Students use computational biology to confront COVID-19

first_img Related Six months into the global pandemic, there is still no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19. A team of Harvard undergraduates is working to change that.Members of Harvard’s International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) team are using computational biology to develop a therapy that enables the body to quickly develop COVID-19 antibodies and jump-start the immune system’s battle against the disease.“Our goal is to make a viral therapeutic that is easily accessible to people across a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds, and is also quick to produce,” said Frank D’Agostino ’23, an applied math concentrator. “As we’ve seen, with lockdowns there aren’t easy ways to get into labs. So to be able to do things computationally is crucial because it reduces the amount of time you have to spend in the lab.”Using computational tools, and collaborating via Zoom and Slack, the students are designing a DNA origami structure to deliver a COVID-19 antibody protein directly to the immune system.Building the origami structure involves folding DNA strands into specific shapes, drawing on different methods of DNA complementarity, to create an effective delivery vehicle for the molecular cargo. “Our goal is to make a viral therapeutic that is easily accessible to people across a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds, and is also quick to produce.” — Frank D’Agostino ’23 Analytics group joins forces with organizations fighting COVID-19 Using data science for social good “The DNA origami nanostructure acts as the capsule to protect the cargo that we want to deliver to the specific cells,” said David Cao ’23, a bioengineering concentrator. “It also acts as the specificity to target which cells, because there are so many cells in the body. The DNA origami has little receptors on the outside of the box that can attach to specific parts of the cells we are trying to target.”Inside that DNA origami nanostructure will be a tiny sequence of antibody mRNA that will enable the body’s B-cells to produce a burst of COVID-19 antibodies. The students are using machine learning to sift through tens of thousands of different antibodies, then identify and optimize the best one to fight COVID-19, from which they will draw the mRNA.Utilizing mRNA rather than the antibody itself is significantly less expensive, which could enable this therapy to be more widely adopted, said Robert Shekoyan ’23, a human developmental and regenerative biology concentrator.Using machine learning has been a learning experience, D’Agostino said, as the team has had to determine which machine learning technique is the right tool for their process — a process that would typically be performed experimentally.“We are trying to translate one-dimensional sequence data into what will hopefully be a three-dimensional antibody that has to interact in a complex environment,” D’Agostino said. “It has been challenging to get the resources and know-how to translate those things correctly without making major assumptions that could be detrimental to the machine learning process.”The work has emphasized to the students the critical role of computational biology, and how machine learning and computational design methods will become even more significant for future synthetic biology research.center_img This is what a scientist looks like Project aims to give young students real-life STEM role models To adviser Jia Liu, assistant professor of bioengineering at the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the remote nature of this year’s iGEM project highlights the importance of computational training for students in experimental sciences.He sees this as a golden opportunity to implement more computational biology components into iGEM, combining computational techniques with bench work to show how these cutting-edge tools can enhance experimental research.And since iGEM is offering teams the option of a two-phase project over the next two years, the 2021 iGEM team may be able to pick up this computational groundwork and bring it into the lab, experimentally validating the effectiveness of the antibody design and DNA structure.“Things are very different in a virtual setting,” D’Agostino said. “We need to do all this while having the foresight of being in a laboratory setting so we can set ourselves up for success. Everything can be much more complicated in a real-world scenario.”last_img read more

Lakewood Walmart Stepping Up Mask Enforcement, Limiting Store Entrance

first_imgWNYNewsNow Stock Image.LAKEWOOD – The Lakewood Walmart is taking additional steps to improve customer and employee safety.In a post on social media this week, the Lakewood Walmart announced only the Grocery Department doors will be open, creating a single entrance and exit point into the superstore.Additionally, the store is also stepping up its mask wearing policies.This week, the Retail Industry Leaders Association sent a letter to the National Governors Association asking for help with enforcing mask mandates. “Despite compliance from the majority of Americans, retailers are alarmed with the instances of hostility and violence front-line employees are experiencing by a vocal minority of customers who are under the misguided impression that wearing a mask is a violation of their civil liberties,” the retail group, whose members include Best Buy, Dollar General and Home Depot, wrote, in the letter, which was made public Tuesday. “Wearing a mask is not about fear, and it certainly should not reflect one’s politics.”The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the use of facial coverings such as masks when it’s difficult to maintain a distance from other people, although there’s no federal order requiring people to do so.New York State has a mandatory mask order for residents that are unable to maintain six feet of distance. Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window),It absolutely IS a violation of our civil liberties to enforce masks. Forcing healthy people to wear masks is taking control of their health and making health decisions for them.,So wearing a seat belt, not smoking in a public building and not drinking and driving are not violating your civil liberties, even though those laws are in place to keep people safe and healthy, but wearing a mask is. Rather silly.,If that were the case Nick, stores which require you to wear shirt shoes and pants for entry would be violating your civil rights. That is not the case. You have the right to choose to shop wherever you wish and a privately owned business has the right to permit or deny entry to whoever they choose.,Nick, Your ignorance is a violation of everyone’s safety. How amazingly arrogant and self centered. Hilarious that you post your lack of ability to understand basic microbiology.,I may not know you but I still value your life why don’t you value mine?,Nick,It appears you are only concerned about yourself. Wearing a mask is for the greater good of all.last_img read more

Meet New Cinderella Star Paige Faure!

first_imgAge: 27 View Comments Related Shows “At the stage door, kids who grew up with the Disney version of Cinderella ask, ‘Why aren’t you wearing blue?’ and they get thrown by the fact I’m not blonde. But they learn very quickly that it’s OK to be different, and that’s pretty magical, too.” Cinderella “My husband [Les Miz star Adam Monley] and I have cultivated a community of friends and family to help take care of our son Hank. We survive on them. It’s tough both being in shows, but we’re really lucky—he’s the perfect kid.” “Before Broadway, I worked at Starbucks. I loved making caramel macchiatos—you draw on the inside of the cup with caramel sauce, so it was actually somewhat creative!” Stage & Screen Cred: Faure made her Broadway debut in the ensemble of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, then briefly departed Cinderella for Bullets Over Broadway before returning to play the title role in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical.center_img “You’re constantly thinking, as an actor, ‘What am I going to do when I’m unemployed?’ At some point, I’d love to get a sommelier’s license. I went from liking red wine to liking red zins to liking specific winemakers. I think my palate is pretty decent.” Hometown: Atlanta, GA “My life was like Dance Moms as a kid. Body glitter galore! There’s pictures of me somewhere in cheetah hot pants with black sequins. It was so, so bad.” Current Role: After a stint in the Cinderella ensemble, Faure is now donning the glass slippers as Broadway’s Ella—she’ll continue the role in the production’s first national tour beginning this October. She also plays mom to 17-month-old Hank. “I wanted to be a ballerina when I was really young. But then I realized I really like eating burgers and stuff.” Show Closed This production ended its run on Jan. 4, 2015last_img read more

Clips of the Week: February 15, 2013

first_img1. Square SalmonSpring fishing is right around the corner. Here is a film from around the Southeast to get you in the mood featuring lunkers from Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Square Salmon from Robert Gibbes on Vimeo.2. Hospital BouldersClimbing season is also right around the corner. Here is a profile of the Hospital Boulders in Gadsden, AL.Hospital Boulders from Brandon Campbell on Vimeo.3. Longboarding to the ExtremeThis person appears to be insane.4. Unicycle to the ExtremeSketchy to say the least. Turn on closed caption.last_img read more

Can you squeeze 528 for us?

first_imgQuick question: how many family activities can you name these days where everyone willingly participates, free of digital distraction, and nobody complains? Quick answer: skiing and snowboarding. The current digital era has arguably changed family dynamics more than any other social environment and yet hitting the slopes en masse remains wonderfully old fashioned. Sure, there’s some Go Pro filming plus pauses to “snap” or “gram” a moment, but in the end skiing together really does mean together.If you’re curious about how good skiing could be for your family, head to Seven Springs Mountain Resort one weekend and take a look at everyone’s faces. Guaranteed, you’ll see beaming smiles from just about everybody, regardless of age. There’s an unmistakable shared sense of silliness that resonates on the 10 chairlifts, down the 30+ runs, and inside the lodge.The reasons behind this glee abound: It’s the fifth grader who just skied her first black diamond run or the dad who gave snowboarding a try. Perhaps mom has finally figured out how to carve that inside ski edge during her private lesson or the little guy nailed his pizza turns in morning ski school and can’t wait to show them off when he joins the rest of his family after lunch. One beautiful truth about skiing and snowboarding: improvement is just part of the fun.Seven Springs Mountain Resort was designed to be all-inclusive, a diverse snow sport environment with expert-only glades, seven terrain parks, and plenty of intermediate and beginner slopes. Rental and lesson packages provide a great introduction to skiing or snowboarding and the Seven Springs offerings provide an ideal learning environment. Affordably priced and featuring small-sized groups, classes match new skiers of similar ability and teach them to ski appropriate terrain before transitioning to the next level.This communal exuberance provides one of the most cherished and unique experiences in all of sport. We may not take the same jump off that little ledge or carve as deeply into the powder or even scoot the same way down a shared run, but the buzz from an unbridled sense of accomplishment and mutual enjoyment remains unmistakable.This enthusiasm carries well beyond the slopes at a resort like Seven Springs, where families and groups of friends can gather inside 11 different dining establishments, such as the Pizza Place, Bavarian Lounge, and Foggy Brews. Families, especially those with teenagers, appreciate Slopeside’s buffet-style dinners, while burger buffs fall for Timbers. DJs spin at the Matterhorn Lounge on weekends, while plenty of families summit the snow tubing park —whether for the Tuesday Night Tube-A-Palooza Party complete with all-you-can-eat buffet (see previous teenager comment!) or for great fun every other night of the week.The quality time we spend with our kids continues to disappear into the digital divide. Providing livery service between this soccer tournament and that middle school dance just isn’t enough. As parents, even though we all know most of this separation is perfectly healthy, we still crave a little more “us” time as a family. So whether you have a five-year-old or fifteen-year-old twins, make some time for Seven Springs Mountain Resort and see what family bonding’s all about. read more

How Senate Hopefuls Keep Donors Secret From Voters Until It’s Too Late

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York By Derek Willis and Robert Faturechi, ProPublicaFor nearly 15 years, voters have been able to click a mouse to view an up-to-date list of who’s contributed to candidates for the presidency and the U.S. House, and how those funds have been spent.But the law still allows Senate candidates to file campaign reports on paper, making it nearly impossible to keep up with the flow of money.Efforts to fix that imbalance have died over and over again in the Senate, regardless of which party controlled the chamber. Whether the latest attempt succeeds before the 2016 election may rest on a political horse trade – one that would loosen the reins on another part of campaign spending.Since December 2000, presidential and House candidates have had to file campaign reports electronically to the Federal Election Commission, meaning the public, journalists and analysts can see donors and recipients within minutes. The language in the 2000 law, though, didn’t cover Senate candidates.As a result the Senate uses a paper system that hasn’t changed much since 1972: Filings are mailed, faxed or delivered by hand to the Secretary of the Senate. The paperwork, which can involve thousands of pages in a big race, is then passed to the FEC, which pays to have the documents scanned and posted online. The information in the reports is typed into a computer so the data can be published for researchers and journalists. The whole process costs the FEC up to $500,000 a year, the Congressional Budget Office has said.The cumbersome process means information about fundraising and spending isn’t available for days or sometimes more than a week after the reports are due – and then in a format that isn’t easily searchable. In the final weeks before an election, voters may have only a few days to look through hundreds of pages of filings in key races. This isn’t new: a Campaign Finance Institute analysis in 2004 showed that “voters preparing to go to the polls last November did not know where a large amount of money to elect their Senators for the next six years was coming from.”In most cases it’s a matter of delayed information that could be useful to undecided voters, rather than someone trying to hide an improper donation. This pattern has continued in recent elections, although the FEC has reduced the length of time voters would need to wait. For example, the final filing before the November 2014 election was due on Oct. 23. In Colorado, Democratic Sen. Mark Udall was locked in a tight re-election race that he eventually lost to Cory Gardner, a Republican congressman. Udall submitted his campaign filing to the Senate on Oct. 22. But images of the 1,029 pages did not get posted on the FEC site – where the public could examine them – until Oct. 28, six days later, according to the FEC. That filing included maximum contributions from the Steelworker and Teamster labor union PACs, as well as at least $33,000 from donors via the League of Conservation Voters.The contributions and expenditures in the filing did not get typed into the FEC’s databases, where they could be searched, until Nov. 25, weeks after the election. Udall raised $725,078 and spent $2.1 million during the period covered by that filing, but Colorado’s voters had seven days to look through a thousand pages.Gardner’s final pre-election report was submitted on Oct. 23 and posted to the web six days later. It included a $1,000 contribution from the Susan B. Anthony List PAC, which supports candidates opposed to abortion rights, and the $4,000 rental of a list of donors from the PAC of Michele Bachmann, the former Minnesota congresswoman and 2012 presidential candidate.Similarly, all candidates are required to file reports during the final 20 days before an election listing contributions of $1,000 or more. House and presidential candidates file these “48-Hour reports” electronically; Senate candidates fax them to the Senate, which then sends them off to the FEC to be posted. An 11-page filing by Thom Tillis, a Republican who defeated North Carolina Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan in 2014, was faxed to the Senate on Oct. 31 but not officially received until Nov. 3, the day before the election. It listed $92,350 in contributions, including $2,600 from Shelly Adelson, the daughter of casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, which few North Carolina voters could see before the election – unless they happened to be in Washington the day before the vote.Of course, nothing stops Senate candidates from voluntarily filing electronic campaign reports. This year, 19 senators have done so – 16 Democrats, two independents and one Republican, as have several Democratic Senate candidates.Bills that would make this mandatory have failed in the Senate for more than a decade. They died in committee or were defeated by adding so-called poison pill amendments without bipartisan support. The closest one came to passing in the last Congress. That measure, introduced by Democratic Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, one of the 16 Democrats who have already gone digital, was approved by a Senate committee and had a majority of the Senate as co-sponsors. But it was never brought to the floor of the chamber, which was controlled by Democrats at the time. That indicates the bill didn’t have the 60 votes needed to overcome any objection to its consideration.This year’s version is included in a Senate spending bill, which was approved in July by the appropriations committee. The key to the provision’s chances, though, may be a second campaign finance provision in the same bill, an idea that has been pushed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican.The proposal by McConnell has been floated before by Republicans as a possible trade for the filing fix. It would remove a ceiling on so-called coordinated political party spending. Proponents of the change say the limit has become outmoded in the increasingly wild world of campaign finance. Opponents say loosening the rule would be one more step toward unregulated politics.Spending by political parties can be divided into two main categories – independent expenditures, defined as money spent on ads or other communications advocating the election or defeat of a candidate without consulting or cooperating with a candidate’s campaign; and coordinated spending, which means money spent with the candidate’s cooperation.Parties can put whatever they want into independent expenditures but federal law limits coordinated spending, on the theory that such restrictions reduce the amount of outside money flowing directly to advocacy for a particular candidate. (Those limits vary by state according to population, ranging from $96,000 in Delaware to $2.8 million in California for Senate races.)With no limits on independent expenditures, that’s where the parties have shifted spending. In the 2014 cycle, national party committees spent eight times as much on independent ads as coordinated ads – $228 million compared with $27.6 million, according to the FEC.But as coordinated spending has fallen, the rise of super PACS and nonprofits that funnel cash outside of the party apparatus has transformed campaign finance and rendered limits on party spending irrelevant, say analysts including Thomas E. Mann, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.“It’s silly for parties to have to set up independent spending operations” in the new world of super PACs and nonprofits, said Mann, who testified before a Senate committee in 2007 in support of removing the coordinated spending limit.Daniel Weiner, an attorney at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, who advocates for stricter campaign finance rules, also supports the general notion of eliminating caps on coordinated party spending. He said removing limits would likely divert some outside spending back into the party structure, which he said would be healthier for democracy because it could diminish the influence of super PACs and so-called dark money. Compared to independent groups, he said, parties are more internally democratic and accountable to the public because they’re “repeat players.”Independent expenditures by parties wouldn’t disappear entirely, Weiner said. In scenarios where candidates want to maintain plausible deniability over an expense – an attack ad, for example – parties would likely still opt to go it alone.Many Democrats and campaign finance reform groups, though, are already on record against the idea of lifting the restrictions, dimming the chance of a trade. McConnell’s proposal was first included in a spending bill last December. It was withdrawn after opposition from Democrats including Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico, who said at the time that the measure would “remove one of the few dams left” on the flood of money from the “ultra-rich” into campaign spending.During this latest round, the Campaign Legal Center and other advocacy groups sent a letter to senators in July, saying that loosening the party limits would “seriously undermine longstanding campaign finance provisions.” Democrats failed to remove it from the bill in committee on a party-line vote. This week, the groups sent a letter to Obama urging him to veto any bill that included looser campaign finance rules, including the elimination of coordination limits.McConnell’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment on any possible deal. Marnee Banks, a spokeswoman for Tester, said in an e-mail that the fate of the electronic filing requirement “depends on if Republican leadership is willing to start negotiating on [spending] bills.” She added, “As we’ve seen so far this Congress they are refusing to sit down and hash out a deal.”For now, the prospects don’t seem bright. The Senate spending bill is stalled. Democrats have pledged to filibuster appropriations bills until Republicans renegotiate budget limits. And even if the McConnell measure endures, there’s no guarantee the electronic filing piece won’t be carved out of the bill.Failing any movement, voters wanting to track how their Senate candidates raise and spend money next year will have the same options as 40 years ago: waiting for a tall stack of documents to arrive.Related stories: For more coverage of politics and lobbying, read ProPublica’s previous reporting on the ripples from Scott Walker’s legal victory, the insurance lobby’s pivot to Democrats and an imploding super PAC.ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter.last_img read more

Late start of construction of the first Marriott hotel in Split due to the fate of Tehnika

first_imgYesterday, the US Ambassador to Croatia Robert Kohorst visited the “Dalmatia Tower” under construction, which will house the first Marriott hotel in Croatia. As it says Business diary, this week a court decision on the fate of the main contractor on the facility, the company Tehnika dd, is expected, after which it will be known whether they will continue with the realization of the highest facility in Croatia or another contractor will take over the work.”We are sorry for the situation in which Tehnika found itself, the cooperation was very correct, but we want to complete the project as soon as possible. With each passing day, not only our company, but also the whole of Split is at a loss due to the open construction site located at the very entrance to the city. Despite business problems, we still have a binding construction contract with the main contractor, which has put us in a situation where instead of the 2019 season, the first Croatian Marriott will receive its first guests in the 2020 season.”Said Josip Komar, President of the Management Board of the investor company, Westgate Tower doo for Poslovni dnevnik.By the end of the month, a court ruling is expected to define the business status of the joint-stock company Tehnika, for decades one of the leading construction companies for building construction in the domestic and foreign markets. “We are also talking to another, potential contractor in case they are unable to continue construction for a long time. With an existing or new contractor, construction continues in November.”Concluded Komar.The new tower will be named “Dalmatia”, it will be the tallest in Croatia with 115 meters in height, which will be the ground floor and 27 floors. The hotel will be located from the 16th to the 26th floor, will have 190 rooms and suites categorized with four stars, while the entire project is worth 600 million kuna. The opening was planned for 2019, but according to the situation, the first Marriot hotel will open in 2020.Thus, more than 100 million members of the Marriotta loyalty program will finally be able to choose Croatia as part of the Marriot offer.last_img read more

Biden aims for big Michigan win, while Sanders looks to keep White House hopes alive

first_imgVirtual knockout or long primary fight? In Michigan, Sanders has pressed his criticism of Biden’s past support for global trade deals such as the North American Free Trade Agreement. The trade pact is unpopular in Michigan, where it is blamed for costing jobs.Biden has countered by recalling the Obama administration’s decision to bail out the auto industry, an economic pillar in Michigan, and help its biggest city, Detroit, navigate a municipal bankruptcy.Biden is “viewed pretty favorably here. So, it does have that different element compared to 2016,” said Steven Rzeppa, the mayor of Trenton, Michigan, an auto industry community south of Detroit, who added Sanders had a stronger organization in the state.A Biden breakthrough in Michigan, and big victories in Missouri and Mississippi, where he is heavily favored, would put him in prime position to strike a virtual knockout on Sanders in next week’s March 17 contests, when the big states of Florida, Ohio, Illinois and Arizona all cast votes.If Biden retains a significant lead in delegates after next week’s voting, Sanders will be out of realistic possibilities to catch up. By the end of March, about two-thirds of the delegates up for grabs in the race will be allocated.Heading into Tuesday’s voting, Biden leads Sanders by 628-545 in pledged delegates, according to Edison Research. A total of 1,991 is needed for the nomination.The other big state where Sanders hopes for a win on Tuesday is Washington, which has 89 pledged delegates. Sanders beat Clinton there in 2016, when the state held caucuses, but it has switched to a primary this year and recent polls show a close race.Idaho and North Dakota, with 20 and 14 delegates respectively, also held caucuses in 2016 that went for Sanders. Both states are expected to be more competitive this time.Idaho has switched to a primary this year, and North Dakota’s contest is called a caucus but functions as a primary, allowing voters to show up at polling sites during an eight-hour window during the day.Topics : Joe Biden hopes to take a big step toward the Democratic presidential nomination on Tuesday when six states cast votes, while Bernie Sanders aims for an upset win in Michigan that would keep his White House hopes alive.Biden, who claimed the position of Democratic front-runner with a sweeping series of wins last week in Super Tuesday nominating contests, could build a formidable lead in the race to pick a challenger to President Donald Trump with another round of decisive victories.The biggest showdown between Biden and Sanders will take place in Michigan, a political battleground where Sanders sprang a stunning 2016 upset over Hillary Clinton that ensured a long nominating fight – something Biden hopes to avoid this time. With 125 delegates, Michigan is the largest prize of the six states voting on Tuesday, when a total of 352 delegates to July’s Democratic nominating convention will be up for grabs.Missouri, Mississippi, Washington, North Dakota and Idaho also hold nominating contests.Since last week’s romps on Super Tuesday, Biden has roared into the national lead in polling and delegates, knocked out his remaining viable rivals except Sanders and swept up another wave of endorsements from prominent Democrats and former rivals such as Senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker.Democrats who were worried that Sanders’ democratic socialist proposals to restructure the economy would doom the party to defeat in the November election have rushed to rally behind Biden, the former vice president under Barack Obama.center_img Biden has a double-digit lead in the four most recent polls taken in Michigan. But Clinton held a similar lead in Michigan polls over Sanders, a senator from Vermont, before the 2016 primary, making predictions of the outcome this time even less reliable than usual.Like his resounding win in South Carolina that was powered by overwhelming support from African Americans, Biden was again lifted in Super Tuesday contests by strong support from black voters.In 2016, about one-fifth of Democratic primary voters in Michigan and Missouri, and an overwhelming 70% in Mississippi, were black.last_img read more

California braces for more lightning as wildfires kill 7

first_imgTopics : It was 22% contained as of Monday while to the south the SCU Lightning Complex was nearly as large, at 347,000 acres, and only 10% contained.Another blaze threatened forests south of San Jose with the University of California at Santa Cruz under mandatory evacuation along with dozens of communities.Over 14,000 firefighters are on the wildfires which US President Donald Trump declared a major disaster, freeing up federal funds to help residents and businesses The fires, which were ignited by over 13,000 lightning strikes from dry thunderstorms across Northern and Central California, have killed at least seven people and destroyed over 1,200 homes and other structures.Smoke from wildfires that have burned over 1.2 million acres created unhealthy conditions for much of northern California and drifted as far away as Kansas.Around 240,000 people are under mandatory evacuation orders, or evacuation warnings, as the fires burn close to Bay Area communities as large as Santa Cruz, with around 65,000 residents.The LNU Complex, which began as a string of smaller fires that merged into one, has burned around 350,000 acres of Napa, Sonoma, Lake, Yolo and Solano counties, Cal Fire said.center_img California braced for more lightning storms on Monday that could supercharge massive wildfires burning across an area three times the size of Los Angeles.The worst of the wildfires, including the second and third largest in California history, were around the San Francisco Bay Area which was under a red flag warning for dry-lightning and gusty, erratic winds, the National Weather Service said.”The threat of a thunderstorm over a fire area is dangerous, let alone over the second and third largest in California history,” Brice Bennett, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said of the two largest blazes, the LNU and SCU Lightning Complexes.last_img read more