Real-time Earth and Moon phase

Monday, December 31, 2007

At the mercy of sea . . .

Here's a tragic story that did not get reported widely, it happened in Lake Michigan in late October, and it totally escaped Google Alert. A new commentary in Sailing Magazine characterized this case as "At the mercy of sea . . . and the sea show no mercy."

According to Sailing Magazine,
Three sailors died and a fourth crewmember was treated for hypothermia when the J/35 they were on smashed into a breakwall during a man overboard rescue in Chicago, Illinois, October 24.

The accident happened at about 8:15 p.m. near the end of a short trip to a local boatyard for the winter.
It was reportedly rough lake conditions with choppy waters that evening, the NOAA buoy in the middle of southern Lake Michigan (NDBC 45007) reported north winds from 21 to 30 knots and waves 7-9 feet high. The owner of the 35 feet J/35 sailboat "Jason" along with his three close friends decided to take the trip. They are all experienced sailors and they were all wearing life jackets. they left Columbia Yacht Club in downtown Chicago to take the boat to Crowley's Yacht Yard up the Calumet River some 12 nautical miles away.

According to Chicago Tribune, reported by Mary Owen, Jason Meisner, and Angela Rozas on October 25, 2007, the planned trip of Jason had almost made it,
. . . before the crew attempted to take down the sails close to a breakwall. Childers, of Evanston, fell overboard. The remaining crew radioed for help. The three men tried to circle and rescue Childers, but officials believe 10-foot waves slammed the boat into the cement and rock breakwall, throwing everyone overboard and smashing the boat into pieces. Rescuers from the Coast Guard, Chicago Marine Unit and a tugboat converged on the scene. They had trouble finding the crew in the choppy water. But then a wave crashed onto a rescue boat, shining its light onto the breakwall, where the men were splayed on the rocks, rescuers said Thursday.
The Coast Guard rescued all four men within 45 minutes but unfortunately only one survived. Killed were the sailboat’s owner John Finn, 45, Alexander Childers, 38, and Adam Kronen, 33. The survived crew member, Joseph Sunshine, 34, was treated at an area hospital.
Here's a picture of the sailboat similar to the one that was lost. According to local Coast Guard
officers that two mistakes caused this tragedy. First, they sent a man onto the foredeck without a harness, and secondly they took their sails down, when the sails could have made the difference in keeping them off the breakwall which destroyed the boat.

I have been strongly advocating wearing life jacket at all times, clearly that's not at all enough. Harness should also be required on deck on all boats, large or small, at all times. I think if it is at all possible, harnesses should also be provided around nearshore beach areas where nearshore freaque waves can occur at any time suddenly without warning.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Coast Guard exercise

I read this news in Global Surf News today, but it was first published a week ago (December 20, 2007) in the Daily Boat Magazine written by Kari Pugh. But the heart of the story is really the pictures taken by photographer Gary Robershaw. Because words are less effective in this case, one has to see the pictures to appreciate what was happened in California's Morrow Bay on that day, December 4, 2007.

According to Kari Pugh
Big waves are nothing new in California's Morro Bay Harbor. Each year for the last decade, the bay has claimed two lives, putting it near the top of the Coast Guard's list of dangerous waterways.
On Dec. 4, a Coast Guard crew on a training mission found out first hand just how treacherous Morro Bay can be. The crew's 47–foot rescue ship–a "Motor Life Boat" built to withstand the roughest surf–was out on a training exercise, jumping 12 to 15–foot waves, when it got slammed by a mammoth whitecap.

Photographer Gary Robertshaw was there taking pictures of the wave action for the Coast Guard. From his vantage point, high above sea level, he could see some huge swells breaking–even bigger than the 15–foot waves that prompted small craft advisories in the area throughout the day.

He knew the Coast Guard crew wouldn't be able to see the waves until it was too late.

"By the time they could spot these waves from the boat, I seriously doubt they had many choices as to what action to take," he said. "The first wave of the set passed by them without incident, but the second, much larger one followed very quickly."

Robertshaw kept clicking, but didn't know until later that he had captured images so amazing, that some people doubt they are real (the Coast Guard confirmed their authenticity).

Yes, indeed, but the images are more than just amazing. Imagine what you might feel if your were on the boat in the following picture:
most definitely it's not for the feint of heart kind like me. As Pugh described it:
. . . a towering wave tosses the boat high atop its crest, and then swallows it entirely. And for a few breathtaking frames, the vessel, dubbed "unsinkable” by the Coast Guard, disappears in the roiling surf.
while
Robertshaw kept clicking, but didn't know until later that he had captured images so amazing, that some people doubt they are real (the Coast Guard confirmed their authenticity).
And
for a few breathtaking frames, the vessel, dubbed "unsinkable” by the Coast Guard, disappears in the roiling surf.

Just as Robertshaw began to worry the boat wouldn't resurface, it popped up.

"It was definitely exciting," he said.

I think the fact that the boat popped up and resurface and resume their duty continuously makes every one wants to stand up and cheer. Just look at this one
which clearly show the boat turned 90 degrees toward upside down. So the title of Pugh's article was given as "Coast Guard Capsize." It probably really did happened as:
The Coast Guard Spokesman later announced that "Everybody was alright. That boat's made to roll!" somehow made me feel like an under-statement. Nevertheless, for an encountering like that, "everybody was alright" is really heart warming to hear. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God! (And of course thanks to Mr. Robertshaw for the pictures,)

Two Christmas time pictures

Here's a picture showing tsunami survivors pray at Marina beach to commemorate the third anniversary of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami published in National Post today. According to the paper, "On Dec. 26, 2004, giant waves triggered by one of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded pulverized villages along Indian Ocean shores, killing or leaving missing about 230,000 people."
Here's another significant historical Christmas time picture that all American should remember because it's a Christmas story at the birth of the U.S.A. but very few Americans know! (Hat-tip Power Line.)

Two historical facts: First
In May 1782, Colonel Lewis Nicola had urged Washington to accept the responsibility of becoming king of the United States.
And then:
On December 23, 1783, Washington resigned his commission as Commander in Chief to the Continental army at the Maryland State House in Annapolis, where Congress was assembled. Washington could have seized the moment to don the mantle of a tyrant; instead he chose to return to private life. Washington concluded his brief remarks:
I consider it an indispensable duty to close this last solemn act of my Official life, by commending the Interests of our dearest Country to the protection of Almighty God, and those who have the superintendence of them, to his holy keeping.

Having now finished the work assigned me, I retire from the great theatre of Action; and bidding an Affectionate farewell to this August body under whose orders I have so long acted, I here offer my Commission, and take my leave of all the employments of public life.

According to Thomas Fleming:
Thomas Jefferson, author of the greatest of these declarations, witnessed this drama as a delegate from Virginia. Intuitively, he understood its historic dimension. "The moderation. . . . of a single character," he later wrote, "probably prevented this revolution from being closed, as most others have been, by a subversion of that liberty it was intended to establish."
Does any one have any doubt why the United States of America is the greatest country of the universe? Because we have such truly great leaders at the birth of our great country!

Monday, December 24, 2007

The GITEWS -- German-Indonesia Tsunami Early Warning System

Everyone knows by now that tsunami is generated by earth's quick. Whenever there is an earth quick, there will be potential tsunami somewhere. Presently many of the fancy numerical models don't seem to go too much beyond this simple common sense understanding. Even with the addition of buoys -- every time a tsunami disaster happens, you can count on the government will managed to add more buoys, that doesn't seem to help very much either. That's pretty much the case that led to the disaster of Indonesia tsunami three years ago.

Well, at long last, there will be changes for the better in the air! I find myself impressed by what I have just read in AFP about the GITEWS - German-Indonesia Tsunami Early Warning System. Here's the basic concept behind it:
. . . based on different kinds of sensor systems. In ca. 90 % a tsunami is generated by an earthquake but also volcanic eruptions and landslides may be the triggering events. The conception aims at achieving indicators of a tsunami and its dimension by the analysis of different measurements at a very early stage. While a tsunami wave in the wideness of the sea spreads out with a speed up to 700 km/h, in the treated region a period of about 20 minutes elapses between the wave's generation and the first contact with the Indonesian mainland. In this timeframe the sensors, which will be installed at different locations inside the considered propagation areas, are able to rapidly detect deviations from normality (anomalies).
As the figure shows, the sensors for this system, as for the general tsunamis, comprise seismometers, GPS instruments, tide gauges, and buoys, as well as ocean bottom pressure sensors.

According to the AFP article, these sensors carry out measurements every 15 seconds and relay the information to a buoy which sends the information to Indonesia via satellite,
If a quake is detected and at the same time the seabed monitors measure abnormal water pressure, another complex part of the warning system kicks in, as the German National Research Centre for Geoscience (GFZ)'s technology seeks to predict where and when the tsunami will strike the coast.

"These calculations unfortunately take a long time because, since the seabed is not even, the range of variables to be taken into account is vast. We have therefore developed models of potential trajectories to save our computers time," Joern Lauterjung of GFZ said.

The system had what his team described as a "baptism of fire" in September when an 8.4-magnitude earthquake struck off the west coast of Indonesia's Sumatra island. It measured the size and location of the seism within a record five minutes.

This enabled the GFZ scientists to raise the alert to Indonesian authorities more than 10 minutes earlier than the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in Hawaii.

I am not certain, but I suspect this is the first time some one recognizes and accomplishes that in order to get tangible results, it has to have detailed comprehensive measurement. It is the case for tsunami, it will be the case for freaque waves and general ocean waves also!

It took the death of some 220,000 people after the December 26, 2004 tsunami to lead to the now GITEWS. Do we really need a major disaster to do something real meaningful. Why can't we do it before the disaster happens?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Say, what ever happened to fall?

The tittle of today's post is taken from an article in "The Sun Chronicle" with the same title given by the editor "Say, what ever happened to fall?" It's an article by Stephen Peterson that starts with
ATTLEBORO - Was there really a fall this year?

It just seemed like we cruised with no transition from summer to winter, which officially kicks in today.

It was an autumn of polar opposites, with most of the fall seeing above average and often downright summer-like temperatures, and the tail end experiencing temps well below normal and weather usually found in the heart of winter.

The weather changed so abruptly with the two recent snowstorms and Arctic chill, many homeowners didn't finish raking leaves before the wintry conditions descended.

which describes the New England, but it's more or less similar in our Midwest here also. We have enjoyed a relatively mild autumn season until last Monday's 10 plus inches' snow in the southeast Michigan.

In New England, according to Peterson:
The start of fall saw two straight days of record-breaking temperatures, including 91 degrees on Sept. 26.

October, with an average daily high temperature of 70 degrees, tied the record for the warmest October in the 68 years the water department has been keeping weather records. The month had an unusual four record daily high temperatures, including 86 degrees on Oct. 6 that tied for the highest October temp ever recorded, and 80 degrees Oct. 18 that broke a 51-year-old record.

November continued the unseasonably warm weather, with an average daily high of 53 degrees. The highest temp was 73 degrees.

With almost 17.5 inches of snow falling before winter arrived, from the two major storms and two minor ones this month, the Attleboro area has already surpassed last winter's 14.5 inches. The 11-inch storm on Dec. 13 fell into a two-way tie for the third biggest one-day snowfall for December.
Again with may be different dates, that's pretty much the same in Michigan. Charitably the reporter of this article did not mention global warming. I guess no one is complaining about the mild higher autumn temperature. As a matter of fact if global warming should bring us milder winter, who would object to that? There are plenty of good things come with global warming, why should it be branded as something disastrous?

Global warming is part of natural climate change that happens through out the history. Human really do not have much ability to influence it one way or the other. Neither Algore's private jet, nor my SUV can do much to affect the climate change. Why can't we be just happy with the beneficial aspects of the warming before the cooling will soon sets in, which no one can change that either. I wonder if Mr. Algore and his followers had ever stop and think how silly they might look when the real history of this period is finally written?

I worry about a whole lot of things my grand daughters might face in the world of their future, global warming is most definitely not one of them!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Global warming, hotter than ever -- really ?!

Huff, puff, huff and puff, "Breakthrough" of the year according to Science magazine by Eli Kintisch and Richard A. Kerr:

Global Warming, Hotter Than Ever

Really? How hot was it?

Huff and puff, it was hot ! how hot? huff and puff, you know, we had a long hot summer. Really?

Does anyone remember how "hotter than ever" the last summer was? I do, on one aspect. My next door neighbor has a swimming pool in their back yard facing my driveway. Every year there were a few extreme hot days and I can see our neighbor Nick jump into the pool. But this past summer I don't think they have used the pool once, may be at most once. So this is the breakthrough year hotter than ever for global warming? This is not science result, neither are Kintisch and Kerr's huff and puff or those media reports!

According to Science:
In 2007, the debate about the reality of global warming ended, at least in the political and public realms in the United States.
Really? No more debate? (That's why Algore doesn't have the nerve to debate anyone!) Here's why, huff, puff, according to Science:
After 6 years of silence, the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) drew heavy and wholly positive media coverage for a series of wide-ranging reports. The world is warming, IPCC declared; human activity is behind most of it, and if it keeps up we'll pay a price. But the panel also said that much of the climate pain might be avoided if the world agrees to begin sharing the economic pain. Impressed with that performance, the Nobel committee anointed IPCC, as well as climate campaigner Al Gore, with its Peace Prize.
That's it? That's the breakthrough? There's more;
A steady stream of media reports this year noted record melting of Greenland ice, record-high temperatures in the United States, and surging Antarctic glaciers.
O.K. "media" reports certainly carry weights! Since when did media reports become important in science? There's more:


Yes, this picture above of Dal Lake in Kashmir, India showing it has shrunk to half its former over 4 decades. It had never happen like that before? We have a history much much longer than 4 decades. This is the breakthrough?

Where's the beef? Oh yes, Science magazine, where's the science?

In the same issue of Science, there's also an article entitled "Revisiting ozone depletion" with the one sentence abstract: "New laboratory data imply unknown mechanisms in the formation of the ozone hole, but it is too soon to throw out the old paradigms." It appears that more questions regarding global warming theory but the author insists the results are "too soon" to believe them. Because they were too inconvenient! Science results are less reliable than media reports, of course!

Huff, puff, we are in a breakthrough year of global warming!

Last week we have nearly 10 inches snow accumulated over night as it'll happens most winters. But we are in a breakthrough year of global warming now. The Science magazine says so. Huff, puff, that must true! Huff, puff,
"The world is warming, IPCC declared; human activity is behind most of it, and if it keeps up we'll pay a price."
Huff, puff, it's Science magazine, Algore, and IPCC, you are too dumb not to believe it!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Mr. Mooney eat crow !?

Here's the beginning of the article today by Chris Mooney (author of the book "Storm World: Hurricanes, Politics, and the Battle Over Global Warming"):

Well, I am going to have to eat some crow.

Back in early October, I unwisely predicted there would be 18 Category 4 or 5 hurricanes globally in the year 2007. At the time, there had been 14. Since then there has only been one more – the incredibly devastating Cyclone Sidr – bringing the global total to 15. And with the year almost out, at this point I don't see any chance of not being wrong in my prediction.

In fact – and as we'll see – barring some sudden dramatic tropical eruption, 2007 is going to turn out to be a below-average year for overall global intense hurricane activity. That's not to say there weren't some serious hotspots – particularly the North and South Indian Ocean basins. But for anyone convinced that global warming is causing an increase in the intensity of the average hurricane, it's hard to make the case that 2007 serves as a data point in your favor.

The article is published in "thedailygreen" by their storm pundit, Mr. Mooney, with a long title "2007 Hurricane season does not support global warming link."

My reaction to this article is understandably "So what? Why should anyone be surprised by the common sense?" But it is somewhat refreshing nevertheless to see some frank assessment on what was really happened. I can't help wonder if Mr. Mooney will still be welcome by the Gorelobal warming gang, especially his conclusion of the article:
But nevertheless, the official 15 storm total – which, to be sure, could increase by the end of the year, but probably not by more than one storm at the absolute most – clearly does not help the argument that global warming is intensifying hurricanes. (emphasize added)
In Mathematics any well constructed theory will be immediately nullified if a counter example exists. So will the overwhelming number of scientists agreed theory that global warming intensifies hurricane be nullified by the 2007 fact? Of course not! Why? Because Mathematics is only a science, but global warming is really a kind of religion. Algore dropped out of divinity school but become the high priest of Gorelobal warming after all!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Surfers to the rescue II

I blogged about a case of two surfers rescued two lives in South Africa last month. Surfers can certainly be capable of heroic rescuers unexpectedly when opportunity presents itself. Here's another heart-warming story happened off the coast of U.K. North Cornwall:
Surfers from Exmouth have been hailed as heroes after plucking a drowning woman from massive waves.Dave Trelease and Jonathan Hawkins, backed up by friends Bradley Perkins and Ben Wright, who are all in their 20s, rushed to the rescue of the elderly swimmer off the coast of North Cornwall on Sunday.
The four had headed up to Padstow to catch giant waves that were reported to be rolling in from the Atlantic at Harlyn Bay.


Dave, 25, from Valley Way, Exmouth, said: "There were some very big waves and we were all in our winter wet suits. We were a fair way out, perhaps 100m, when I heard what seemed like howling. It was a terrible noise. We looked and could see a lady just off the point.

"She was about 50m away in a one-piece swim suit. The water was very cold and she must have been about 60 or perhaps older. You could see she was in trouble and she could barely raise her arms.

"Johnny, Bradley and I managed to paddle across to her. She was in a terrible state, barely conscious, screaming really badly and unable to move her arms.

"We got to her and struggled to get her on to one of the boards. She couldn't really help herself, she was barely conscious and she kept falling off.

"Bradley and I were holding her on and Johnny, who was a beach lifeguard at Exmouth, was at the front steering.

"We decided we had to get to the beach as quickly as we could so we rode the waves in. When we got on the beach she had gone a terrible yellow colour and was obviously suffering from hypothermia."

As his two friends looked after her, Dave raced to their parked van nearby, called for someone to alert the coastguard and ambulance and then ran back with warm clothing and a sleeping bag.

He said: "We did all we could to keep her warm and in about 10 minutes the air ambulance helicopter arrived. They gave her oxygen and she was flown out. I didn't think she was going to make it."

A coastguard spokesman said the woman rescued by the lads was local to Padstow and was a regular swimmer who appeared to have got into difficulties while swimming in the adjoining Trevone Bay.

"It seems she was caught by the rip currents and swept away," said the spokesman, who described the surfers' actions as heroic.

"She was very lucky these young men were on hand to rescue her. It could have been a tragedy.

"She was flown to Treliske Hospital at Truro and was made stable before being allowed home later."
Now rip currents are certainly as unpredictable as nearshore rogue waves. But whenever one gets caught in a rip current, it's difficult for the one to be able to calmly think of what to do. The alert surfers are definitely heros that saved the lady's life!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

If predicting weather is that difficult . . .

There is a very good and short opinion article in Florida' s Herald Tribune yesterday, I would like to reprint it here in its entirety because it expressed my thought totally and there is no need to add any more of my own comments, my two thumbs up for the author, Jim Travers of North Port:
If predicting weather is that difficult . . .

Well, the hype for the 2008 hurricane season has begun. No sooner did the 2007 hurricane season and forecast bust than we have next season's fearless forecast. If the experts keep forecasting an active season, sooner or later they'll get it right.

The variables involved in such forecasts are so complicated and difficult to predict that one makes long-range forecasts at one's own risk.

If it's so difficult to forecast 12 months in advance, how are we to have any faith in the long-term predictions for global warming? But I guess it doesn't matter, since few of us will be around to see how these dire predictions turn out.

Jim Travers

North Port

Last modified: December 12. 2007 12:00AM

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Freaque wave tickles spot made of light!

Wow! Earthshaking news! If your earth has not shaking yet something must be wrong. Because it appeared in Nature, and also in Scientific American. So no one should doubt the wisdom and judgement of these two scientific magazines, right? There would be probably be more, much more to come!

What is the news?

Well, just get ready to be completely impressed. First by the Nature's title
"Rogue waves made of light."
How can you not be impressed from a title like this in Nature! Yep, it's not any little green man or UFO, it's made of light. Are you impressed yet? If not then you better read, or study, the Scientific American's explanation:
"Essentially there is a sweet spot or tickle spot we found. If you tickle the wave on this particular spot, it develops into one of these rogue waves," he said.
Wow! How profound! A tickle spot develops into freaque waves. All ship captains beware, your job is now to look for the tickle spot in the ocean! Or else it will be your own risk that the spot develops into an ocean freaque wave and you are doomed! The "he" in the above Scientific American quote is Daniel Solli of the University of California, Los Angeles, whose study appears in the journal Nature. Are you impressed? He is the same Daniel Solli discovered "superluminal effects" that could potentially boost computer speeds by as two to ten times according to this "Latest Technology News" in April, 2001. Never heard of him? neither did I. Nevertheless can Nobel Peace Prize be far behind ?!

You are going to read more and more of this news from all newspapers and magazines everywhere in the coming days in one version of the write-up or another, I am sure. Just remember: readers are being enlightened here first!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Wet and windy

This is an impressive as well as scary picture published in thisislondon.co.uk this morning with a long title "Pictures of the weather in West Sussex show this is what the Met Office meant by wet and windy" and these description

The forecasters had warned us it was coming. But the sheer spectacle of the stormy weather took everyone by surprise.

This was the scene on the South Coast yesterday as gale force storms battered Britain, bringing chaos to roads and rail and threatening homes with more floods.

Winds hit hurricane speeds of 77mph in the South-West, while a combination of powerful gusts and high seas made seafronts and coastal paths treacherous.

Which is just about tells it all. I am in Netherland this week where the weather is wet but not as windy. So we can be thankful for that. It seems that the nature really does not like the man-made artificial seasons. All the bad weather around the world seems to started right after the man-made hurricane season ended. As this AP news indicated that there could still be a tropical storm in Atlantic to hit Puerto Rico yet. What makes the human so smart that they think they can decide the start and end of some season? It just ain't so!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Power thoughts

A short article in the U.K. tabloid "The People" perhaps describes a typical human reaction to nature. It's entitled "IT'S DECEMBRRR!" Yea, so it's December, so what? Here's the story

A triple whammy of wild weather threatened Britain this weekend.

Yesterday downpours flooded parts of South Wales while snow and ice hit parts of the North with more expected today.

Winds gusting up to 80mph are forecast to sweep into the South West.

The near-hurricane force blasts could damage property and bring down trees in Devon and Cornwall. Winds in the South will be up to 55mph, said forecasters.

Last night there were 30 flood warnings across England and dozens more flood watches with a predicted tidal surge today set to threaten defences in the Bristol Channel.

They are all true facts that are happening here, there, somewhere. When did the nature ever care about your seasonal designation anyway? Never, of course. So human has to learn to live with the nature, while the nature couldn't care less how human react. Of course there are human worse than the damage of the nature, because they have to blame other human for the nature. I guess those are the sub-human kind we have to live with it also. In the long run, however, nature power we can learn to cope sooner or later, it's when the sub-human gets power, then the unfortunate human sufferings will be unbearable!


Friday, December 07, 2007

Forecasting 2008 hurricane season

Here we are, one week after the official ending of the 2007 hurricane season, the new prediction for the 2008 hurricane season, still 6 months away, is already issued. Here's from the report in Colorado's 9news.com:
DENVER (AP) - Using a simplified forecasting technique, researcher William Gray is predicting an above-average hurricane season in the Atlantic next year, with seven hurricanes, three of them major.

Gray's team at Colorado State University had called for above-average storm seasons the past two Decembers - and both turned out to be wrong. Gray said he believes this year's forecast will be better.

"We think we're finally onto a scheme that will be more accurate," he said Friday.

The new forecast calls for a total of 13 named storms in the Atlantic. It says there is a slightly higher-than-average chance that at least one major hurricane will hit the United States.

Gray's predictions, now in their 25th year, are watched closely by emergency responders and others in hurricane-prone areas. But officials routinely express concerns that residents might become apathetic if predictions prove overblown. Government forecasters also predicted an above-average season for 2007.

So the predictions were wrong for 2006 and 2007. But no one's complaining. It takes guts to issue a prediction 6 months in advance.
Gray said the active era is not likely to end for another two decades, even though the past two seasons were below average.

"We've been very lucky the past couple years," he said.
Yes, indeed we have been very lucky the past couple years. Not to contend with Dr. Gray's scientific judgement, and based purely on human's selfish nature, I hope our luck would continue and the Gray team will be wrong again next year.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

A burp in the ocean !?

I find the following news from cfnews13.com interesting:

The Central Florida coast has never been slammed by a tsunami, but folks in Daytona Beach have experienced something very close.

Emergency management officials in Volusia County were looking forward to have a better idea of what the tsunami threat is after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Monday it has finished mapping out the ocean floor in Daytona Beach, along with two other cites.

"Once we see this data, it'll make us more aware and able to refine areas that are at risk, and it'll benefit our planning," said Jim Ryan, director of Volusia Emergency Management.

The closest Daytona Beach has been to seeing what the force of the ocean can do without warning was a rogue wave in 1992.

No one suffered serious injuries during that rogue wave, but it did topple and stack cars on top of one another.

The rogue wave was later determined to be a burp in the ocean that triggered several high waves.

Studies of the ocean floor could help determine the height and width of a tsunami wave, which could in turn determine what areas need to be evacuated.

I have never thought there can be a connection between central Florida and tsunami. Of course anything is possible. But I am very much interested in finding out who made the determination that the rogue wave was a 'burp' in the ocean, how was the determination made, and what does a burp look like? Have you seen a burp in the ocean lately?

Rejoice? Are you out of your mind?

The title of this post if my reaction to this Los Angeles Daily News article: "Surfers rejoice . . ." as they report from Malibu:
When the sun rises at Topanga State Beach today, Darren Hao will be on the break for some of the best surf of the decade.

"I'm crackin' it, 5 a.m., 5:15," said Hao, 37, of Malibu, waxing his board Tuesday as the sun prepared to drop over the horizon. "I'll pile out when it's dark to be the first on it.

"There'll be 20 guys in the water when the sun comes up - whatever. There's gonna be waves."

I am sure they are all aware of this following sad news 'Legendary' surfer perishes in huge waves:

An accomplished local surfer who lived for monster waves died Tuesday at Ghost Trees, a Monterey County surf spot known for its potent swells and dangerous conditions.

Peter Davi, 45, one of the area's most beloved watermen, apparently lost his board and attempted to swim to shore, according to fellow surfers. He was later found floating in the water unconscious and was pronounced dead around 1:30 p.m., the Monterey County coroner's office said.

His death devastated Santa Cruz and Monterey surfers, many of whom had ventured to Ghost Trees on Tuesday in search of big waves.

I have said before that surfers are both fearless and reckless. I admire their supreme courage, but I can not disregard their recklessness. It just reminds us that even the 'super' humans are human too. In the same article another professional surfer, Tyler Smith, indicated that the wave faces were as big as 60 to 70 feet, "almost as big as we've seen out there." And

At least 15 personal watercraft were circling in the water, Smith said, some carrying surfers and others carrying surf photographers. Big-wave riders often use such watercraft to tow each other into big surf and then snatch each other out of danger after a ride or a fall.

Smith said he believed Davi, who was the size of a football lineman, was paddling into waves and may have run into trouble after the leash tethering him to his board broke.

"It's super-sad, man," Smith said. "He was a gentle giant who surfed for his whole life. Everybody knew him. He was kind of like the godfather."

Our hearts go to the family of Mr. Davi, R.I.P.


After a quiet hurricane season . . .

The 2007's quiet hurricane season just ended, but the early winter season does not seem to be as kind to the Pacific northwest coasts of U.S. and the Atlantic west coasts of U.K. and Ireland. The news are plentiful on the internet but not much among the drive-by media. Here are some depressing pictures from USA Today and Seattle Post-Intelligencer:



These are clearly natural miseries that happens from time to time here, there, somewhere and sometime throughout the ages. This world is not paradise. I just earnestly hope that the Gore-bbale-gook gang will not trying to blame us SUV drivers for all these. But I am almost certain that they will. If so, so what? What did Algore people have ever done beyond blaming someone for the nature happenings no scientist could really get a handle on? They know not what they do!

Update

This wweek.com article by Corey Pein has some alternative thoughts about the storm and media coverage:

Is it safe to come out yet? WW’ s weather-watching professionals hunkered down in our hurricane-proof bunker watching the TV news for signs of the apocalypse, which, according to local meteorologists, was due to commence last week with snow (!) and an honest-to-God hurricane (!!).

Well, maybe not a hurricane, per se, but a “double whammy,” “one-two punch” of “monster storms” coming to “batter” the Oregon Coast with winds of more than 100 mph and flood the Willamette Valley. True, damage outside the Portland area was serious. Yet so was the need to fill air time to discuss the storm of the century. The storm may not have lived up to the hype—but the coverage could be more frightening than the event.
I totally agree with his viewpoints. But I still think the pictures, worth a few thousand words, are nevertheless rather depressing to look at.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

"I feel lucky to be alive!"

The title of this blog is the words of U.K. Yachtsman Tony Peters in responding to a BBC reporter. This BBC news is what I'll call a blogger's treat -- a story of freaque wave with a happy ending:
Yachtsman Tony Peters was halfway between Durban in South Africa and Fremantle in Australia during a round-the-world race when a freak wave sent him flying across the deck. He tells BBC Berkshire's Phil Kennedy about how he feels lucky to be alive.
Here's some interesting Q and A between Kennedy and Peters:

Before we get to the main story, what injuries have you sustained from this freak wave?

"I've got off quite lightly - I've got a broken nose and a cut across my forehead but that's it actually."

Tell us the story, you're in the middle of nowhere and ...what is a freak wave? How big was it?

"We knew it was going to be a large wave because we were down in the Indian Ocean which is actually one of the reasons I wanted to do the race.

"We were out on watch and thankfully I had the harness on, I was clipped on so that helped to save me.

"I had my back to the bow and unfortunately we just hit an enormous wave and it sent me flying across the deck and I hit my head on what we call the 'traveller', which is the boon that hit me on the forehead.

"There was quite a lot of blood but thankfully I wasn't unconcious so I was able to tell my colleagues what to do."

So lets just put this into context, you weren't sailing on your own were you?

"No there's 14 of us and there's 10 yachts in total racing around the world."

So what happened after that? Why is it they decided to send you home?

"Well, we have a link to Falmouth Coast Guard and they can link us directly to the doctor which we did do. That was all being done by the skipper while I was being treated on board.

"Because I had sustained quite a severe head injury the advice was that I needed to get off the boat and get to a hospital as soon as possible.

"So to be honest I knew straight away that that was what was needed but we were 350 miles out of Durban at the time and it was too windy for the helicopter to come out.

"They diverted a tanker but it was just too rough to get me off the yacht and onto the tanker but the tanker crew were very good and they stayed with us while we turned the yacht back around towards Durban and stayed with us all night.

"Then a South African frigate replaced the tanker and again they tried to get me onto that yesterday but it was just too rough at sea to do a transfer safely.

"The frigate escorted us back to Durban and eventually I was taken off the yacht by lifeboat and then taken to hospital.

"I spent most of last night in hospital and was discharged this morning and I'm now flying back to the UK."

How did it feel? I suppose when you're in that situation and you're miles from anywhere it's not easy to be rescued. Is it quite scary?

"I think at the time I was more concentrating on me and thankfully the crew on board were looking after me and monitoring my condition, so there wasn't much time to be scared to be honest.

"It was just a matter of getting me down below deck and making the arrangements to get me ashore."

Does it feel weird to be at the airport knowing that your colleagues are still on the yacht? Now that they've come back to Durban are they going to head off again to Fremantle or is that it?

"No, as soon as I was put onto the lifeboat they turned around straight back out to sea so my thoughts are with them now they are on their way back over to Australia.

"What I'm planning on doing is getting back to the UK and spending some time with my family and then I'm back on the plane to Fremantle to meet the yacht.

I think the most crucial part of the story is the fact that he had the harness on. That is more effective than just a life jacket. By all means have both a life jacket and a harness if possible. Safety first, safety second, and safety always! It's no need to be heroic or a dare devil out there -- especially not a dead hero!

Remembering Laura -- a year later.

Last night, purely by chance and through channel surfing, I watched the second half hour of the CBC investigation news program "Fifth Estate" which was about the lost of Laura Gainey December 8, 2006 when a rogue wave was reported to have swept her overboard from the tall ship Picton Castle near the Gulf Stream in north Atlantic. I blogged about the case a year ago. I watched the program with mixed feelings.

Since I did not watch the beginning, what I did see was mainly on the inadequacy or lacking of safety measure on the ship and that there seemed to be two conflict aftermath reports and therefore coverup was alleged. What I was somewhat disappointed was that there's very little discussion on the rogue wave aspect and what was actually happened. I got the impression that rogue wave was even generally dismissed as a cause of this tragic case. Of course if there was a cover-up, one can not help but share the angry and anguish of Laura's father, the legendary hockey great Bob Gainey, and this his heartsick comment:
Perhaps life jackets would be wise. Perhaps harnesses would be wise.
While I feel the CBC program seems to be only aimed at fixing blames on the company, I do also feel strongly that there is just no excuse for not requiring every one on board to wear life jacket or harness.

On the web site of Picton Castle there's a special web section called "Tribute for Laura" where I found the following poem:

From a former shipmate:

A Prayer for Laura

Sleep my little sister lost in the eternal womb of the sea.

Free from toil and strife, forever engraved in my memory

with the timeless beauty of one taken far too soon.

Journey my little sister lost to that undiscovered country

where the quick cannot land.

Your spirit soars at my masthead as the black crested seabird

showing me the way home.

Be at peace my little sister lost until that end of days when

all sailors are called home from the sea.

When once again we will rejoice in the company of shipmates

long departed and sorely missed.

Be at peace.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Kite power

Here's something refreshingly new and interesting:
A kite the size of a football field will provide most of the power for a German heavy freight ship set to launch in December.
reported by the Network World.
And that
. . . it expects the kites to decrease fuel consumption by up to 50% in optimal cases as well as a cutback of the emission of greenhouse gases on sea by 10 to 20%.
I don't know how practical this new power can be. But I think this is the kind of innovation this world really should encourage for more, a lot more!

Is it politics of climate or to climate the politics?

The end of November is the end of Hurricane season, there have been a few interesting articles commenting the Hurricane season of 2007. For instance, this Beaumont Enterprise article by Ryan Meyers entitled "2007 hurricane season deemed 'near normal'." Because in essence
The 2007 Atlantic hurricane season, which ends Nov. 30, included 14 named storms, five hurricanes and two major hurricanes. The Hurricane Center describes an average season as 11 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes.
But this Miami Herald article by Martin Merzer takes issue on Hurricane predictions as "Hurricane prediction miss the mark!" While this Orlando Sentinel "Other Views" article by Thomas V. DiBacco under the title of "You can't change the weather" gave some historical perspective on the topic:
The hurricane season officially comes to an end in the next few days, and I'm sure all Floridians are breathing a great sigh of relief about this season's modest storm and damage results. But Floridians, and East Coast residents of the United States in general, should not be pleased about the existing machinery of hurricane forecasting and dissemination to the public. The reason is that the major responsibility for this critical job is left to the federal government, which, unfortunately and not surprisingly, is a bureaucratic mess.

It wasn't always that way. A hurricane-warning division under the Weather Bureau was established by President William McKinley in 1898. And it got along just fine for decades until the government worked its magic hand in administrative specialization.

Today the National Hurricane Center is part of the National Weather Service's Tropical Prediction Center, which is responsible for tracking tropical storms. But then the National Hurricane Center has its own specialized unit, the Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch (formerly the Tropical Satellite Analysis and Forecast unit), which is responsible for forecasts on the high seas. Then all this is under the direction of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which is under the Department of Commerce.
As one who has just retired from NOAA and worked at NOAA since it was first established by President Richard Nixon, I can not disagree with the characterization of "bureaucratic mess."

But the most hilarious one that really tells like it is is the article in Washington Times this morning by Wesley Pruden that starts with:
All the wiseheads keep telling us that Climate is headed south, but Weather keeps getting in the way.

Global warming is scheduled to kill us all before next Christmas, but since Christmas is going the way of the hula hoop to avoid offending Osama bin Laden, the ACLU and assorted grinches, we might yet muddle on.

The United Nations sponsored a session for wiseheads the other day in Valencia, where they dined in expensive Spanish restaurants, basked in luxury hotels and took the waters on a government dime, obligated only to listen to each other talk about the coming death in the afternoon for those who don't die first of bird flu, AIDS, staph infections and other plagues that were supposed to dispose of us by now.
Then he reports:

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change summarized the session's finding in a mere 25 pages of the frenzied language of panic. Everyone will feel its effects, the director of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change said. But global warming will hit the poorest countries hardest, just as the end of the world will hurt women and minorities most. Failing to recognize the urgency of this message would be nothing less than criminally responsible.

Some of the delegates conceded that it's only nice to be sensitive to certain national concerns, mostly those of the little countries that yearn to tie Gulliver down to their size. Some are worried about oceans, others about glaciers. The environmentalists worry that the exaggerations might be toned down. They're insistent that the U.N. say "with certainty" that global warming is real and caused by man. The Americans tried to tone down the horror-movie exaggeration of the threat of hurricanes over the next century.
Now here's what's wrong with the hurricane season of 2007:

Hurricanes, in fact, have been a big disappointment this year. There haven't been any to speak of. No Katrina, no Andrew, no Audrey, no Camille, not even a stray Felix or Feliciana that anybody remembers. This was the hurricane year the global-warming industry was counting on. And then, zilch.

Yes, indeed, many people would expect that a Katrina type to hit a major America city yearly, but 2006 and especially 2007 are just totally out of control. "Control" is the key word! How else can they demonstrate the mighty power of the U.N. ?! But fortunately for the future of mankind, neither U.N./I.P.C.C. nor Albert Arnold Gore, Jr. and his "leading scientists"cheering squad can have any control over the mother nature! Pruden appropriately retraced Michael Crichton:
Short on science, the faithful are long on politics. Politics, says Michael Crichton, the novelist and inventor of Jurassic Park who made cloning popular, leads to belief and science leads to facts. Or ought to. He recalled in a speech to the National Press Club two years ago how quickly politics can intimidate science.

"In the first Earth Day in 1970," he said, "Kenneth Watt [of the University of California-Davis], said: 'If present trends continue, the world will be about 4 degrees colder in 1990, but 11 degrees colder by the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us in an ice age.' International Wildlife warned 'a new ice age must now stand alongside nuclear war' as a threat to mankind. Science Digest declared that the world 'must prepare for the next ice age.' The Christian Science Monitor noted that armadillos had moved out of Nebraska because it was too cold, glaciers had begun to advance, and growing seasons had shortened around the world."

Now we're up to our hips in alligators and global-warming fanatics. We can't predict a hurricane next week, but Al Gore can predict doom 40 years from next Christmas, and a lot of people take him seriously.
Here finally come to a point that caused me to wonder: Are there really "a lot" of people take Algore seriously? Who are these people? Pruden mentioned one:
Maybe even George W. Bush, who entertained him yesterday at the White House. George W. is looking desperately for a legacy, and Al has one to sell.
Ah! Geroge W., who had a worthy legacy for 6 years then through it all away last year, why would Algore care?

Now looking forward to 2008, if "experts" predict another "normal" year the I'll be very nervous!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Monster waves less of a threat, really?

This NewScientist article entitled "Monster waves less of a threat with smart radar" by Paul Marks has been widely reported by many news outlets with the same headline. The news even impressed my fellow blog friend Robin Stormer, who also blogged about it.

I must confess that I don't think much about it. I feel compeled to say something because of the subject matter, even it's ho hum to me. Here are my rather contrarian view points:

First of all, if it is a monster wave, its threat can never be lessened. May be you might have some time to prepare for it, but that by no means lessens the threat. This is a down right fallacious title to begin with.

Next, the main advertising point is this picture:

which implies that if a ship is armed with this kind of information it will "give crews a fighting chance to either evade the waves, or at least batten down the hatches." The essence of the whoopla is a newly developed algorithm that produce the green picture on the right which identifies the size of the waves ahead. But the dark blue picture on the left is the radar result the ships now have. If the ship captains saw that there's a messy storm ahead in their shipping route, wouldn't they be prepared to cope with it anyway?

From the article's alluding to "Mariners' tales" I think there could be some intentional or unintentional attempt here to confuse monster with freaque waves. We know that a messy storm always associates with predictable large waves that can be considered as monster ones, but whether or not there's a freaque wave is not yet known. Trying to intermingle the terms is unconscionable.

The other more salient point is that if there's really a freaque wave ahead, a freaque wave is usually come out of nowhere and disappear after it had happened. So if a ship noticed a real freaque wave ahead, that will be a good thing for the record, but it will no longer constitute any threat for the ship at any rate.

The real threat from a monstrous freaque wave for each ship in reality is its totally uncertain, unknown, and unpredictable. You only know it happened after you encountered it. This new software device will not be of any help when that happens.

So in a nutshell, that's why I am not at all excited about this new software device. Especially the fact that the developers formed a new company to market the device. They are certainly entitled to do that in our free enterprise system. But then I can not help wondering: Is it a commercial advertisment or is it a science report? Somehow I failed to recognize that this new software is by any means particularly useful . And I can't be totally objective when I feel what I see is more of a hype than truly useful science.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Tragedies at Tossa de Mar and Rumelifeneri

It's hard to report a tragedy news on Thanksgiving holiday. My friend and fellow blogger Robin Stormer first alerted me this news through his kind Happy Thanksgiving email while I was enjoying the visit of my daughter and her family and playing with my granddaughters. The news has been widely reported. May be this BBC report tells it all:
A British man and his five-year-old son have drowned after being swept out to sea in Spain, the Foreign Office said.

The man's two sons were washed into the sea as he took a picture of them at a popular beauty spot at Tossa de Mar, near Barcelona, on the Costa Brava.

The Spanish news agency Europa Press reported the man managed to rescue one of the boys.

But he was overcome as he tried to recover his second son. Next of kin have been notified, officials say.

Europa Press reported that rescue firefighters in a helicopter had spotted the man and his son clinging to a life buoy, but rough seas prevented them from reaching the duo in time.

Both bodies were later retrieved 30m (98ft) from the beach.

The Spanish coast has been hit by stormy weather this week.



It is really hard to believe that human tragedy can happen in a stunningly sceneic place like this. But the story is certainly not new on this blog. It's that freaque, unpredictable on shore wave that had caused so many tragedies all over the world. Other than asking people to be watchful and constantly beware, there is no way to prevent it at the present. Just a couple of days before this, On the north coast of Turkey, Sabah reported that "A weekend outing by a family to a village in Rumelifeneri, a village located at the junction of the Bosphorus and the Black Sea, turned into a tragedy. Sudden giant waves swallowed up both a father and daughter." Here's what happened:
A general manager Tayfun Gökhan, his foreign wife, his foreign brother-in-law and his daughter went to the seaside in Rumelifener for dinner. While the family was walking along the seaside, a giant wave pulled Aylin and her uncle into the sea. The mother Alexandra watched in horror as father Tayfun Gökhan jumped into the sea to save them. While the father was trying to swim against the giant waves, the uncle's leg was broken immediately after he was dragged into the sea. The coast guards rescued the uncle and recovered the dead body of the little girl; however efforts are ongoing to locate the father.
It's a different coast, with totally different people, but hauntingly similar stories. Those sneaky freaque waves. Will there ever be an end to this kind of tragic happenings?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Cyclone Sidr

As we are preparing for Thanksgiving and be thankful for another relatively mild hurricane season over the continent U.S., but the season is not over yet in the Indian Ocean. As this Reuters news reported by Anis Ahmed show:

DHAKA (Reuters) - A severe cyclone has killed more than 500 people in Bangladesh and left thousands injured or missing, triggering an international relief effort on Friday to help the disaster-prone country cope with its latest disaster.

Local officials and Red Crescent workers said 508 deaths had been confirmed. Hundreds more were injured or missing after Cyclone Sidr struck overnight packing winds of 250 kph (155 mph).

The Category 4 cyclone triggered a 15-foot (5-metre) high tidal surge that devastated three coastal towns and forced 3.2 million people to evacuate, officials and aid agencies said.

Yes, the winds at 155 mph is Category 4. But they call it Cyclone in that part of the world. So we call it Hurricane and they call it Typhoon in Eastern Pacific and Cyclone in Southen Indian Ocean. It could be confusing for people reading the news from different parts of the world. So if anything we need to bring things together to simplify and blending the terms rather than codify everything by the code words like "diversity."

Just in case some overly wise person might incline to link this cyclone to, what else, global warming, this Now Republic article reminds us that:
Almost 37 years ago to the day, a category 3 equivalent storm made landfall on Bangladesh resulting in the deaths of over 300,000 people. Dubbed the Bhola cyclone, the flooding due to storm surge is widely regarded as one of the most deadly natural disasters of the modern era. In 1991 at least 138,000 people were killed by another cyclone which made landfall on Bangladesh.
So it has had happened long before Albert Arnold Gore Jr. lost his election and the come forth of SUV's. Where were Gore and those UN IPCC and Nobel Peace Prize people 37 years ago?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Eleuthera cliffs

I only made one Caribbean cruise and I have never heard of Eleuthera. I come across this advertisment article by Perry Joseph, written in 2005, that somehow captured my fancy. Here's his description of encountering a freaque wave on the cliff:
Imagine standing on a virtually sheer cliff a hundred plus feet above the ocean and watching the water pound on the rock face below. You feel perfectly safe and removed from the ocean’s displayof brute force… that is until a rogue wave hits the cliff wall and jumps up over your head dumping hundreds of gallons of sea water on you and your poor camera. This is immediately followed with a scream “What was that?” Since there are no reefs to break the water coming into the cliffs, the right wave breaking at the right angle produces a water show that even the Bellagio can not match.
which is a fairly good account of what had or might have happened. While Eleuthera has been described as "a bit of Eden" because of its hard packed pink sand beaches, I don't think I would relish to live or even visit there, especially after seeing the following pictures I found:

Monday, November 12, 2007

Black Sea storm


This was the AFP news late yesterday:

MOSCOW (AFP) — Five-metre (16-feet) high waves smashed apart a Russian tanker on Sunday, spilling 1,300 tonnes of fuel oil into the Black Sea in what environmentalists called an "ecological catastrophe."

Four other cargo ships including three carrying sulphur also sank as winds of up to 108 kilometres (67 miles) an hour battered the Kerch Strait separating the Black Sea from the Sea of Azov.

Rescue services plucked 36 crewmembers from stricken vessels but fears were growing for the fate of 23 missing sailors as weather conditions worsened, reports said.

Forty vessels were evacuated from Kavkaz, a busy Russian commercial port some 1,200 kilometres (750 miles) south of Moscow, officials said. Ten others were forced to stay in the port because of the storm.

Some 300 kilometres further west, high winds sank a cargo ship with 17 sailors on board. Two were rescued and 15 were still missing, officials said.

"This is a major ecological catastrophe," Vladimir Slivyak, head of Ekozashchita, or Ecodefense, a Russian environmental group, was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying.

and here's the news from Winston-Salem Journal today:

ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia — Massive waves split a Russian oil tanker in two during a fierce storm yesterday, spilling at least 560,000 gallons of fuel into a strait leading to the Black Sea. It was the worst environmental disaster in the region in years, and some officials said that it could take years to clean up.

The 18-foot waves also sank two Russian freighters nearby, in the Strait of Kerch, a narrow strait linking the Black Sea and the smaller Sea of Azov to the northeast. Eight sailors from one freighter were missing, but rescuers saved all the crew members of the other vessel.

In total, as many as 10 ships sank or ran aground in the Strait of Kerch and in the nearby area of the Black Sea, and reports said that three other sailors were dead or missing.

Maxim Stepanenko, a regional prosecutor, told Vesti 24 that captains had been warned Saturday about the stormy conditions.


Now here's from the BBC News today:

The Russian oil tanker Volganeft-139 came apart after it was smashed by 108km/h (67 mph) winds and 5m (16ft) waves in the narrow Kerch Strait between Russia and Ukraine.

The tanker's 13 crew were rescued after several hours. So far 35 sailors from the sunk vessels have been plucked to safety.

But eight others are still reported missing. The bodies of three people believed to be from the stricken ships were found on Monday morning, Russian news agencies say.

A second oil tanker is being monitored closely because its hull has developed cracks.

Yet more ships have run aground or slipped anchor and are drifting at the mercy of the storm.

Russian prosecutors say they are investigating whether the ships' captains ignored warnings of the approaching storm.

So for a major event like this one, it is difficult to keep facts straight from major or minor news reports, not even the size of the wave. We know it was a bad storm and it was a large wave but not a freaque one. And this following comment in the BBC report could be making someone upset:
But the oil spill is small by comparison with the Prestige disaster off Spain five years ago.
Whether or not a catastrophe is going to be a major ecological catastrophe is probably in the eyes of the beholder -- comparatively speaking, that is. Of course, it's just a matter of time, sooner or later, someone is going to declare that this storm is caused by global warming, what else?

Angler dies after freak wave capsizes boat

Here's a depressing tragic news we wish it will never happen. It was reported in ABC Newcastle NSW this morning. The news report was brief:

Port Stephens water police will today try to salvage a boat that capsized near Broughton Island yesterday, drowning one of its crew.

Three men were in the boat, taking part in a fishing tournament, when a freak wave overturned the boat.

It took an hour for rescue crews to retrieve the body of the 41-year-old man from western Sydney.

Sergeant Tony Hogg says the boat is now perched on a rocky outcrop on the edge of the island.

"At the time, the tide was up a bit so that would have helped to get it in the position it's in," he said.

"Our guys are going out this morning on high tide to see whether we can salvage the boat or not.

"But people should be aware that there are areas around Broughton Island that are very dangerous, in particularly when it's smooth, but in actual fact if there's a bit of a swell it can peak and present some sort of danger."

So in essence it was the sad news of three men in a small boat that was capsized by a freaque wave and one life was lost. I think the last sentence in the report is very sobering: in the Sergeant's words the dangers will be there all the time particularly when it's smooth and a bit of swell "can peak and present some sort of danger." That really can happen to any beach and nearshore area and even the deep ocean. You just can not relax and taking things for granted when you are out there!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Saying "Thank you!" to the Veterans.

Thanksgiving is still two weeks away, but being thankful should starts today by saying thanks to the veterans. This article by Kyle-Anne Shiver in American Thinker did it for us:
Let me start by simply saying, "Thank you." To every man and woman who preserved my liberty this year, and for all of you who have ever proudly worn our Nation's uniform, I say, "Thank you!"

Today I read a book, which I bought from a bookstore a mile from my home. There are more books in that Barnes & Noble than once filled an entire library, and they represent the independent thought and ideas of thousands and thousands of people living free. For this weighty privilege, I say, "Thank you!"

Last Sunday, I attended mass with my family. We worshiped God in the exact manner of our own choosing. And I am sadly reminded that there are millions of other people still suffering dire religious persecution, even death, doled out by governments that do not respect this inalienable right. To all my American soldiers, past and present, I say, "Thank you!"

Our daughter went to college classes today. There she studies and argues with her professors. She is hammering out her own view of the world in safety, and with the dignity of a free woman in charge of her own destiny. To all of you veterans, wherever you are, she and I say, "Thank you!"
And this:
I have lived in America all my life, for 56 years now, and every single night when I have laid my head upon my pillow, you were somewhere watching over my safety. For every single one of those nights of peaceful rest, I simply say, "Thank you!"
Thank you also, Kyle-Anne, for a great eloquent article that showing us what we all should have in mind and wishing to say the same.


Update

My friend and fellow blogger, Lt. Commender Robin Stormer posted in his blog the most beautiful and sad WWI (May 3, 1915) poem "In Flanders Fields" to commemorate the Veterans Day:
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.


There's a story behind this poem which is given here, where I copied the above from.


Update II

Here's a powerful WWII eulogy delivered by Rabbi Roland Gittelsohn at the Marine Cemetery after the battle of Iwo Jima:

Here lie men who loved America because their ancestors generations ago helped in her founding, and other men who loved her with equal passion because they themselves or their own fathers escaped from oppression to her blessed shores. Here lie officers and men, Negroes and whites, rich men and poor . . . together. Here are Protestants, Catholics and Jews together. Here no man prefers another because of his faith or despises him because of his color. Here there are no quotas of how many from each group are admitted or allowed. Among these men, there is no discrimination. No prejudices. No hatred. Theirs is the highest and purest democracy …

Whosoever of us lifts his hand in hate against a brother, or who thinks himself superior to those who happen to be in the minority, makes of this ceremony and the bloody sacrifice it commemorates, an empty, hollow mockery. To this, then, as our solemn duty, sacred duty do we the living now dedicate ourselves: to the right of Protestants, Catholics, and Jews, of white men and Negroes alike, to enjoy the democracy for which all of them have here paid the price …

We here solemnly swear that this shall not be in vain. Out of this and from the suffering and sorrow of those who mourn this will come, we promise, the birth of a new freedom for the sons of men everywhere.

The story behind this is given here. I read about this from Michael Ledeen of the Corner