DAILY DOSE: Death toll mounts after Indonesia earthquake; The aerodynamics of the World Cup 2022 ball.


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The grim theoretical toll the earthquake in Indonesia is taking is beginning to be confirmed on the ground. Bodies are beginning to be found. Per the Associated Press,

Indonesian rescuers used jackhammers, circular saws and sometimes their bare hands Tuesday to shift the rubble of flattened buildings as they searched for the dead and missing from an earthquake that killed at least 268 people.

With many missing, some remote areas still unreachable and more than 1,000 people injured in the 5.6 magnitude quake, the death toll was likely to rise. Hospitals near the epicenter on the densely populated island of Java were already overwhelmed, and patients hooked up to IV drips lay on stretchers and cots in tents set up outside, awaiting further treatment.

Indonesia is frequently hit by earthquakes, many much stronger than Monday’s whose magnitude would typically be expected to cause light damage. But experts said the shallowness of the quake and inadequate infrastructure contributed to the severe damage, including caved-in roofs and large piles of bricks, concrete, and corrugated metal.

News sites are reporting that a school had been hitting, resulting on a sizeable portion of children losing their lives. http://bit.ly/3Axg1FR

The United States is re-treading paths it blazed some 50 years ago with NASA’s 21st Century lunar capsule reaching its destination. Per the AP,

“NASA’s Orion capsule reached the moon Monday, whipping around the far side and buzzing the lunar surface on its way to a record-breaking orbit with test dummies sitting in for astronauts.

It’s the first time a capsule has visited the moon since NASA’s Apollo program 50 years ago, and represents a huge milestone in the $4.1 billion test flight that began last Wednesday.

The close approach of 81 miles (130 kilometers) occurred as the crew capsule and its three wired-up dummies were on the far side of the moon. Because of a half-hour communication blackout, flight controllers in Houston did not know if the critical engine firing went well until the capsule emerged from behind the moon, 232,000 miles (370,000 kilometers) from Earth.

The moon is nice, but the Big Show is Mars. http://bit.ly/3Ey7vYt

STAT News brings up some salient points in an article about why at-home flu-kits aren’t available the way Covid tests are, particularly because the technology is pretty much the same.

With so many potential viruses in play, it would be helpful if Americans had a way to distinguish between different ailments at home. And when it comes to the flu in particular, at-home testing could help telehealth doctors decide when it makes sense to prescribe treatments like Tamiflu, which need to be started within two days of onset of symptoms.

‘Home flu testing would ensure that those who do need and receive antiviral medication for influenza are the ones who need it the most,’ said Christina Yen, an infectious diseases doctor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, as well as ensure ‘that we are making our treatment decisions based on data.’

Yet no at-home flu tests are available for purchase in the U.S. That’s not for lack of technology — the rapid antigen flu tests at the doctor’s office are ‘virtually identical’ to the Covid tests already in people’s homes, according to Zoë McLaren, associate professor of public policy at the University of Maryland Baltimore County who studies health policies for infectious disease epidemics.

It always comes down to money, doesn’t it? Money and power. http://bit.ly/3OpVpoN

Ball aerodynamics is one of the most fascinating areas of research when it comes to sports science. A full understanding of how the ball travels through the air remains elusive. That said, a expert on ball aerodynamics examined the ball being used in World Cup 2022. According to article in Ars Technica,

The new Qatar World Cup soccer ball is the Al Rihla.

The Al Rihla is made with water-based inks and glues and contains 20 panels. Eight of these are small triangles with roughly equal sides, and 12 are larger and shaped sort of like an ice cream cone.

Instead of using raised textures to increase surface roughness like with previous balls, the Al Rihla is covered with dimplelike features that give its surface a relatively smooth feel compared to its predecessors.

To make up for the smoother feel, the Al Rihla’s seams are wider and deeper—perhaps learning from the mistakes of the overly smooth Jabulani, which had the shallowest and shortest seams of recent World Cup balls and which many players felt was slow in the air.

So everyone’s basically kicking around a glorified golf ball. http://bit.ly/3TV6Be1

Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.

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