Saturday, December 26, 2009

NASA Predator Drone UAV Flies in California Skies on a Post-Burn Imaging Mission of Wildfire Sites!

NASA aircraft flies California Post-Burn imaging mission

from Public Affairs

NASA-Dryden Flight Research Center

12/2/2009 - EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- NASA's remotely piloted Predator B, named Ikhana, aircraft equipped with an infrared imaging sensor recently conducted post-burn assessments of two Southern California wildfire sites, the Piute Fire in Kern County and the Station Fire in the Angeles National Forest. The unmanned aircraft completed a seven-hour imaging flight Nov. 19 from NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center on Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

The Station Fire imaging flight tracks were flown in the national airspace system though close coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration.

The Autonomous Modular Scanner, developed by NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., was carried in a pod under the aircraft's wing. The scanner operates like a digital camera with specialized filters to detect light energy at visible, infrared and thermal wavelengths.

The scanner operated with a new photo mosaic capability at the request of the U.S. Forest Service. A photo mosaic provides ease of interpretation for the end user, which in the case of an active wildfire is the fire incident commander.

Traveling to the northwest of NASA Dryden and Edwards, the aircraft flew several data collection paths over the area burned by the month-long Piute Fire in Kern County that grew to 37,026 acres before it was contained in July 2008. The burn area is located in the Sequoia National Forest and on Bureau of Land Management public land near Lake Isabella.

Ikhana then traveled southeast to fly image collection lines over the arson-caused Station Fire. It burned more than 160,000 acres in the Angeles National Forest northeast of Los Angeles after being ignited on Aug. 26, 2009. The scanner collected images that will indicate the severity of devastation within the fire area. Another use of the images is for the U.S. Forest Service's Burned Area Emergency Rehabilitation, or BAER.

The Forest Service uses BAER to reduce further damage to land made unstable by fires, rather than replace what is burned. The BAER data are derived using multi-spectral data available from the Autonomous Modular Scanner on the aircraft. The processes can be changed mid-mission to enable improved collection of critical information, either in mapping active fires or assessing post-burn severity.

The post-burn images collected by the scanner were transmitted through a communications satellite to NASA Ames, where the images were superimposed over Google Earth and Microsoft Virtual Earth maps to better visualize the locations. The images then were made available to the Forest Service for initial assessment of the damage caused by the fires and rehabilitation required.

Ikhana carried the Autonomous Modular Scanner for Western States Fire Mission flights in 2007 and 2008, imaging wildfires from south of the U.S. border with Canada to near the Mexican border. Critical information about the location, size and terrain around the fires was sent to commanders in the field in as little as 10 minutes. This fall Ikhana was poised to fly a 2009 Western States Fire Mission should NASA have received a request for support from emergency service organizations.

NASA provided the funding for this flight, in partnership with the U.S. Army.

FLASHBACK: U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement Program Fielding Unmanned Drone Fleet to Hover Above Forests

For Immediate Release: April 1, 2008
Contact: Kirsten Stade (202) 265-7337

U.S. FOREST SERVICE FIELDING FLEET OF DRONES — Law Enforcement Wants “Unmanned Aerial Vehicles” Hovering Above Forests

Washington, DC — The U.S. Forest Service has purchased pilot-less aircraft to provide day and night photo reconnaissance for its law enforcement program, according to agency records released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The two “unmanned aerial vehicles,” or drones, may represent the beginnings of wider conversion of military robotic technology for civilian uses.

The two “Sky Seers” were obtained by the Forest Service on December 10, 2007 at a cost of $100,000 from Chang Industries, Inc. of La Verne, California. The package includes one “day version” and one “night version” of the drone, together with a “Pan/tilt thermal camera” to record heat signatures at night.

A March 12, 2007 purchase request from the Forest Service Law Enforcement & Investigations (LE&I) program states it “has been monitoring and evaluating UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] intermittently since 1997, when their use was considered in support of Operation Linebacker, a border enforcement initiative.” While this “Sole Source Request” details desired equipment specifications, the Forest Service could produce no documents spelling out what they want to use drones for or why pilot-less craft are preferred, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from PEER.

The drones purchase took place shortly after Forest Service LE&I spent $600,000 buying tasers for its entire enforcement staff, without any guidelines or training program. The tasers are still sitting in storage cartons. After PEER revealed the taser fiasco, LE&I staff told PEER about the drones and suggested a records request in order to validate staff concerns that the purchase –

  • Has little practical law enforcement application in the national forests and reflects a “boys with toys” mentality among LE&I leadership;
  • May also sit in storage because LE&I lacks qualified personnel to operate the drones. Although the purchase package includes training, LE&I notes that new Federal Aviation Administration rules “could make it more difficult to obtain Certificates of Authorization to fly the UAVs”; and
  • Is a low priority when the Forest Service is cutting back on the number of Special Agents and law enforcement officers. Forest Service law enforcement force levels have shrunk by more than one-third over the past 15 years. LE&I is holding more than 200 positions vacant, even as President Bush is proposing further cuts in the next fiscal year.

“As with tasers, a cash-starved Forest Service is buying glitzy hardware with zero justification as to why this is a good use of tax dollars,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch. “Why stop at drones? Are they going to buy Robo-Rangers next?”

In contrast to LE&I, Forest Service Fire Management is making a relatively modest investment in drones as a possible tool to aid fighting wildland fires. In 2005, the agency’s fire program spent $10,560 on a Cyber Bug drone to begin developing greater command and control capacity in fast-moving fires.

Unlike fire uses, law enforcement application of aerial monitoring raises privacy issues for forest visitors who may not realize that they are being watched, photographed and cybercast from an elevation of 7,000 feet by a drone. The Sky Seers can hover for more than one hour and have quiet electric motors.

“The use of spy technology in the domestic U.S. should not be undertaken lightly,” Ruch added. “Before the Forest Service deploys eyes in the sky, the agency should write some basic rules to prevent abuse.”

Today, the Chief of the Forest Service appears before two U.S. Senate committees to justify its budget request for the coming fiscal year.


Read the Forest Service LE&I Sole Source Request for UAVs

View the invoice and purchase receipt for the Sky Seers

Compare the cost of the fire management drone

See the fire management plan for drones

Friday, December 25, 2009

Charlie Sheen Arrested in Colorado on Domestic Violence Charges?!

I hope that there is more to this story, because Charlie has been an invaluable help to the infowar. Nevertheless, the Aspen Police Department has arrested Mr. Carlos Irwin Estevez. I will await to see the facts and allegations that the State has against Mr. Sheen before making any judgments.


Pitkin Alert
Latest Alerts
12/25/09 16:22 Sheen Arrested on Domestic Violence Charges (this link will probably be dead when the Pitkin alert site is updated)

ASPEN, CO - 12/25/2009 – On Friday, December 25, 2009 at 8:34AM the Aspen Pitkin County Communications Center received a 911 call regarding a domestic violence situation at 320 West Hallam Street, Aspen, Colorado. Officers from the Aspen Police Department responded immediately to the scene and upon arrival investigated the incident. Officer Rick Magnuson placed Carlos Irwin Estevez , also known as Charlie Sheen, 44, of Encino, California under arrest for Second Degree Assault, a class four felony, Menacing, a class five felony and Criminal Mischief, a class one misdemeanor. All charges are coupled with a domestic violence component. Mr. Sheen is being held with no bond.

Aspen Ambulance responded to the scene, the victim did not require transport to the hospital.

Sheen will be held in the Pitkin County Jail until his court appearance at the Pitkin County Courthouse. The date has not been set. During the court appearance Mr. Sheen will be advised of conditions of any bond and pre-trial release. Colorado mandates a protection order between arrestees for domestic violence and their victims.

The Aspen Police Department anticipates providing an update on Saturday, December 26, 2009 with any additional information available. Please sign up for press release updates at Select Local Press Release group and add your cell phone or email account for notification. For media questions, please contact the Aspen Police Department at (970) 920-5400 to speak with Community Relations Specialist Stephanie Dasaro.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

EPA, USDA Push Farmers to Use Coal Waste on Crop Fields

This is the type of idea that shows and proves our government is incompetent. The government promotes a "green" lifestyle in all its literature, programs and legislation saying that carbon dioxide is a deadly toxin despite the fact that humans and animals exhale it so that plants may use it to make oxygen. Despite the fact that carbon dioxide is NOT a toxin, the government is ready to impose trillions in taxes on the people in an attempt to solve the problem through cap-and-trade legislation.

However, when there is a real environmental issue, the government is either silent on the issue or actually promotes the environmentally damaging issue. Case in point,
the government is urging farmers to use a chalky waste product from coal-fired power plants on their fields and crops. What? Did I just write that accurately? A waste product on the fields where we grow our foods? Man, I have heard it all.

The federal government is encouraging farmers to spread a chalky waste from coal-fired power plants on their fields to loosen and fertilize soil even as it considers regulating coal wastes for the first time.

The material is produced by power plant "scrubbers" that remove acid rain causing sulfur dioxide from plant emissions. A synthetic form of the mineral gypsum, it also contains mercury, arsenic, lead and other heavy metals.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says those toxic metals occur in only tiny amounts that pose no threat to crops, surface water or humans. But some environmentalists say too little is known about how the material affects crops, and ultimately human health, for the government to suggest that farmers use it on their land.

"Basically this is a leap into the unknown," said Jeff Ruch, executive director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. "This stuff has materials in it that we're trying to prevent entering the environment from coal-fired power plants and then to turn around and smear it across ag lands raises some real questions."

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

First Confirmed H1N1 "Swine Flu" Infection of Dog in United States

It's not the H3N8 canine flu, but it is a case of a dog getting the H1N1 "swine flu" which is the first such case in this country.

Officials have confirmed a 13-year-old male mixed-breed dog has tested positive for H1N1. This marks the first case of a dog in the United States contracting swine flu.

On December 13th, 2009, the dog was taken to the Katonah Bedford Veterinarian Center in Bedford Hills, N.Y. with a variety of symptoms. According to reports, the dog was lethargic, was not eating, had a dry cough, fever and had breathing difficulties. Because the dog’s owner previously tested positive for H1N1, the dog was tested. The test was sent to the lab at Iowa State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratories for confirmation.

FLASHBACK: CQ-10A SnowGoose - World’s First Unmanned Cargo Aircraft Being Tested in Kansas!

It's not a Predator. It's also not a Reaper drone. No, it is the Snow Goose! The world's first unmanned cargo aircraft!

An unmanned aircraft the military uses for carrying cargo and dropping leaflets in war zones has earned the attention of the Kansas National Guard.

Designated the CQ-10A SnowGoose by its Canadian manufacturer, the unmanned aerial vehicle is undergoing several days of testing at the Smoky Hill Weapons Range outside Salina. Smoky Hill also is the home of the Guard's Great Plains Joint Training Center.

"It's ugly, but it's very functional," said Chuck Jarnot, a former Army helicopter pilot who is working as a consultant for Mist Mobility Integrated Systems Technology Inc. The Canadian firm has sold 40 of the aircraft to the U.S. military and they are being used in Iraq and Afghanistan. The SnowGoose is the world's first unmanned cargo aircraft.

Maj. Gen. Tod Bunting, Kansas adjutant general and Guard commander, invited MMIST to bring the SnowGoose to Kansas and use the Smoky Hill air space for further development and testing. It also let Guard leaders consider how it could be integrated into a variety of military uses.

"We see a lot of potential for it in Homeland Security," said Lt. Col. J.J. Jordan, Great Plains training officer.

The SnowGoose can be used to carry communications equipment over disaster areas, and speakers can be attached and used to broadcast messages to areas without communications, Jordan said. It also can be used to re-establish cell phone networks in a devastated area.

The aircraft can transport up to 600 pounds of cargo and stay in the air for about 20 hours. Its cargo boxes are like a "chest of drawers," Jarnot said. The cargo can be dropped from the air with a parachute or delivered after the aircraft lands.

The SnowGoose has been used to resupply small Special Forces teams in remote areas. Using it for such drops is safer for the soldiers, and it removes the risk of flying in a helicopter.


One-Legged Man Takes Five People Hostage at Wytheville, Virginia Post Office (Video)

An armed man took five people hostage Wednesday at a post office in a small, rural town, officials said.

Shots were fired, but there were no reports of injuries. Police cordoned off a three-block area, and Virginia State Police sent in a SWAT team and a bomb technician.

London Police Expect Bombay Style Terror Attack on City in 2010 (Someone Call Union Jack!)

I do not want to see a Mumbai (or Bombay if you are old school and/or ignant!) style attack on the United Kingdom, but the London Police are warning that this type of attack on the city is imminent. Is this fear mongering? Or a legit warning?

Scotland Yard has warned businesses in London to expect a Mumbai-style attack on the capital.

In a briefing in the City of London 12 days ago, a senior detective from SO15, the Metropolitan police counter-terrorism command, said: “Mumbai is coming to London.”

The detective said companies should anticipate a shooting and hostage-taking raid “involving a small number of gunmen with handguns and improvised explosive devices”.

Someone better call Union Jack!

Source: Times Online

Image Source: Daily P.O.P.

AstraZeneca's MedImmune Recalls Nearly Five Million (5,000,000) Doses of H1N1 "Swine Flu" Nasal Spray Vaccine

Recently, the Canadian government had to recall nearly 800,000 doses of Arepanrix, because the vaccine lots were corrupted. Now, MedImmune is recalling 4.6 million doses of the intranasal swine flu vaccine, because it is allegedly losing its potency. If you recall, this MedImmune vaccine contains LIVE H1N1 virus in the spray, so perhaps these live viruses are dying over time!

Maryland-based MedImmune is recalling nearly 5 million doses of H1N1 flu vaccine because the nasal spray appears to lose strength over time, federal health officials announced Tuesday.

The vaccine recall is the second this month caused by declining potency and comes as public health officials urge millions of Americans to get vaccinated against H1N1.

The action affects more than 4.6 million doses, but the vast majority have already been used, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Agency officials said the vaccine was strong enough when it was distributed in October and November.

You can read the MedImmune's nasal spray vaccine package insert by clicking this sentence

Source: Local Tech Wire

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

World Health Organization Qualifies Celtura®, Focetria® & Fluvirin Vaccines for Use in World's Developing Nations

The World Health Organization has qualified Novartis' vaccine platform (which includes Celtura®, Focetria®, Fluvirin) for use in the developing Nation-States of the world. Celtura and Focetria contain squalene adjuvants including MF59®, so if you live in one of the countries set to receive these vaccines, then please research the potential side effects of adjuvants before taking the vaccine.


  • First prequalification from WHO for multiple influenza A(H1N1) 2009 vaccines from a single company: Celtura® and Focetria®, both with the Novartis adjuvant MF59®, as well as unadjuvanted A(H1N1) vaccine from the Fluvirin® platform
  • WHO prequalification of two MF59 adjuvanted vaccines highlights Novartis adjuvant’s antigen sparing potential as means to enhance global supply of pandemic vaccines
  • More than 80 million doses of Novartis influenza A(H1N1) vaccine shipped to 21 countries around the world
Basel, December 21, 2009 - — Novartis announced today that the World Health Organization (WHO) has granted prequalification for all three of its influenza A(H1N1) 2009 monovalent vaccines for supply to United Nations (UN) agencies: the cell culture-based and MF59® adjuvanted vaccine Celtura®, the egg-based and MF59 adjuvanted vaccine Focetria® as well as the egg-based A(H1N1) vaccine manufactured using the seasonal Fluvirin® platform. In addition to granting prequalified status for Novartis’ three influenza A(H1N1) 2009 vaccines, WHO has also granted prequalification for the company’s trivalent seasonal Fluvirin® vaccine.

WHO prequalification facilitates purchasing through UN agencies and thus enhances access for developing world countries to Novartis A(H1N1) 2009 vaccines that meet unified standards of quality and safety. Novartis has worked closely with WHO under WHO’s expedited procedure for evaluating pandemic influenza A(H1N1) 2009 vaccines to ensure rapid prequalification of its A(H1N1) 2009 influenza vaccines.

With WHO prequalification for all three of our A(H1N1) 2009 vaccines, we have expanded our commitment to contribute to the prevention of A(H1N1) 2009 influenza in all countries around the world,” said Andrin Oswald, CEO of Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics.

Prequalification of the adjuvanted vaccines is an important milestone to increase vaccine supply due to the proven antigen and dose sparing potential of the MF59 adjuvant. It is the only oil-in-water adjuvant supported by more than 12 years of post-marketing safety data that includes commercial distribution of more than 45 million doses. The adjuvant has also been studied in randomized clinical trials and observational studies involving 124,000 individuals including children, adults, and elderly; and was first licensed in the seasonal influenza vaccine Fluad® in Italy in 1997. Fluad is currently licensed in Europe for use in individuals 65 years of age and older.

Novartis recognizes the public health need for better access to medicines and vaccines in developing countries. Novartis is working closely with developing countries and international health agencies to find sustainable solutions for effective distribution of essential medicines for diseases such as malaria, meningitis, tuberculosis and leprosy.

About Celtura®

Celtura is an innovative adjuvanted, cell culture-based, inactivated subunit influenza vaccine indicated for active immunization of persons six months of age and older against influenza disease caused by the novel pandemic A(H1N1) 2009 influenza virus. Celtura was approved for use in both Germany and Switzerland in November 2009, and Novartis is also seeking approval in a number of other countries.

About Focetria®

Focetria is an adjuvanted, egg-based, inactivated subunit influenza vaccine indicated for active immunization of persons six months of age and older against influenza disease caused by the novel pandemic A(H1N1) 2009 influenza virus. Focetria was approved by the European Union on September 29, 2009, for use in all 27 member states of the European Union, plus, by extension, in Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein through the European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement. It is also licensed in a variety of other countries including Turkey, Switzerland, Tunisia and Croatia.

About Novartis A(H1N1) vaccine from the Fluvirin® platform

This vaccine is an unadjuvanted, egg-based, inactivated subunit influenza vaccine indicated for active immunization of persons four years of age and older against influenza disease caused by the novel pandemic A(H1N1) 2009 influenza virus. The vaccine was approved for use in the US by the US Food and Drug Administration on September 15, 2009.


Commercial for Implantable RFID Verichip by Health Link

Remixx World! previously blogged on a microchip that would contain a patient's complete medical profile. The above commercial by Health Link promotes a different, but similar chip. It is an RFID chip which will can link to other compatible computers and RFID devices within range. Once a person has the chip and is within a network zone, that person's entire lifelog database may be referenced and accessed from a central point or elsewhere.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Former CDC Director Julie Gerberding Named President of Merck Vaccines

I have to thank Dr. Sherri Tenpenny for this tip. The former CDC director from 2002 to 2009 Julie Gerberding was just named president of Merck Vaccines. Isn't that a conflict of interest? There seems to be too much of a revolving door between the CDC and our government especially when the CDC/government make vaccine recommendations that affect everyone and help improve the vaccine makers' bottom line profits!

If Dr. Julie Gerberding made vaccine recommendations as CDC director that increased Merck profits, then isn't she receiving a financial benefit now by being named the president of the company? That is a blatant conflict of interest and should be investigated immediately!


Dr. Julie Gerberding Named President of Merck Vaccines

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. – Dec. 21, 2009 – Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE: MRK) today announced that Dr. Julie Gerberding has been named president of Merck Vaccines, effective January 25, 2010.

Dr. Gerberding led the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as director from 2002 to 2009. During her tenure at CDC, Dr. Gerberding led the agency during more than 40 emergency response initiatives for health crises including anthrax bioterrorism, food-borne disease outbreaks, and natural disasters, and advised governments around the world on urgent public health issues such as SARS, AIDS, and obesity.

“Vaccines are a cornerstone of Merck's commitment to health and wellness," said Richard T. Clark, chairman and chief executive officer, Merck & Co., Inc. "We are delighted to welcome an expert of Dr. Gerberding's caliber to Merck. As a preeminent authority in public health, infectious diseases and vaccines, Dr. Gerberding is the ideal choice to lead Merck's engagement with organizations around the world that share our commitment to the use of vaccines to prevent disease and save lives."

"I’ve had the privilege in my previous work in academia and in the federal government to be a passionate advocate for public health priorities such as vaccines, which are an imperative component of global health development," said Dr. Gerberding. "I am very excited to be joining Merck where I can help to expand access to vaccines around the world."

Dr. Gerberding will lead the company's $5 billion global vaccine business. Merck currently markets a broad range of pediatric, adolescent and adult vaccines and is a leading provider of vaccines in countries around the world; in the U.S., Merck markets vaccines for 12 of the 17 diseases for which the U.S. Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices currently recommends vaccines. She will be responsible for the commercialization of the current portfolio of vaccines, planning for the introduction of vaccines from the company's robust vaccine pipeline, and accelerating Merck's on-going efforts to broaden access to its vaccines in the developing world. Dr. Gerberding will also collaborate with leaders of Merck Manufacturing Division and Merck Research Laboratories to manage the critical linkages between basic research, late-stage development and manufacturing to expand Merck's vaccine offerings throughout the world.

She received her undergraduate degree and her M.D. from Case Western Reserve University. Her internship, residency, and clinical pharmacology training were all at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), where she worked in a range of clinical, research and teaching roles prior to joining the CDC in 1998. Dr. Gerberding received her Masters of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley.

She is a member of the Institute of Medicine and a fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the American College of Physicians, and is board certified in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases. She is also a Clinical Professor of Infectious Diseases at Emory University and an Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine in Infectious Diseases at UCSF.

Dr. Gerberding has received more than 50 awards and honors, including the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Distinguished Service Award for her leadership in responses to anthrax bioterrorism and the September 11, 2001 attacks. She was named to Forbes Magazine's 100 Most Powerful Women in the world in 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008 and was named to TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2004.

About Merck

Today's Merck is working to help the world be well. Through our medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and consumer and animal products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to healthcare through far-reaching programs that donate and deliver our products to the people who need them. Merck. Be Well. For more information, visit

FDA Grants Emergency Use Authorization for TessArae® 2009 H1N1 Influenza A Virus Assay Based on the Affymetrix® GeneChip® Platform

If the cases of H1N1 "swine flu" are decreasing, then why is the FDA still operating like the pandemic is getting worse and worse? Check out the below press release that discusses a new H1N1 testing mechanism. Is Sebelius et al. preparing for Round 3 of this H1N1 pandemic?

You can read the FDA's full letter of authorization by clicking this sentence.


FDA Authorizes Emergency Use of Assay for the Detection and Differentiation of the 2009 H1N1 Influenza A Virus

SANTA CLARA, Calif. & POTOMAC FALLS, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--TessArae, LLC, a privately held company, and Affymetrix Inc., (NASDAQ:AFFX) today announced that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to TessArae for its TessArray® Resequencing Influenza A Microarray Detection Panel for the Detection of the 2009 H1N1 Influenza A Virus (TessArray RM-Flu test) for the duration of the declaration of emergency unless revoked earlier. The declaration of emergency will expire on April 26, 2010, unless terminated earlier or renewed.

The TessArray RM-Flu test is a targeted sequencing assay and the first high-density, microarray-based single test intended for the in vitro qualitative detection of the 2009 H1N1 influenza A virus, aided by an algorithm that relies on seasonal A/H1N1 and seasonal A/H3N2 influenza virus results. The TessArray RM-Flu test was developed using Affymetrix’ MyGeneChip™ Custom Array Program technology and is authorized for use by CLIA High Complexity Laboratories that have access to Affymetrix microarray instrumentation. The test is performed on throat swabs taken from patients with symptoms of respiratory infection.

TessArae is one of the companies to receive a EUA from the FDA for detection of the 2009 H1N1 Influenza A virus. One of the unique aspects of the TessArray RM-Flu assay is that it directly generates genomic sequence from multiple influenza virus genes to identify the 2009 H1N1 Influenza A virus strain in a single test.

“We are very pleased that the EUA from the FDA will give healthcare providers another emergency tool for the detection of the 2009 H1N1 influenza A virus during the current outbreak using the TessArray RM-Flu test,” said Klaus Schäfer, MD, MPH, president and CEO of TessArae.

“Today’s authorization demonstrates the power of our technology to detect a novel pathogen using the appropriate targets. The RM-Flu assay harnesses both DNA sequencing technologies and large public DNA sequence databases that are available today, and represents a new approach to sequencing-based diagnostics.”

GeneChip technology, through the MyGeneChip Custom Array Program, enables researchers to perform large-scale resequencing with uniform sequence coverage, long read lengths to minimize curation and assembly time, high accuracy and reproducibility, and efficient data management, while reducing the overall cost per base.

“The authorization of the RM-Flu test builds on the success of our MyGeneChip Custom Program, including GeneChip® Resequencing Arrays for researchers and labs such as Harvard Partners and GeneDx,” said Kevin King, president and CEO of Affymetrix. ”This is the first microarray-based authorized test for this virus utilizing MyGeneChip Custom Array technology.”

Affymetrix technology has been used twice in products cleared by the FDA for use in in vitro diagnostics. In July 2008, the FDA cleared the Pathwork® Tissue of Origin Test from Pathwork Diagnostics, Inc., for use in determining the origin of uncertain tumors. In January 2005, the FDA cleared the AmpliChip® CYP450 for diagnostic use in the United States. This was the first microarray-based diagnostic test for detection of genetic variations that can influence drug efficacy and adverse drug reactions.

For more information about the TessArray Resequencing Influenza A Microarray Detection Panel for the Detection of the 2009 H1N1 Influenza A Virus and to order it, please visit:

About TessArae, LLC

TessArae, founded in 2005, is a next generation diagnostics and bioinformatics company that designs and develops microarray-based resequencing applications in the fields of infectious disease detection and identification, pharmaceutical manufacturing QA/QC, tools for genetic testing and services for research and clinical diagnostics, by leveraging the molecular genomics, infectious disease, medical, and public health experience of its founders.

The TessArray® RPM (Resequencing Pathogen Microarray) technology is a turnkey Research Use Only device. TessArray RPM technology is being used to develop new applications for detection and identification of respiratory agents (RPM-Flu), tropical and emerging infectious agents (RPM-TEI), and hemorrhagic fever viruses (RPM-HFV), all as research applications, not cleared, approved, or authorized for in vitro diagnostic use to diagnose infected patients. Other products are in development for the detection of nosocomial, food borne, gastrointestinal and blood borne pathogens and porcine and equine infectious diseases.

TessArae, a privately held company, is headquartered in Potomac Falls, VA. For more information about TessArae, please visit the company’s website at or by e-mail at

NOTE: TessArae®, TessArae & Vertical Mosaic Design®, TessArray®, and TessArray & Horizontal Mosaic Design®, and Move Beyond PCR® are registered trademarks and registered service marks owned by TessArae, LLC.

About Affymetrix

Affymetrix technology is used by the world’s top pharmaceutical, diagnostic, and biotechnology companies, as well as leading academic, government, and not-for-profit research institutes. More than 1,800 systems have been shipped around the world and more than 20,000 peer-reviewed papers have been published using the technology.

Affymetrix is headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif., and has manufacturing facilities in Cleveland, Ohio, and Singapore. The company has about 1,100 employees worldwide and maintains sales and distribution operations across Europe and Asia. For more information about Affymetrix, please visit the company’s website at

Forward-Looking Statements

All statements in this press release that are not historical are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act as amended, including statements regarding Affymetrix’ “expectations,” “beliefs,” “hopes,” “intentions,” “strategies,” or the like. Such statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially for Affymetrix from those projected. These and other risk factors are discussed in Affymetrix’ Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2008, and other SEC reports for subsequent quarterly periods.

NOTE: Affymetrix, the Affymetrix logo, and GeneChip® are registered trademarks of Affymetrix Inc. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.


TessArae, LLC
Matthew Lorence, PhD, MBA, 703-444-7188 ext. 103 (Media)
Vice President, Marketing and Sales
Lou Paladeau, 703-444-7188 ext. 104 (Investors)
Chief Financial Officer
Affymetrix Inc.
Justin O’Kelly, 408-731-5991 (Media)
Public Relations Manager
Doug Farrell, 408-731-5285 (Investors)
Vice President, Investor Relations


Is the United States Headed for a Major Food and Crop Crisis in 2010? (Over 50% of Midwest Counties are Primary Disaster Areas)

I just drove south down Interstate 5 through central California and the appearance is stunning when compared to when I last drove this interstate highway back in 2003. Once fertile green fields have turned into brown patches that appear better suited for Interstate 40 heading due east to Needles. The picture above is one of the MANY protest signs saying "Congress Created Dust Bowl" that I saw posted on these now barren lands. Another sign I repeatedly saw was, "food grows where water flows."

You can read more about the California water dispute in the central farming valleys by clicking The Federal Government Turns Off Water to Fresno and San Joaquin Valley Farmers (No Food for the Masses?). This dispute will likely increase food costs in this country. This country's disaster zones will also affect overall food costs, because it is being reported that over 50% of the counties in the Midwest are considered primary disaster areas. No doubt, this will affect farming the Midwest region which will affect the national food supply. Is the country headed for a food crisis?

All someone needs to do to know the world is headed is for food crisis is to stop reading USDA’s crop reports predicting a record soybean and corn harvests and listen to what else the USDA saying.

Specifically, the USDA has declared half the counties in the Midwest to be primary disaster areas, including 274 counties in the last 30 days alone. These designations are based on the criteria of a minimum of 30 percent loss in the value of at least one crop in the county. The chart below shows counties declared primary disaster areas by the secretary of Agriculture and the president of the United States.

For a list of Secretarial disaster declarations, see here.

For a list of Presidential disaster declarations, see

The same USDA that is predicting record harvests is also declaring disaster areas across half the Midwest because of catastrophic crop losses! To eliminate any doubt that this might be an innocent mistake,
the USDA is even predicting record soybean harvests in the same states (Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Alabama) where it has declared virtually all counties to have experienced 30 percent production losses. It isn’t rocket scientist to realize something is horribly wrong.

Source: Market Skeptics

DARPA Scientists Want to Control Lightning and Know the Science of All Atmospheric Electricity!

Those wild and crazy scientists at DARPA are always coming up with something right out of a comic book. DARPA first brought us the Internet two scores ago! DARPA has also proposed a lifelog program and extraterrestrial internet networks. In other words, DARPA comes up with the future technologies. It is now wants to know everything there is to know about lightning! We are definitely in the 21st century when the military is funding scientists to learn and experiment on lightning!

If you know a lot about lightning and atmospheric electricity, then DARPA wants to hear from you!

The project to provide lightning on tap is known as "Nimbus".

According to DARPA, Nimbus lightning-triggering equipment is in no way intended for differently-sane researchers to jumpstart enormous, powerful monsters assembled from assorted body parts and directed by brains recovered from criminal psychopaths. No, it's all about protecting property from lightning damage, or "advances in... science relating to lightning".

But then, DARPA claimed that packet-switched networking was all about military communications or something of that sort: whereas in fact it turned out to be predominantly a vehicle for global distribution of pornography. So it would be unwise to believe what they say this time around.

You can read the full pre-solicitation at the DARPA site, but you will probably be "tracked, traced and databased" (thank Infowarrior) if you click the link.

According to the full briefing report, the goals of the program are:

DARPA’s interest in lightning and atmospheric electricity centers on protection of personnel, assets, and ordnance from possible injury, damage, or disruption from lightning activity. The major thrust of the Nimbus program is to obtain a solid understanding of lightning and associated physical phenomena in order devise strategies to protect personnel, assets and ordnance. Specifically, the goals of Nimbus are to produce:

1.Experimentally validated, quantitative models of the natural lightning process, including initiation, propagation, and attachment. Questions include: what measurable quantities are important to understanding these processes? How can they be estimated from ground measurements?

2.Experimentally validated, quantitative models of the rocket-triggered lightning process, including initiation, propagation, and attachment, based on quantities that can be measured from the ground. This model should include predictions, based on relevant parameters (e.g., storm type, location, size, electric field strength, rocket speed, etc.), of the probability that lightning can be triggered using a rocket.

3.Experimentally validated, quantitative models of the triggering of transient luminous events (TLEs), lightning-induced electron precipitation, and related ionospheric phenomena, using rocket-triggered lightning.

4.Experimentally validated, quantitative models of any other process that is demonstrably fundamental to the understanding of physical phenomena associated with lightning. Examples of such phenomena might include: terrestrial gamma ray flashes (TGF), production of x-rays, sferics, compact intra-cloud discharges, tribocharging in clouds, etc.

5.Optimal strategies to reduce the probability of lightning strikes in a given area in the presence of a thunderstorm. Given an area (size: 1 square kilometer) in the presence of a thunderstorm, is it possible to reduce the probability of a cloud to ground lightning strike in that area? How might lightning initiation be inhibited, or lightning propagation be diverted or blocked to achieve this goal? Is it possible to induce lightning in one region within the storm system, in order to suppress lightning in the region in need of protection? What are the optimal strategies, and the necessary resources, to achieve this goal?

Source: The Register ; DARPA

Image Source: Genzo

U.S. Schools Are More Segregated Today Than in the 1950s!

I am quite sure that this is not the dream that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wanted for America and America's black people. Nevertheless, America's schools are more segregated today than they were in the 1950s.

Schools in the United States are more segregated today than they have been in more than four decades. Millions of non-white students are locked into “dropout factory” high schools, where huge percentages do not graduate, and few are well prepared for college or a future in the US economy.

According to a new Civil Rights report published at the University of California, Los Angeles, schools in the US are 44 percent non-white, and minorities are rapidly emerging as the majority of public school students in the US. Latinos and blacks, the two largest minority groups, attend schools more segregated today than during the civil rights movement forty years ago. In Latino and African American populations, two of every five students attend intensely segregated schools. For Latinos this increase in segregation reflects growing residential segregation. For blacks a significant part of the reversal reflects the ending of desegregation plans in public schools throughout the nation. In the 1954 case Brown v. Board of Education, the US Supreme Court concluded that the Southern standard of “separate but equal” was “inherently unequal,” and did “irreversible” harm to black students. It later extended that ruling to Latinos.

If you want to read the full report, click HERE.

Reviving the Goal of an Integrated Society

Source: Project Censored

Report Source: Orfield, G., Reviving the Goal of an Integrated Society: A 21st Century Challenge, Los Angeles, CA: The Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at UCLA

China Begins Dumping the U.S. Dollar!