Lakes. Snow was expected in some states.
Multimedia

Businesses and schools were closed; roads, bridges and tunnels were closed; and more than 13,000 airline flights were canceled. Even the Erie Canal was shut down. 

Subways were shut down from Boston to Washington, as were Amtrak and the commuter rail lines. About 1,000 flights were canceled at each of the three major airports in the New York City area. Philadelphia International Airport had 1,200 canceled flights, according to FlightAware, a data provider in Houston. And late Monday night, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said cabs had been instructed to get off New York City roads. 

A replica of the H.M.S. Bounty, a tall ship built for the 1962 movie “Mutiny on the Bounty” starring Marlon Brando and used in the recent “Pirates of the Caribbean” series, sank off the North Carolina coast. The Coast Guard said the 180-foot three-masted ship went down near the Outer Banks after being battered by 18-foot-high seas and thrashed by 40-m.p.h. winds. The body of one crew member, Claudene Christian, 42, was recovered. Another crew member remained missing. 

Delaware banned cars and trucks from state roadways for other than “essential personnel.” 

“The most important thing right now is for people to use common sense,” Gov. Jack Markell said. “We didn’t want people out on the road going to work and not being able to get home again.” 

By early evening, the storm knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of homes, stores and office buildings. Consolidated Edison said that as of 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, 634,000 customers in New York City and Westchester County were without power. Con Edison, fearing damage to its electrical equipment, shut down power pre-emptively in sections of Lower Manhattan on Monday evening, and then, at 8:30 p.m., an unplanned failure, probably caused by flooding in substations, knocked out power to most of Manhattan below Midtown, about 250,000 customers. Later, an explosion at a Con Ed substation on East 14th Street knocked out power to another 250,000 customers. 

In New Jersey, more than two million customers were without power as of 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, and in Connecticut nearly 500,000. 

President Obama, who returned to the White House and met with top advisers, said Monday that the storm would disrupt the rhythms of daily life in the states it hit. “Transportation is going to be tied up for a long time,” he said, adding that besides flooding, there would probably be widespread power failures. He said utility companies had lined up crews to begin making repairs. But he cautioned that it could be slow going. 

“The fact is, a lot of these emergency crews are not going to get into position to start restoring power until some of these winds die down,” the president said. He added, “That may take several days.”
Forecasters attributed the power of the storm to a convergence of weather systems. As the hurricane swirled north in the Atlantic and then pivoted toward land, a wintry storm was heading toward it from the west, and cold air was blowing south from the Arctic. The hurricane left more than 60 people dead in the Caribbean before it began crawling toward the Northeast. 

“The days ahead are going to be very difficult, Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland said. “There will be people who die and are killed in this storm,” he said. 

Alex Sosnowski, a senior meteorologist with AccuWeather, said potentially damaging winds would continue on Tuesday from Illinois to the Carolinas — and as far north as Maine — as the storm barreled toward the eastern Great Lakes. 

Mr. Cuomo, who ordered many of the most heavily used bridges and tunnels in New York City closed, warned that the surge from Hurricane Sandy could go two feet higher than that associated with Tropical Storm Irene last year. The PATH system, buses and the Staten Island Ferry system were also suspended.

Mr. Lhota, the chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, has said he expected to restore at least some service about 12 hours after the storm ended. But possible flooding within the subway system could prevent a full-scale reopening. 

The storm headed toward land with weather that was episodic: a strong gust of wind one minute, then mist. More wind. Thin sheets of rain dancing down the street. Then, for a moment, nothing. The sky lightened. Then another blast of rain. Then more wind. 

The day brought a giddiness to schoolchildren who had the day off and to grown-ups who were fascinated by the rough, rising water. Some went surfing, discounting the danger. Felquin Piedra, 38, rode his Jet Ski from Queens to Lower Manhattan. 

“I love the waves,” Mr. Piedra yelled from New York Harbor. “The water is warm. I’ve jumped in several times.” 

But even when landfall was still hours away, there was no holding back the advance guard of the storm — fast-moving bands of rain and punishing winds. 

It added up to devastation. Driving through places like Pompton Plains, N.J., late Monday afternoon was like an X-Games contest for drivers. They had to do tree-limb slaloms on side streets and gunned their engines anxiously as they passed wind funnels of leaves swirling on highways. 

On City Island, off the Bronx mainland, Cheryl Brinker sprayed “Sandy Stay Away” on her boarded-up art studio, expanding a collage she started during Tropical Storm Irene last year. But by midafternoon, nearby Ditmars Street was under as much as five feet of water and Steve Van Wickler said the water had cracked the cement in his cellar. “It’s like a little river running in my basement,” he said. “There are cracks and leaks everywhere.” 

In some places, caravans of power-company trucks traveled largely empty roads; Public Service Electric and Gas said that 600 line workers and 526 tree workers had arrived from across the country, but could not start the repairs and cleanup until the wind had subsided, perhaps not until Wednesday.
They will see a landscape that, in many places, was remade by the storm. In Montauk, at the end of Long Island, a 50-seat restaurant broke in half. Half of the building floated away and broke into pieces on the beach. 

The 110-foot-tall lighthouse at Montauk Point — the oldest in the state, opened in 1796 — shuddered in the storm despite walls that are six feet thick at the base. The lighthouse keeper, Marge Winski, said she had never felt anything like that in 26 years on the job. 

“I went up in tower and it was vibrating, it was shaking,” she said. “I got out of it real quick. I’ve been here through hurricanes, and nor’easters, but nothing this bad.”

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