Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Hazardous wind farm?

A recent news item from North West Evening Mail of U.K. may serves to demonstrate what's happening with our once basically serene world:

A GIANT new windfarm set to be built off Walney will prove a hazard to ships, a tanker firm has claimed.

James Fisher and Sons, which owns liquefied gas tankers and nuclear waste vessels, is a member of the prestigious UK Chamber of Shipping.

The Chamber has slammed the government’s decision to give the go ahead for the 139 turbine West of Duddon Sands windfarm to be built eight miles off Walney.

A spokesman for the Chamber said: “We are extremely disappointed that the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) has given consent to the development of the West of Duddon Sands Windfarm site in Morecambe Bay without properly taking into account either the safety of seafarers and passengers, or the environmental costs of forcing ships to detour around the site.

“The Chamber notes that the windfarm will sit right across the normal shipping route from Heysham to Douglas (the life-line route to the Isle of Man) and the bad weather route to Northern Ireland for other ferry services.”

It added: “While the consent requires the developer to negotiate compensation with shipping companies affected, it appears that the very real safety and shipping concerns have been overridden.

“The proposed windfarm will present an additional hazard to ships navigating in the east Morecambe Bay area.

“It will seriously restrict ships’ sea room, particularly in bad weather and may lead to berths being blocked by ships unable to sail.

“This will affect ships sailing both to the Isle of Man and to Northern Ireland - as a result of bad weather routes not being available - and could cause major disruption.”

The world was going on smoothly until someone wants to participate in the popular but really a covertly "orchestrated crisis" -- under the disguise of urgent need for alternative energy and all become a mess!

There is a Chinese saying: "天下本無事,庸人自擾之." Literally translate: There's nothing the matter under the Sky until some idiots of mediocre ability messed things up. Yes, Algore and followers, that means you!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Science and faith

Two piece of news item invited my attention this morning. One is a tragic fishing boat capsizing in the ocean of South Australia. One crew dead, one missing, while the skipper swam 6 hours to shore to call for help. Some chalk up the capsizing to freaque waves but details are unclear.

The other is an article by Mark I. Pinsky in USA Today entitled "Science and faith, the British way." I guess I am mildly surprised in the first place is to hear that there is a British way -- just shows one can always learning something new each day!

Of course I am not surprised to read this:
Modern scientists do not routinely identify their spiritual affiliation; it's extremely difficult to say for certain how many are religious. Even so, among contemporary American scientists, many — perhaps a majority — have declared themselves skeptics, secularists, agnostics and atheists. Carl Sagan, arguably America's best-known cosmologist, and an agnostic, wrote a book titled The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark.
I never was a fan of Carl Sagan. I never thought a scientist should be a show man. I watched many of his TV shows but never was really impressed by them. So I find it's irksome to use Carl Sagan as a typical U.S. scientist. Now he claims
On a recent fellowship at the University of Cambridge, scientists I met did not fit the stereotypes common to American popular culture.
I can not help wonder how many American scientists really fit the "stereotypes common to American popular culture" if they can freely express their true feeling. Yes I am asserting that many American scientists may not consult their free will to even question themselves whether or not they truly fit the stereotype. They, especially the younger ones, have to conform or else they are afraid to be run over by the stereotyped clique like a freight train.

This is a true fact. Sad, but really true! It is easy for me to say all these. I am retired. We can not help but have to sympathetic with today's young post Doc's and assistant professors who are fighting for a tenure or a permanent position. Yes, we are the free world. But these poor souls simply don't have the liberty to express what they really feel. They have to swim in the "main stream"and follow the stereotype cliques!

The world was not always like this. How did we get here?

I have been wondering about it for some time. Yesterday I think I have found the answer in a very frightening article entitled "Strategy for forcing political change through orchestrated crisis."

No, it's not about science -- but has everything to do with our world today. It is about
a strategy that seeks to hasten the fall of capitalism and destroy our capitalistic system by pushing the society into crisis and economic collapse and to "replace the capitalist 'rule book' with a socialist one." This strategy, started in the mid 1960's by Columbia University sociologists Richard Andrew Cloward and his wife Frances Fox Piven, has been firmly behind the national scenes ever since. No one knows by design. As the article states:
Most Americans to this day have never heard of Cloward and Piven. But New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani attempted to expose them in the late 1990s. As his drive for welfare reform gained momentum, Giuliani accused the militant scholars by name, citing their 1966 manifesto as evidence that they had engaged in deliberate economic sabotage. "This wasn't an accident," Giuliani charged in a 1997 speech. "It wasn't an atmospheric thing, it wasn't supernatural. This is the result of policies and programs designed to have the maximum number of people get on welfare."
Mayor Giuliani did not stop their practice, only convinced them to hide further behind the scene. Sadly this clandestine sociology act invariably spread into all academics and other realms insidiously. Too few Americans, including the learned scientists, really know what is going on within the country. A case in point, most of them blindly give their faith to things like "global warming" without realizing that it is simply a deliberately "orchestrated crisis".

I started today's post by discussing the article by Pinsky on science and faith. But that's not really a problem. What we are facing as crisis are the "orchestrated crisis" around us. How soon can the American people be waken up by this? There are anti-American factions out there waiting and trying to destroy American system, American constitution, American dream, and American way of life.

Right at this moment the politicians in Washington D.C. are struggling for some sort of "bailout" of failed Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac. That's the crisis been under orchestration over the years. Don't be fooled. Whatever the bailout is will most likely not going to work anyway. Because the ones who perpetrated the crisis will not going to stop until they succeeds in their destruction.

Americans, beware!

What I am wondering is if Richard Andrew Cloward (1926-2001) is smiling or laughing out loud at his own handiwork right now.

In my humble opinion, he is NOT.

Because in this scientist's faith, there will be no smiling or laughing in hell! (I know, I know, I am not suppose to judge. But I do believe in God's supreme justice. I hope I am on His side!)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Confucius Day

I don't think there is such thing as Confucius day as I call it here. But today, September 28, is known as the birthday of Confucius (551 BC - 479 BC). Because Confucius is a historically timeless teacher, today is also celebrated as the Teacher's Day in Republic of China. Today is in fact is Confucius' 2558th birthday. Chinese has been officially celebrating this day throughout the history and different dynasties. Except when the Marxist Commie regime occupied the mainland China they rejected the traditional Confucian reverence and had forbidden the thousands of years ceremonial tradition. Fortunately the tradition is alive and well and celebrated yearly all over Taiwan and the free world.

The following is the picture of a traditional celebration today performed by school children in front the Confucius temple in Chi-shan, Kaohsiung County. It is called the eight-yi dance (八佾舞), which is generally designed befitting for the emperor rank celebration:

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Oops -- from Commie China

When you read a news article from an official news agency, what do you expect to read, fact or fiction?

If you read Xinhua news agency, beware, it could be fiction!

This news yesterday (September 25, 2008) from AP:

An article describing China's long-awaited space mission was launched Thursday hours before astronauts even left the launch pad.

The country's official news agency Xinhua posted an article on its Web site Thursday written as if the three astronauts had already been launched into space.

The Shenzhou 7 mission, which will feature China's first-ever spacewalk, is set to launch Thursday from Jiuquan in northwestern China between 9:07 p.m. and 10:27 p.m. (1307 GMT and 1427 GMT).

The Xinhua article is dated Sept. 27 — two days from now — and comes complete with an entire dialogue between the astronauts.

That article, no longer accessible online, is

. . . titled "Sleepless Night on the Pacific, Sidelights on the Observation and Control of the 30th Lap of Shenzhou 7 Spaceship," which was available most of the day, has now been removed from the Xinhua Web site.

A staffer from the Xinhuanet.com Web site who answered the phone Thursday said the posting of the article was a "technical error" by a technician. The staffer refused to give his name as is common among Chinese officials.

The piece vividly described the rocket in flight, complete with a sharply detailed dialogue between the three astronauts as

"First-level measurement arrangement!"

After this order, signal lights all were switched on, various data show up on rows of screens, hundreds of technicians staring at the screens, without missing any slightest changes ...

"One minute to go!"

"Changjiang No.1 found the target!"...

The firm voice of the controller broke the silence of the whole ship. Now, the target is captured 12 seconds ahead of the predicted time ...

"The air pressure in the cabin is normal!"

"Ten minutes later, the ship disappears below the horizon. Warm clapping and excited cheering breaks the night sky, echoing across the silent Pacific Ocean."

It was an impressive and imaginative author. Clearly the author might do very well writing fictions. But if it was not discovered the date discrepancy -- who could know the difference?

We have seen fake reportings in New York Times, Washington Post, and Boston Globe over the years. So the Commies are just catching up. Welcome to the modern main-stream journalism: let the readers beware!

Are they in space or on earth? Who cares?

P. S. :

Here's a good article in Guardian yesterday written by Zhang Hong entitled "Can China afford its space mission?" with this comment:
This year, Chinese central government badly needs some good news to dress up a harmonious and prosperous appearance of the nation. The snowstorm in January, the Tibet riot in March, the earthquake in May and the most recent milk powder scandal have put the authorities under unprecedented pressure. On the economic front, the collapse of stock and property markets has left many investors with huge losses. Meanwhile, high inflation has made living costs in most Chinese cities unendurable. Tens of thousands of middle- and small-sized enterprises have failed due to the tight monetary polices and the rising operating costs. On the administrative front, the regional government's cover-up attempt during several high-profile incidents has triggered widespread dissatisfaction over the Communist Party's ruling. On internet forums, participants, often anonymous, are wondering how accountability can work under a one-party system.
I think the demise of one-party system is long over-due. The commie regime's continued affix to the obsolescent Marxism can only serve to speed up their dissolution sooner!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Botox challenged.

Good grief!

The richest and most powerful Madame Speaker!

Do you want to hear her laugh? Better not. Let's keep the world sane.

What I am wondering, however, is whether or not this picture was taken before or after the botox ???

P.S. September 27, 2008

There is a hilarious article in American Thinker by Jan LaRue entitled "Botox and numbskulls" which may be germane here:
Think about it. Botox is a protein derived from botulism toxin, which is a paralytic illness. I'm thinking anyone who wants it injected anywhere near their brain has deeper problems than wrinkles.

When low doses of Botox are used, it actually paralyzes or relaxes facial muscles, giving the recipient a clean, smooth facial appearance. This is where it's gone askew-it's only safe in low doses.

There's been serious over-medicating at this chemical fountain of youth. It's penetrating skulls and paralyzing frontal lobes. And the smoother the forehead, the more oblivious they are to their denseness. What else explains the daily deluge of drivel?
Here's one of the LaRue's examples of the deluge of drivel:
On Meet the Press, host Tom Brokaw asked the perpetually perplexed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi about "Senator Obama saying the question of when life begins is above his pay grade, whether you're looking at it scientifically or theologically. If he were to come to you and say, 'Help me out here, Madame Speaker. When does life begin?' What would you tell him?" Having checked previously with the "doctors of the church," except for the ones licensed to practice medicine, said Pelosi, "I don't think anybody can tell you when life begins, human life begins."

She topped it off with another stunner: she told Brokaw she believes, "in natural gas as a clean, cheap alternative to fossil fuels." She repeated it just to make sure we get it.

The Speaker of the United States House of Representatives doesn't know when life begins and she doesn't know that natural gas is a fossil fuel. Forget loyalty oaths for Congress. What we need is a ban on Botox and proof of active brain waves. I say we start drilling in ANWR and move on to Pelosi's skull.

Because Botox numbs the muscles, it can cause the appearance of surprise, which explains why Biden and Pelosi usually look clueless, and why they make the rest of us look like we were zapped with a stun gun.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

On thin ice!

Nature News carries an interesting news about arctic ice shrinks less this year than last:

Sea-ice cover in the Arctic (pictured) has reached its annual low — and not broken last year's record of the smallest ice extent since satellite records began, says the US National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado.

Ice cover began to grow again from 10 to 14 September after bottoming out at 4.52 million square kilometres, the centre says. That's 9.4% more ice than last summer's minimum. Contributing factors include the fact that there were fewer warm days in the Arctic region this year than last, and also that winds blew in different directions instead of packing the ice together into a small area.


The International Arctic Research Center in Fairbanks, Alaska, also recorded a minimum last week: 4.71 million square kilometres on 9 September.

If you are tempted to draw any inference from this news, here's an explanation from Jennifer Francis, Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University:
. . . the ice cover is now so thin that any substantial recovery toward normal ice conditions is highly unlikely, especially as greenhouse gases continue to accumulate in the atmosphere.
In other words, don't you dare not to think that global warming is on going and going strong. Well, we are all on thin ice here. Let's see whatever is going to happen next year before splitting any more hairs!

The race is ON!

This exciting! A technology race on harnessing wave energy is on!
Not to be outdone by its Iberian neighbour Portugal, Spain has also deployed a commercial wave energy project.
As reported in Greenbang by Petah Marian today:

The project is being led by Spanish utility Iberdrola and the pilot consists of a bouy 10 metres in diameter with a shaft that contains the energy transformation system and a stabiliser. As the bouy bobs up and down in the waves a piston moves and generates the electricity, which is transferred onshore by an underwater cable. It is also fixed to three semi-submerged bouys anchored to the seabed at a depth of 50 metres.

The PB40 ‘PowerBouy’ is being supplied by Ocean Power Technologies and Iberdrola plans to ramp the project up to include 10 bouys in the plant, located four kilometres from the coast at Santoña.

The other nine buoys, which will be launched in a later phase, will have an initial installed power of 150 kW and, when operational, the annual electricity production of this installation will be approximately equivalent to the domestic consumption of some 2,500 homes.

Here are some explanations OPT provided for their technology:
A 10-Megawatt OPT power station would occupy only approximately 30 acres
(0.125 square kilometers) of ocean space.

Sensors on the PowerBuoy® continuously monitor the performance of the various subsystems and surrounding ocean environment. Data is transmitted to shore in real time. In the event of very large oncoming waves, the system automatically locks-up and ceases power production. When the wave heights return to normal, the system unlocks and recommences energy conversion and transmission of the electrical power ashore.
• Buoys are spaced to maximize energy capture.

• Rugged, simple steel construction.

• Utilizes conventional mooring systems.

• Simple installation using existing marine vessels and infrastructure.

• Scalable to large power stations (100+ MW)

How refreshing to see this kind of competitive technology innovations instead of competing innuendos on temperature increase and to blame it on human.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wave power in action

I noted a couple days ago that Air Force Academy starts doing research on wave energy. Then it was reported in seattlepi.com that Oregon State received a 5-year, $6.25 m grant from the U.S. Dept. of Energy to "establish an ocean energy research center in Newport, Ore." After totally ignoring wave energy by the powers that be in Washington D.C., these recent developments are certainly better late than never! But clearly the U.S. can only play a catching-up game now!

This CNN news today, "A new era for wave energy", tells that there's already fruition "with the inauguration of the world's first commercial wave power project off the Portuguese coast":

Developed by a Scottish engineering company, Pelamis Wave Power Limited, the Pelamis Wave Energy Converters (PWEC) have been towed into position three miles off the coast of Agucadoura in north Portugal.

The first phase of the project is using three PWEC to generate 2.25 megawatts of power at a cost of nine million euros.

If successful, a second phase will see energy generation rise to 21 megawatts from a further 25 machines providing electricity for 15,000 Portuguese homes.

The project is a joint venture between Pelamis Wave Power Limited, Babcock and Brown Ltd -- a global specialist asset manager, Energias de Portugal (EDP) and Portuguese energy group EFACEC.

Named after the sea snake Pelamis, each machine measures 140 meters in length, is 3.5 meters wide and sits partially submerged in the sea.

Here's Youtube demonstration of how it works:

And here's a 4-step explanation I captured from this Youtube called "Wave power: how it works."

Of course because it was developed in Scotland and installed in Portugal, it should not be surp0rised to see this headline: "If Portugal can rule the waves, why not Scotland?" in NEWS.scotsman.com.

Well, indeed, for that matter, why not U.S.?

On the other hand, I can not help wondering how long will it take for the mighty environmentalist power center to voice objection to this kind of innovations because it might disturb sea turtle or some other things like it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

NASA Use Baby Toy To Save The Planet

The title of today's post is taken from the news headline of fairhome.co.uk this morning. It is certainly merit a detailed look to find out what is going on. May be the write-up from the Discovery News by Irene Klotz explains it quite clearly:

Sept. 23, 2008 -- When a sophisticated science probe failed to return any data about whether pools of melted glacial ice were showing up in the ocean, a NASA researcher turned to a decidedly low-tech solution: a brigade of rubber ducks.

Robotics expert Alberto Behar, with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., wants to figure out if water shooting through tunnels in Greenland's Jakobshavn Glacier makes it into Baffin Bay.

The work is part of ongoing studies by NASA and other agencies to understand changes in the levels of Earth's seas, which may be tied to global warming.

Behar, a robotics expert, dispatched a probe with a positioning sensor and satellite telephone into one of the glacier's water tunnels in hopes of tracking where the water ends up. In the summer, ice melts on glacier's surfaces and pools into shallow lakes and streams that then fall into water tunnels in the ice known as moulins.

Where it ends up is a mystery.

"We're a little frustrated right now," said Seelye Martin, the program manager for NASA's Earth sciences division. "The water has to go somewhere but we don't know where."

When the probe fell silent, Behar turned to Plan B. He labeled 90 rubber ducks with an email address and the words "science experiment" and "reward" written in English, Danish and the native Inuit language, then set the toys loose in a moulin.

The idea was that fisherman would find the ducks and notify Behar where they were found.

He's still waiting for first contact.

"I was a little surprised," Martin told Discovery News. "There are a lot a fisherman up there."

Baffin Bay, an ice-laden body of water between northeast Canada and Greenland, freezes over in the winter, so Martin is hoping the ducks might be located next summer.

The field work complements ongoing measurements of Greenland and the world's oceans taken by an array of satellites.

"In the last century, the total change in sea level was about 8 inches," Martin said. "Right now, it's headed to more like 12 inches so we're seeing a greater contribution from the ice sheets."

The Jakobshavn Glacier is responsible for shedding almost 7 percent of Greenland's ice.

Now the Fair Home further reports that:

NASA are not just relying on the ever faithful ducks, they have also planted probes with GPS transmitters into the ice to track movements within the ice flow.

These two will also ultimately end up in the sea.

So far, not a single duck or probe has been found by the public, but the scientists estimate that they are still way out at sea so would only be found by passing fishermen.

The Jakobshavn Glacier has a claim to fame, in that it is almost certainly the source of the iceberg that broke off in 1912 and ultimately sank the Titanic.

Note that the ducks have been labeled with the words 'science experiment' and 'reward' in three languages, along with an e-mail address. Please fishermen, go look for them for science' sake! And here's an AP picture reported in dailymail.co.uk presumably showing Jakobshavn Glacier in Baffin Bay, between Greenland and Canada:

Perhaps Alan Harten of Fair Home had summarized a general feeling:

Gyroscopes that propel astronauts in face crushing spins, Saturn Five rockets that defy gravity to escape the ground, spacesuits that can keep a man alive in the dangerous empty atmosphere of space; these are the kinds of scientific innovations that we associate with NASA.

Now they bring us another earth shattering scientific marvel, the rubber duck.

So stay tuned!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Air Force Dives into Wave Energy

I found this three weeks old news both interesting and surprising. Surprising, because one usually does not expect to connect wave energy in the ocean with the Air Force. But the following explanation is very plausible:
Years of research on military aircraft have given Aeronautics researchers the rare and necessary expertise in feedback flow control and fluid dynamics to potentially harness wave energy to meet the nation’s growing power needs.
So it is actually the Aeronautics Department of the Air Force Academy teaming with the Oregon State University to use their wave tunnel for some of the experimental side of this research project. The project, as the news reports, is:
The National Science Foundation has awarded the Academy’s Aeronautics Department $285,619 to support a cyclodial propeller wave energy converter research project to harness the ocean’s power.
The first thought come to my mind: "It's about time!"

The U.K. and Japan have both invested in ocean wave energy over the years. But the U.S. had hardly shown any interest what so ever. They could not care less. So this news is mildly encouraging for the first time.

I say "mildly" because the miserly $285,619 can hardly enough to support a couple of graduate research assistants. Of course it's better than nothing. And at least, NSF is having the far sight to do it. Where are the Department of Energy? Navy? NASA? NOAA? They spent tons and tons of tax payers money to worry about the temperature 100 years from now, but can't even tell us the temperature next week accurately. Now that "alternative energy" is a talking point on everyone's list. Who's going to do anything meaningful???

Well, it's only a minor news I dug out this morning. No need to over-react. What ever will be, will be!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Of Wave Vs. Man

I came across this recent web post called "Wave Vs. Man" from a blog-type site called "Environmental Graffiti." The post, written by Linda, is an essay with a group of interesting wave pictures. As far as I can tell, the pictures are not original, basically collected from different sources online which is something I usually do. The author made the commendable efforts to indicate the source or photographer of the photo, just as what I have been striving to do. She does identify some of the pictures as "photographer unknown." I wish to point out, however, that her second picture:

(Photo by Karsten Petersen.)

which is a dramatic storm wave picture appears online quite frequently in many places without a proper attribute to the photographer as Linda also indicated it as " photographer unknown." But it is by no means a picture of photographer unknown. The photographer, as I noted, of this widely circulating picture is really Karsten Petersen of Denmark. That picture is originally shown in his personal site here. As Petersen specified in his site "Any public display, distribution or other use of any picture to which I hold the copyright, can only be done with my permission." I guess most people are not aware of this. I blogged about his encounter of the 1977 storm in North Pacific two years ago here. I communicated with him and received his permission to include some of his pictures in my blog. He even kindly provided me with some further recall of that encounter at my request. Karsten is a real sailor and world traveler among other things. His site is a most enjoyable site for me to visit online and explore!

Friday, September 19, 2008

BBC video on freaque waves

On November 14, 2002 BBC first shown the long awaited program "Freak Wave" on BBC Two in U.K. I am not certain if it was ever shown in the U.S. But I had an opportunity of watching the video version of the program at a conference in the spring of 2003. For some reason the video was not released for wider commercial distribution. I just realized that the program is now available on YouTube in 5 parts as posted in the following. My sincere appreciation to the one that made these available:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A rescue in Northern Ireland

This news from Ballymoney of Northern Ireland reports an American tourist being hit by a wave and rescued:
AN American tourist was rescued at the Giant's Causeway on Sunday evening by Ambulance and Coastguard personnel.

The incident began shortly after 7pm when the Coastguard received a request for assistance from the Ambulance Service.

A 24-year-old man had been injured after being hit by a wave.

As the light faded, rescuers rushed to the injured man’s assitance and he was quickly located on the Causeway stones. Ambulance paramedics managed to move the man further away from the water’s edge where waves up to eight feet in height were breaking on the rocks.

The paramedics were soon joined by a Coastguard Rescue Team from Coleraine and the delicate task of evacuating the man to safety began. He was placed in a Coastguard stretcher and carried across the columns to the waiting ambulance.

Coastguard Station Officer Chris Little said: “This was a very challenging operation which called for close co-operation between Coastguard Rescue Officers and Ambulance Paramedics.

“The very uneven surface of the columns, made treacherous by recent rain, meant that the evacuation had to be conducted with great caution. The fading light and growing swell also added to the difficulties faced by rescuers.

“We would urge all visitors to the Causeway to heed the warning signs and stay well back from the water’s edge. The darker rocks are particularly dangerous as they are likely to be covered by breaking waves.”
Not much details are available. It is at least comforting to know that the tourist was rescued by local coastguard and ambulance paramedics. Thank God for that. We just can not over emphasize the perils tourists face in far away places. I think the last comment by the Coastguard Station Officer, Mr. Little, should be used to advice every tourists wherever they are visiting, as:

We would urge all visitors . . . to heed the warning signs and stay well back from the water’s edge. The darker rocks are particularly dangerous as they are likely to be covered by breaking waves.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Freaque waves not excuse!

There's an article entitled "Rogue Waves -- Vessel Owners Contort a Dubious Defense" in the website called "InjuryBoard.com" this morning. The article written by attorney Michael Myers is a brief one as follows:

One of the most frequently asserted defenses in cruise ship litigation, not only by Holland America, but also by regional cruise lines, sightseeing vessels and whale watching boats is the “rogue wave” defense.

Rogue or “sneaker” waves are a natural phenomenon. They are waves which are unexpected and, definitionally, at least three times bigger than other waves in the vessel’s vicinity.

There is significant debate whether a defendant can avoid liability because the vessel was struck by a rogue wave. Rogue waves have been acknowledged for hundreds if not thousands of years. They’re clearly foreseeable.

But even if defendants could legitimately defend on the unexpected nature of rogue waves (which can be caused by a variety of factors), any validity associated with this defense has been destroyed by its gross overuse by defendants.

The “rogue wave” defense has been contorted by defense attorneys to the point that it is no longer recognizable. In almost every case where passenger falls and is injured because of defendant’s operation of a vessel and/or the nonexistent safety precautions like railings and handholds, the defense invariably interposes the “rogue wave” defense.

In these situations defendants argue, essentially, that the rogue wave that caused the vessel to lurch, roll or yaw was an act of God and that they shouldn't be held responsible.

Waves are foreseeable. Rogue waves are foreseeable. Vessel owners and operators need to anticipate rogue waves and safeguard their vessels.
I thought attorney's language should usually be scrupulous and factual, but this short article is full of holes!

First of all he made up a definition of "at least three times bigger than other waves in the vessel’s vicinity" which is a total unknown from the academic point of view, if not sheer nonsense. That's why I think he made it up.

Next he contends that "Rogue waves have been acknowledged for hundreds if not thousands of years." Acknowledged by whom? Sea farers, maybe. But certainly not the academic world.

And he says: "They're clearly foreseeable." That must be a lawyer's term. Because it is meaningless in the scientific research world. What is foreseeable? Everything is foreseeable to a certain extent. Or nothing is foreseeable until it actually happens.

Next the sentence ". . . “rogue wave” defense has been contorted by defense attorneys to the point that it is no longer recognizable" clearly identifies the author on the same side of "ambulance chasers" in objecting to the defense that freaque wave is "an act of God."

Scientists don't want to invoke "an act of God" thing in science either. But there are clear reality and limitations in our knowledge to cope with natural phenomena.

Freaque waves are unexpected, unpredictable, and unknown at the present as to where, when, how, and why they occur in the open ocean -- even though we are certain that they are happening out there somewhere, sometime, somehow, whether or not a cruise ship or seafarers are nearby to encounbter them.

I think the author is misplacing his priorities. instead railing against the act of God defense, I wish he could choose to admonish the ship builders, cruise ship owners, and the like to encourage and invest in tangible further meaurement and research in freaque waves phenomena to make the phenomena more than just foreseeable, but truly forecastable, understandable, and predictable!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Blame for the Hurricane?

This article entitled "On Whom Can We Blame the Hurricane?" by Alan Caruba in Canada Free Press yesterday is so good that I feel it merits to copy it entirely here:

I am waiting for some moron in Obama’s campaign team to announce that the devastation of Hurricane Ike is the fault of the Bush administration.

Worse yet, I am waiting for some moron in McCain’s campaign team to say something stupid about “global warming” as the reason for the hurricane. Since the Earth has been in a cooling cycle now for the passed ten years, you can be fairly certain that (a) there is no global warming and (b) there’s no connection to the recent hurricanes.

As to what is “causing” them, the answer is the same thing that has been causing them for millions of years, Mother Nature. Those of us on the East Coast and in the Gulf area are now in a “hurricane season” and it will remain in it through October.

What is most evident, however, is that, with the advent of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, these storms are getting larger and more devastating. Anyone who lives in Florida is accustomed to hurricanes blowing through. Once in a decade or so, they get one like Hurricane Andrew that does some real damage, but most just rearrange the patio furniture. Further up the coast in the Carolinas they got a nasty Hurricane Hugo some years ago.

This new century has begun with a bang. Two monster storms in the first eight years suggests that these are not random events, but likely to occur with more frequency. This is very bad news for the Gulf States, but it is really bad news for Americans who depend on refineries in Texas and Louisiana for the bulk of the gasoline and other petroleum distillates they produce.

Now I have a confession to make. For some time now I have been making fun of those meteorologists who have been forecasting how many hurricanes will occur. The reason for this is that they have been mostly wrong for the last two or three years.

In April 2008, however, the Colorado State University team trained and put together by Dr. William Gray predicted at least 15 named storms that would grow into hurricanes, including “four intense hurricanes with winds about 110 mph.” In May I was poking fun at AccuWeather’s Joe Bastardi who had a comparable hurricane forecast. Bastardi has forgotten more about meteorology than I will ever know. I should have listened.

We should all listen when Dr. Gray, now an emeritus professor, tells us that those scientists still claiming that global warming is real are “brainwashing our children.” They brainwashed a jury of British morons who last week delivered a verdict that said it is perfectly okay for environmental activists to vandalize and destroy property in the name of global warming.

Simply stated, there’s no one to blame for Hurricane Ike or any other weather event.

It’s what planet Earth does and if you are still thinking that human beings have the slightest impact or effect on the weather, I have some lovely oceanfront property to sell you in Galveston, Texas. Or New Orleans. Or Biloxi.

The next person who says it’s all because of “climate change” should be dragged out into the street and told not to come back until they grow up.

That’s what the climate does all the time. It changes! Most of the time it’s seasonal. Other times it’s multidecadel. Barely 15,000 years ago, most of the northern continent lay beneath huge glaciers thanks to the most recent ice age.

When winter arrives, I’m betting that the same ferocity we’re seeing this hurricane season will translate into some horrendous blizzards, the likes of which we have not seen with frequency in passed years.

Is it time to build more refineries someplace where hurricanes do not occur with regularity? Yes.

It is time to build more coal-fired and nuclear plants to generate the doubling of electricity we will need by 2030? Yes.

Is it time to explore and extract the vast reserves of oil and natural gas off the coasts of America? Yes.

Can we depend on Congress to do the right thing? No. Not unless and until we begin to elect people to office who understand these very simple facts will we have any hope at all.

It's just a terrific article no extra comments needed. The last sentence "to elect people to office who understand these very simple facts" is probably still a pipe dream for time to come!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Faces of Typhoon Sinlaku

Just as Hurricane Ike was making landfall on the Texas coast at Category 2, a Category 2 Typhoon Sinlaku was also lashing Northeast Taiwan, Republic of China in the Western Pacific, reportedly injured 14 people. Here are some pictures of Sinlaku:

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Visage of Hurricane Ike approaching Galveston, Texas

Hurricane Ike has made landfall around Galveston, Texas at Category 2. Here are some pictures from Monsters and Critics waiting for Ike's arrival:

Friday, September 12, 2008

A freaque wave case in South Indian Ocean

I guess news of freaque waves in South Indian Ocean is not surprising. But having fatality is still disheartening. Such is the case of an IOL news today from South Africa:
A Philippine national died and two others were seriously injured when a German vessel was hit by a freak wave off Durban, the Marine Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) said on Friday.

The incident happened 300km south east off the coast of Durban, said MRCC spokesperson, Sarene Kloren.

A 48-year-old chief officer died. A 36-year-old crew member had a fractured elbow and a 35-year-old crew member had serious facial injuries. They were all Philippine nationals, said Kloren.

The Niledutch Asia was travelling from Singapore to Ponte Noire, in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The vessel was carrying 1044 containers of general cargo. It re-routed to Durban and arrived at 7am, said Kloren.
Not much details, but the occurrence to the cargo ship was unmistakably the footprint of a classic freaque wave. I wish there can be more details of the wave. Let's all pray for the chief officer, may he rest in peace, and speed recovery for the injured crew members.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

On this day -- Remembering and Prayer


Ground Zero, New York
Sunday, 20 April 2008

O God of love, compassion, and healing,
look on us, people of many different faiths and traditions,
who gather today at this site,
the scene of incredible violence and pain.

We ask you in your goodness
to give eternal light and peace
to all who died here—
the heroic first-responders:
our fire fighters, police officers,
emergency service workers, and Port Authority personnel,
along with all the innocent men and women
who were victims of this tragedy
simply because their work or service
brought them here on September 11, 2001.

We ask you, in your compassion
to bring healing to those
who, because of their presence here that day,
suffer from injuries and illness.
Heal, too, the pain of still-grieving families
and all who lost loved ones in this tragedy.
Give them strength to continue their lives with courage and hope.

We are mindful as well
of those who suffered death, injury, and loss
on the same day at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Our hearts are one with theirs
as our prayer embraces their pain and suffering.

God of peace, bring your peace to our violent world:
peace in the hearts of all men and women
and peace among the nations of the earth.
Turn to your way of love
those whose hearts and minds
are consumed with hatred.

God of understanding,
overwhelmed by the magnitude of this tragedy,
we seek your light and guidance
as we confront such terrible events.
Grant that those whose lives were spared
may live so that the lives lost here
may not have been lost in vain.
Comfort and console us,
strengthen us in hope,
and give us the wisdom and courage
to work tirelessly for a world
where true peace and love reign
among nations and in the hearts of all.

(From Apostolic Journey to the United States of America.)

© Copyright 2008 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Watch The Path to 9/11 on Youtube.


Have You Forgotten (Darryl Worley's lyrics here.)

The Other 9/11 Story -- What has and hasn't happened in the seven years since September 11, 2001.

Let's roll! -- Keeping Flight 93 story alive!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The LHC excitement at CERN.

It's been in the scientific news for months, may be years. Not being a particle physicist, I have not been paying much attention to the case and news. But today is the day that the so-called world's biggest physics experiment, BBC News calls the 'Big Bang' experiment, kicks off.

I think the feature article in Nature published online today by Geoff Brumfiel entitled "Particle physics: The race to break the standard model" give the best, even I can vaguely understand, explanation of what this is all about.

It is powerful; it is galling; it is doomed. The incredibly successful mathematical machine that physicists call the 'standard model' is a set of equations that describes every known form of matter, from individual atoms to the farthest galaxies. It describes three of the four fundamental forces in nature: the strong, weak and electromagnetic interactions. It predicts the outcome of one experiment after another with unprecedented accuracy. And yet, as powerful as it is, the standard model is far from perfect. Its mathematical structure is arbitrary. It is littered with numerical constants that seem equally ad hoc. And perhaps most disturbingly, it has resisted every attempt to incorporate the last fundamental force: gravity.

So physicists have been trying to get beyond the standard model ever since it was put together in the 1970s. In effect, they will have to shatter the model with experimental data that contradict its near-perfect equations. And then, from its fragments, they must build a newer, better theory. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a giant particle accelerator at CERN, Europe's particle-physics laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland, is the latest attempt to break the standard model — and one that many see as all but assured of success. The prodigious energy it generates will force particles into realms where the standard model cannot follow.
Here's a picture of a portion of the LHC under construction:
And here's a wider view:

As one who's working on ocean waves, I am sometimes peeved by the "mainstream" players contented with the standard approach that has not making significant progress for two decades but no one seems to be willing to do anything. I think I can feel some of the excitement at CERN and looking forward for what's new regarding the beginning of the universe beyond what the standard models have to offer!

Update September 21, 2008

A-Oh! Science headline in New York Times: "New Particle Collider to be shut down for repairs" as:

After the initial success of threading protons through the machine on Sept. 10, physicists had hoped they could move ahead quickly to low-energy collisions at 450 billion electron volts and then five-trillion-electron volt collisions as early as mid-October.

Several mishaps, including the failure of a 30-ton electrical transformer, have slowed progress since then. In the worst case, on Friday, one of the giant superconducting magnets that guide the protons failed during a test. A large amount of helium, which is used to cool the magnets to within 3.5 degrees Fahrenheit of absolute zero, leaked into the collider tunnel.

In a terse statement, the laboratory said that an electrical connection between the magnets had melted because of the high current. To fix it, engineers will have to warm that section of the tunnel, and then cool it all the way down again.

Physicists say such setbacks are an inevitable part of starting up such a large and complicated machine, which has cost $8 billion and taken 14 years.

“This is just an unfortunate fact of life when starting up a machine like the L.H.C,” Dr. Gillies said.

Yes, fact of life! Indeed, even after $8 billion and 14 years!

Update September 25, 2008

According to Nature News, September 22, 2008, 455 (436-437), by Geoff Brumfiel: LHC meltdown before first Collision -- Europe's largest particle accelerator might not produce data until 2009.

Update October 24, 2008

Latest from Nature News by Brumfiel again:

Details of last month's accident at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world's premier particle accelerator, are emerging — and confirm that the machine will not restart before late May or early June 2009.

Officials at CERN, Europe's particle-physics laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland, say that the time is needed to overhaul a sector of the 27-kilometre-long machine, after an electrical failure on 19 September caused some 6 tonnes of ultra-cold liquid helium to leak into its tunnel.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Visage of Hurricane Ike in east Cuba

Hurricane Ike has been lashed over Cuba coasts the last few days. Our heart goes out to the Cuban people being severely damaged by Ike. As we are now approaching the autumn, hopefully the hurricane season should en route to winding down, I came across the following pictures from here as visages of Ike most were taken from waterfront area in Baracoa of eastern Cuba around September 7, 2008 that remind us of the inevitable destructions behind the scenic stunners:

Here's a National Geographic video showing Hurricane Ike pounded a Cuban town.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Piracy in Gulf of Aden

I am greatly disturbed as well as also surprised to read this news from The Star of Malaysia entitled "Piracy attack will result in extra costs for shippers" written by Sharidan M. Ali. It's not the financial aspects that I find disturbing, it's the fact that we are in the 21st century with all the peace loving politicians running all around the globe, and piracy on the high seas is still alive and actively menacing shipping industry???

Here's a map that shows the difference of the two maritime routes between Far East and Europe.
The route through Suez canal and passing the Gulf of Aden takes 8,089 nautical miles as comparing to the Cape of Good Hope route of 11,590 nautical miles. The longer route also contends with adverse weather conditions, difficult Agulhas currents, and possible freaque waves.

But according the Ali's article:

Last week, MISC Bhd barred its vessels from entering the pirate-infested Gulf of Aden until security measures are enhanced.

This is after two of its tankers, Bunga Melati 2 and Bunga Melati 5, were hijacked by pirates in the area on Aug 19 and Aug 30 respectively.

Other than MISC vessels, recent cases of piracy in the gulf, believed to be the work of Somalian pirates, involved a bulk carrier, a tugboat, a general cargo vessel and a yacht.

In the second quarter of this year, Somalia was at the top of the list of global piracy cases with 24 piracy incidents, of which 19 occurred in the Gulf of Aden, according to the International Maritime Bureau.
There is also an optional third route use the North East Arctic passage which is only open for navigation for about six months each year.

According to the Wikipedia, the Suez Canal, opened in 1869, was to "allowing water transportation between Europe and Asia without circumnavigation of Africa, and avoiding carrying goods overland between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea." What an irony that after 140 years, shipping industry is choosing the the southern African route again.

Here's the suspected pirate mother vessel in the Gulf of Aden, the infamous Burum Ocean:
Picture from International Maritime Bureau Piracy Reporting Centre.

Now my questions are: Where are the world powers? Where's U.N.? Are these things beyond or below their "pay grade"? Would the mighty "World Citizen" Mr. "Nitally" Lion Obama be willing to sit down with the pirates unconditionally to ask them please stop the piracy because it's all the merchant vessels' fault?

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Freaque wave hits tourist boat

To be a tourist should always implying something to take pleasure in, to enjoy or rejoice or indulge. Of course there is also inevitably risk and dangers lurking behind it somewhere. A case in point is the news reported in The Age of Australia this morning: "Rogue wave hits tourist boat"

Eleven people were taken to hospital after a rogue wave hit a whale watching boat on the Gold Coast today.

A police spokesman said the wave hit the vessel about 9.40am as it was heading east at the Southport Seaway, causing it to lift.

Several passengers hit the deck heavily, while News Ltd reported that one man was washed overboard.

The passengers were treated onboard as the vessel returned to the Marina Mirage wharf where they were met by water police and ambulance officers.

A 14-year-old boy suffered a suspected broken leg while others were treated for minor injuries.

It all happened all of a sudden while enjoying being a tourist. Some more details reported by Greg Stolz of Courier Mail makes it more succinct:
Shaken passengers told of seeing a "freak wave . . . out of nowhere" as the Whales In Paradise catamaran negotiated the seaway entrance about 9.40am at the start of a Father's Day whale-watching tour.

One man was thrown overboard and others hit the deck as the vessel went up and over the 2m wave and slammed down.

Passengers bent the boat's metal bow railing as they were flung into it.

"This big wave came out of nowhere and just grew," Melbourne tourist Madeleine Harvey said. "The skipper had no real choice but to go through it. We were OK but some people hit the deck hard and got hurt."

A crew member dived into the seaway to save a passenger who was thrown overboard as a recreational jet-skier also went to the rescue.

So here's another case of "out of nowhere" which pretty much confirms that it was a freaque wave. As Stolz concludes:

Gold Coast water police Acting Sergeant Les Murphy said police were examining video footage of the incident captured by a witness.

Initial investigations indicated the boat "wasn't going quick" when the wave hit it.

Whales In Paradise manager Anthony Ardern said the skipper had 30 years experience.

"It was just one of those unlucky, freakish incidents that we hope will never happen again," he said.

"Hope will never happen again" is an unrealizable wishful thinking. If I may, I would say that it was just "one of those unlucky, freakish incidents" we don't know where, when, how or why will it happen. But it will happen again sometime, somewhere, somehow, nevertheless.

Since there's video footage of the incident captured by a witness this time, I am earnestly hope they can release the footage to the public after their investigation. It will be invaluable for caution others and for research particularly for research!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Caused by a freaque set of waves

This news from the Bay of Plenty Times, the newspaper of Bay of Plenty region of the North Island of New Zealand, entitled "Chopper rescues man after boat tips" by Vicki Waterhouse. Here's the essence of the story:

The skipper of a Coastguard boat nearly drowned yesterday after a rogue set of waves overturned the boat when it suddenly lost power.

And here's what happened:

Waihi Beach Coastguard spokesman Noel Haszard said the skipper was sent out to help with communication difficulties between headquarters and the crew on the beach, which was trying to recover the beacon.

The man was driving a Waihi Beach Coastguard jet boat when he saw the waves approaching.

"Four in a row hit him, the first wave hit the vessel and he went over the top of it and then ... he lost power for some reason."

"With a jet boat once you lose power you're history, so it rolled him, and it was all over from there."

The skipper managed to trigger the boat's EPERB (Emergency Personal Beacon), which he spotted in the water.

"We lost the boat but we didn't lose the skipper and that's the important thing," Mr Haszard said.

I am impressed by the detail reporting on what happened and the reporter's use of "a rogue set of waves" rather than just rogue waves. It gave us a clear description of the event without wondering was it or was it not a freaque wave. As a matter of fact the skipper saw the waves approaching -- four in a row hit him!

We are certainly not wish to experience what the skipper experienced. But we are also not surprised by what had happened to him. We don't know how or why or when the things happen, but it did happen somehwere, sometime, and somehow -- this time in the coastal area of Bay of Plenty.

I tend to call the event " nearshore freaque waves." But a "freaque set of waves" might even be better. Either way, there are more than plenty needed for us to learn!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Happened at Middle Cove beach, Newfoundland

The following concise news this morning in the GlobalandMail tells another onshore freaque waves encounter, this tiem happened to the Middle Cove beach of Newfoundland:
MIDDLE COVE, Nfld. — Two adults and two children were taken to hospital as a precaution after a giant wave hit Middle Cove beach in eastern Newfoundland.

Sudden large waves swept up the beach about 8:30 p.m. Sunday and pulled several people into the water.

One witness said several dozen people were enjoying a bonfire on the beach when a giant wave came out of nowhere and rolled them over.

People ran for higher ground and strangers helped keep each other from being carried out to sea.

The St. John's Regional Fire Department and local fire department responded to the scene.

There were no serious injuries and police say everyone on the beach at the time is accounted for.

As one who's not familiar with Middle Cove beach of Newfoundland, I found the above picture from here. What a beautiful place to visit. Thank God for "no serious injuries" and "everyone on the beach at the time is accounted for". But "a giant wave came out of nowhere and rolled them over" is unmistakably shown that what had happened was an onshore freaque wave. Again it's the saying that it could happen any time and at any place. We don't know where, when, how or why it happens. This time it happens way up north of Atlantic in Newfoundland.