Real-time Earth and Moon phase

Friday, May 30, 2008

Deadliest Catch in the Southern Ocean

Here's a story I came across this morning in the Ukraine Observer. It's entitled "Getting Gonta" written by Alex Frishberg about the story of two Russian fishermaen, Nikolai and Alexi and their boat "Gonta" venturing from Vladivostok to Perth, Australia. It's a fairly long, well-written article for a newspaper. (I assume that Ukraine Observer is a newspaper.) It somehow reminds me of the Discovery Channel show "Deadliest Catch" and even a touch of Ernest Hemingway's "The Old Man and the Sea". I don't think those were intended by the writer. The following description of their adventure in the Southern Ocean is something I found exciting to read:


. . . It was 3:23 a.m. in the predawn cold, and there was nothing for Nikolai to do but to stare into the endless darkness. Strange anxiety was brewing in his mind. What object would they collide with? Will he see it in time? Nikolai felt a premonition that something would happen to them. It was the most disturbing feeling that simply would not go away.

Looking ahead, he saw a large black cloud rolling towards Gonta from the south-west. At the same time, the waves were becoming more turbulent, rising in height each time. High on the crest of a wave it seemed like Gonta was on top of the world. Then she would plunge down the back side of the wave, hit bottom, and bury her bow into the next on-coming wave. The deck was barely visible in the foam of breaking seas as she would make its way to the surface again and again.

"Get up, Alexei, get up!" Nikolai shouted, but there was no reply. From the cockpit Nikolai looked out over the deck and saw what looked like a wall of water coming at him. The wave exploded against the hull, filling the air with salty spray. Next, the bow pointed up to the low black sky and then dived back into the wild sea. Nikolai screamed again from the top of his lungs, "come up here and help me, God damn it!"

He was frightened out of his wits, and for good reason: on such huge waves, boats can easily slide out of control as their bow digs into the sea and flips one end of the boat over the other, destroying the mast in the process. Recovering from this disaster would be nothing short of a miracle. The wind was blowing hard against the sails and put a tremendous train on all the rigging. Instinctively Nikolai knew that he had to quickly reduce sail, otherwise Gonta would snap its mast.

"I'm here," Alexei finally stuck his head out. "What? A storm?"

"Grab that rope and let it go! Now!"

At first, they tried to get the jib down without dropping it into the water, but it was very hard. When the bow came up, they would bring in as much as they could before the next wave would hit. The clouds were so close to the sea that everything was like a huge gray mass. In the darkness, Nikolai and Alexei could not distinguish the waves from the sky or clouds.

The Southern Ocean is a very lonely and primitive place. Having crossed the Trans-Siberian railroad, Nikolai and Alexei thought they knew a little about wilderness, but none of it was so huge and so far away from other humans. If anything happened to them, however slight or serious, assistance was completely out of the question. The fear they felt in the howling, near-hurricane force winds, was overwhelming at first, but the thought of being killed when they are thousands of miles away from any help, sailing in the freezing, black, mountainous seas, gave them the necessary courage to survive. In the freezing wind Alexei and Nikolai would work their way around the deck, always holding onto something solid with all the strength they had, praying that an on-coming wave would not throw them off balance and wash them overboard, to be eaten by the giant squids that lie in wait beneath the surface.

For hours Nikolai and Alexei would struggle at the wheel through the dangerous and chaotic cross-seas that followed quick changes in wind direction. One time, the wind increased until it was blowing close to hurricane strength, sometimes gusting to eighty knots. This whipped up monster waves that grew to seventy feet, like fast-moving seven-story high-rise buildings. They would surf down these waves, almost out of control. Those were very long runs, with Gonta flying along, surfing down those giant swells. Standing at the helm, Nikolai would try to ride them out as far as possible, as if he was hoping to stay on one wave all the way to Suez Canal.

That first night of the storm was unimaginable. The visibility was terrible and they had trouble opening their eyes because of the constant wash. Alexei and Nikolai simply could not see where they were going. The next day the storm center had passed and the wind speed dropped to 45 knots, which seemed like a calm day.

Yet other low-pressure systems kept overtaking Gonta, one after the other. Each came with the usual quick wind rotation from northwest to southwest, blowing at around fifty to fifty-five knots, as the cold front crossed over. Each enormous wave could have easily sunk the boat, but instead, Alexei and Nikolai would ride it out before being picked up by the next giant. And each time, Gonta emerged triumphant after a yet another trial by wind and cold, ice and breaking waves, always riding the edge of catastrophe.

In the end, each man had his own approach to sailing. At night, while on watch in the middle of mountainous seas, Alexei would eliminate sails, reducing the speed. Other times, when Alexei was asleep and Nikolai felt especially adventurous, he would drive Gonta at an angle with the wave so that speed was not reduced and the boat looked like a windsurfer. When the storms finally passed, they were way out in the Southern Ocean. No airplane or ship could reach their position. Only other vessels at sea could help them if something had gone wrong. There was nobody but themselves to rely upon. By that time, however, they were no longer afraid of the howling wind or the turbulent ocean waves.

Neither of them dared to say it out loud, so as not to jinx their luck. Yet it's something both Alexei and Nikolai firmly believed in. Namely, that Gonta was indestructible. It was made to bob through storm after storm without a scratch. Otherwise, they would have surely sunk to the bottom of the ocean during the very first night.

I enjoy reading it, but, as a desk sailor, I am certainly glad that I don't have to ever worry about experiencing it!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Blue Planet in Green Shackles

Here's a new book that's not even available at Amazon yet, but it is certainly worthwhile for everyone to get a hold of this book first hand: (Disclaimer: I do not know the author or work for Amazon. I am just a distant admirer of this great world class economist, statesman, and author.)


According to the Product Description:
Blue Planet in Green Shackles by Václav Klaus, President of the Czech Republic. President Klaus makes the case that policies being proposed to address global warming are not justified by current science and are, in fact, a dangerous threat to freedom and prosperity around the world. --- Klaus argues that the environmental movement has transformed itself into an ideology that seeks to restrict human activities at any cost, while pursuing an impossible utopian dream of a perfectly "natural" world. The supposed threat of human civilization against a fragile Earth has become an article of faith, especially in the realm of global warming activism. --- "The largest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy, and prosperity at the end of the 20th and at the beginning of the 21st century is no longer socialism," writes Klaus. "It is, instead, the ambitious, arrogant, unscrupulous ideology of environmentalism."
President Klaus openly challenged Al Gore to debate the issue. But unfortunately Chickengore simply has neither the intestinal fortitude nor basic intelligence to face up to the challenge.

Here's a part of President Klaus' recent lecture:

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Phoenix landed on the red planet

This is not freaque ocean waves, but it is really out of this world! Here are two pictures from the arctic surface of Mars:

and the news reported by Dave Billock in Wired News:

PASADENA, California -- After traveling more than 400 million miles during its 10-month journey from Earth, the Phoenix Lander touched down safely and sent its first signals from the Martian arctic surface Sunday afternoon.

The lander kept contact with Mission Control throughout the landing process. NASA had predicted that technicians would lose contact when the lander created hot plasma during atmospheric deceleration, but the signal was never lost. The lander is sitting a half degree off-axis, a near perfect landing. When asked if the landing could have gone better, Phoenix project manager, Barry Goldstein replied, "Not in my dreams."

Wait a minute! What color is that out there? It's suppose to be the Red Planet! Anyway congratulations to NASA for a job well done.

Update:

Now this is more like it!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Cooler Heads V. Hot Idiots

One of the editorials of Investors Business Daily yesterday was mildly entitled: Cooler Heads. I think it should more appropriately be modified as "Cooler Heads V. Hot Idiots" as I titled this blog today. The IBD editorial actually reported in the closing paragraphs a real news that all the drive-by medias are trying to hide:
Arthur Robinson of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine released Monday at the Press Club in Washington a petition signed by 31,072 Americans with university degrees in science, including 9,021 with doctorates, who reject the notion that greenhouse gas emissions will cause catastrophic heating of the planet.

Didn't hear about it? Oh, that's right — the media can't be bothered to report on something that challenges their narrative. They're too busy saving the world from imagined risks and ignoring the real threats we all share.

Yeb, 31,072 American scientists declared that they would reject the notion that greenhouse gas emissions will cause catastrophic heating of the planet and that's not news? The number does not even include scientists worldwide outside U. S. A. How many scientist are there in Algore's consensus?

It's no joke, the editorial notes that Algore is not alone:

But a British royal, no scientist he, says we have 18 months to save the rain forests or we will face a climate disaster, and the media are fascinated.

That same royal, Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, has also said that the fight against global warming is much like the war his predecessors fought against the Nazis.

He noted in a cleverly timed May 1 speech at a climate summit that when he served "in the Royal Navy . . . 'mayday, mayday, mayday' was the distress call used in cases of emergencies.

"And this (human-caused global warming) is an emergency that we face."

Al Gore, naturally, gets the same reverential treatment. He's no scientist, but the media dutifully report all the crackpot statements he makes about climate change, including his assertion that the deadly cyclone in Burma was likely due to global warming.

It's bunk, of course. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in a newly released study, says that warming will actually cause fewer hurricanes, not more.

Not that Gore will heed the rebuke. He's been told before, by none other than William Gray, professor emeritus of the atmospheric department at Colorado State University who is known as the country's most reliable hurricane forecaster, that such claims are false.

Yet he sticks to his story. And the media stick to him.

What a pity. Not only the U.S. has famous idiots, now U.K.'s royalty couldn't be left out. Where is Charles going to be in 18 months? God bless the Queen! Long live Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II! May she never retire! I always have the sneaky feeling that Prince Charles is not very smart, and now he personally substantiates it for us.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Needles in a haystack

This is a story of good news and bad news for three Sydney fisherman on Saturday off the New South Wales far south coast. As reported by the Australia ABC News with the headline "Rescued anglers 'needle in a haystack' after freak wave":

Four men were thrown into the water after their eight-metre vessel was swamped by a large wave about 15 kilometres from Bermagui.

Their 36-year-old friend drowned in the accident.

Police said the freak accident happened so quickly that none of the four men had time to don life jackets.

Water police Sergeant Jim Hinkley says the survivors suffered hypothermia from their three-hour ordeal in the three-metre swell.

"We're talking needle in a haystack. It's incredibly lucky," he said.

"I mean that when involved in a number of search and rescues, when we've been looking for people and how difficult it's been when we knew almost exactly where they should be, but this time we believe the rescue vessel when it came across these people in the water did so out of sheer luck."

After reading plenty of discouraging rescue cases over the last a couple of years, we must agree with the police Sergeant Hinkley that the three anglers were extremely fortunate, even though they lost one friend from their team. The low probability of rescue success is most certainly not because of a lack of devoted efforts. It's just the ocean is so vastly large, even the coastal areas, and human beings are so pitifully small out there that rescuers almost need to comb through every inch of the ocean to be able to find them in time. Thank God we can always count on the police, coast guard, and all kinds of volunteer rescuers out there when they are needed -- sometimes performing miracles for the family of the fortunate ones.

U.S. Federal law requires commercial vessels to have an Emergency Positioning Radio Indicator Beacon in federal waters. The EPIRB is supposed to send a distress signal when it hits water. My friend Rob Stormer of the Robin Storm Blog and a marine engineer and salvage master is always on the look for possible EPIRB malfunctions. I don't know if the Australians have a similar law. May be they have, that's why the anglers were lucky. But if they don't have a similar EPIRB law, they should! Come to think of it, may be every sea-going boat should be equipped with something like that in the first place -- with or without a government pushing it.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day!

Today is Pentecost and Mother's day. To celebrate this special day, someone called "NeedImprovement" on Forums.catholic.com made this comment:
Is it a stretch of the imagination for catholics? I don't know if it should be. Just prior to the account of Pentecost in Acts Chapter 2, we are told in Acts 1:14 that our Blessed Mother was in the apostles' company, and that (Acts 2:1) when the day of Pentecost came it found them gathered in one place.

NeedImprovement also posted this tribute to mothers by Joseph Cardinal Mindszenty *** (1892-1975):

The most important person… on earth is a Mother.
She cannot claim the honor of having built Notre Dame Cathedral.
She need not.
She has built something more magnificent than any cathedral –
A dwelling for an immortal soul, the tiny perfection of her baby’s body.
The angels have not been blessed with such a grace.
They cannot share in God’s creative miracle to bring new souls to Heaven.
Only a human mother can.
Mothers are closer to God the creator than any other creature.
God joins forces with mothers in performing this act of creation…
What on God’s good earth is more glorious than this:
To be a mother?

I wish to dedicate this beautiful tribute of Cardinal Mindszenty to the three wonderful mothers in my life: my own dear mother who is now in Heaven, my dear wife who is busy every day making my life worry free, and my dear daughter who has now two beautiful daughters of her own.

*** Re: Cardinal Mindszenty:

Joseph Mindszenty was born in Hungary on March 29, 1892. He was ordained to the priesthood on the Feast of the Sacred heart of Jesus on June 12, 1915, and was consecrated Bishop of Veszprem on March 25, 1944. From November 27, 1944 to April 20, 1945, he was imprisoned by the Nazis. Pope Pius XII appointed him Archbishop of Esztergom and Primate of Hungary on October 2, 1945. Just a few months later, on February 18, 1946, the Holy Father raised him to the Cardinalate. As Pope Pius XII placed the Cardinal's hat on his head, the Pope said: "Among the thirty-two, you will be the first to suffer the martyrdom whose symbol this red color is."

When the Communists arrested Cardinal Mindszenty in Budapest on December 26, 1948, his twenty-three long years of persecution, suffering and enforced isolation began. Throughout his ordeals, he was unwavering in his faith, hope and love of God.

Upon the request of Pope Paul VI, Cardinal Mindszenty departed from his country of Hungary, still occupied by the Communists, on September 29, 1971, and settled in Vienna, Austria. He died there at the age of 83 on May 6, 1975.

Today, Cardinal Mindszenty is buried in the Church of the Assumption, the Basilica of Esztergom, Hungary, where pilgrims visit daily and pray for his intercession in their needs.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Elemental force

Here's another superbly written article from down-under. This one from two senior science reporters of the Sunday Age, John Elder and Stephen Cauchi, with a well chosen title: Elemental force and a relevant photo of lightning hitting Sydney by Jeremy Somers:
The theme of the article is nicely laid out by the famous quote of the 19th century American writer Charles Dudley Warner: "Everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it." (Being that we are now in 21st century and in the midst of all kinds of climate and weather hoopla, may be we could slightly modify the later part of the quote by inserting an additional word as ". . . nobody does anything meaningful about it.")

The article grabs a reader's attention from the very first paragraphs:
THE sky is so big, we are so small. Even when gathered together in our billions, the human tribe is like so much fish food dotting the bottom of an immense aquarium. When things get stirred up, we can either duck for cover or get washed away. And if the great pool was to dry out, we'd turn to dust.

Such is our nervous relationship with the weather.

When it turns bad — really bad — it can take days just to realise the sheer size of the attendant devastation.

Of course that leads to the major current event:

Look at Burma. Last week, on May 4, news agencies reported that at least 241 people had been killed by a cyclone. On May 5, the death count stood at 4000. As of yesterday, there was talk of it reaching 100,000.

Sure, this was Burma, where an oppressive regime makes it hard for the outside world to know what's really going on at the best of times. On the other hand, a cyclone is like a blender, turning everything in its path to a rough soup.

And also referencing to a familiar historical one:
Five days after the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004, the death toll was said to be 70,000. Later it was found to be at least three times higher. But consider this: not only were many villages and towns wholly flattened, it is thought that a number of islands had actually been moved some metres and re-set upon the seabed like flowerpots.
So an early punchline:
The darkly absurd paradox was that as we struggled vainly to get our heads around the scale of the annihilation — this was, after all, one of the most ruinous natural disasters on record — there were immediate calls for clever human intervention so it would never happen again.

Time passed and these fearful pleas died under the weight of an intuitive reality: there isn't much that can be done if and when the natural world turns against us.

The fundamental belief that we can save ourselves from the weather doesn't seem to be there.

Well, no can do! But smart cookies can, of course! Hence human intervention. Yeb, human intervention! Isn't that every presumed altruist powers that be are dreaming to do under their power? A couple of cases in point:

Just last week, 11 aircraft buzzed the skies of Moscow, spraying them with nitrogen dioxide, carbon dioxide and cement powder. The aim was to prevent clouds raining on the parade of Dimitry Medvedev, who was sworn in as president of the Russian Federation.

By all accounts, the weather was fine. But was that due to the cloud seeding, or would the weather have been fine anyway?

The Chinese Government certainly believes the former. According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology publication Technology Review, the Chinese weather-engineering program is the world's largest, with 30 aircraft, 7000 anti-aircraft guns and 5000 rocket launchers on call to pepper the skies with chemicals.

The Chinese claim they have had good rain control results at events such as the Asian Games in Shanghai, and are preparing for the Olympics opening ceremony in August. That's the wet season for host city Beijing, and statistically there's a near 50% chance of rain.

Two aircraft and rockets from 20 sites around the capital will shoot silver iodide and dry ice into incoming clouds to flush them dry of rain before they hit the Olympic stadium. If that doesn't work, and clouds do come near the stadium, the Chinese will try the reverse: seeding them with liquid nitrogen to ensure they don't rain.

Advanced though the Chinese program is, they consider the Russians world leaders. In 1986, Russian scientists claimed cloud seeding prevented radioactive rain clouds from Chernobyl reaching Moscow; in 2000, they said clouds were cleared from a World War II anniversary ceremony.

Note that only former and current commies will do it. No surprises there. Not to mention that the commie thug leaders in Peiking Palace barbarically uprooted millions of people from their ancestral home with thousands of years history just to make room for the Olympics this year. I am certain George Bush could not care less about that when he foolishly pledged his support of the Olympics. Now the commie thugs want to set "two aircraft and rockets from 20 sites around the capital" to" shoot silver iodide and dry ice into incoming clouds to flush them dry of rain." Let's wait and see what's going to happen.

The Chinese claim they have had good rain control results at events such as the Asian Games in Shanghai, and are preparing for the Olympics opening ceremony in August. That's the wet season for host city Beijing, and statistically there's a near 50% chance of rain.

I am sure that there will be plenty of people impressed by the commie shows. And beyond that they will also goo-goo gaa-gaa about those impressive buildings and skyscrapers in the big cities that money can buy. Can Stephen Spielberg be the only one that see through that the Marxist commie thugs constantly trample the human rights of poor Chinese people? Does anyone still remember the Australians converted the garbage dumps into Olympic park for the 2000 summer Olympic? The civilized way can certainly be done! Civilization is really in the eyes of the beholder. But the saddest thing is for the seemingly civilized people to tolerate the barbarians.

Elder and Cauchi told many of the past and present attempts of weather modifications including pushing the hurricane away. But for civilized world that sort of things going to cause problems as:
But diverting a hurricane presents new problems. "The social and legal issues are daunting," Alamaro has told the British press. "If a hurricane were coming towards Miami with the potential to cause damage and kill people, and we diverted it, another town or village hit by it would sue us. They'll say the hurricane is no longer an act of God, but that we caused it."
I think Hu Chin-tao and Vladimir V. Putin will laugh at these prospects. That's why they will never allow true democratic systems. Sadly there are people in U.S. hate our constitution that guaranteed us our liberty. Because our liberty limits those jerks to impose their mumbo jumbo on us. Well, that's beyond the scope of our discussion of Elder and Cauchi's article foe now. It's a great article. read it here. Let's just simply summarize with the hope that may all powers be disposed at better use of the elemental forces!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Burma killed by tyranny

I came across this absolutely brilliant newspaper column today. Here's the beginning:

THE vultures are circling over Burma’s dead. Hey, isn’t that fat one Al Gore?

Sure is. And - flap, flap, plop - there he lands, the first to go picking over carcasses for scraps to feed his great global warming scare campaign.

What the world should be learning from this terrible loss of at least 60,000 people in the cyclone that hit Burma last week is that tyrannies kill more surely than any freak of weather.

But Al Gore, who won a Nobel “Peace” Prize for terrifying people with his error-riddled An Inconvenient Truth, wants you to blame instead his pet bogeyman. Tremble, sinners, before the wrath of a hot planet!

In an interview on America’s NPR on Tuesday, Gore claimed Cyclone Nargis was actually part of a pattern.

“Last year a catastrophic storm . . . hit Bangladesh. The year before, the strongest cyclone in more than 50 years hit China, and we’re seeing consequences that scientists have long predicted might be associated with continued global warming.”

This cyclone that hit Burma is a “consequence” of global warming? Gore should die of shame to peddle such self-serving deceptions.

The article is in the Australian newspaper Herald Sun of Melbourne, entitled "Burma killed by tyranny" by columnist Andrew Bolt. I took his title for my blog today. Mr. Bolt cited a number of well-known facts that most fair minded people knew except Algore gangs and his drive-by media pals. And:

So there's no recent warming, no agreed link with cyclones, no trend of worse cyclones, and nothing unusually strong about the one that hit Burma.

Yet there goes Gore - caw, caw, caw - flogging the warming scare that has made him so fantastically rich. The great Profit of Doom.

Par for his course, I know, given a British judge last year ruled that Gore had likewise exaggerated the link between global warming and the category three Hurricane Katrina that helped to breach the crumbling levees of New Orleans.

But what's worse this time is that Gore's blundering attempts to blame global warming for Burma's agony distracts attention from the real causes of this catastrophe - despicable causes we may at least hope to do something about.

From listening to the U.S. media, I got the impression that this Burma cyclone must be a major one, something on the order of another Katrina. But, wait:

If Cyclone Nargis had struck not Rangoon, but Melbourne or Tokyo, it is unlikely more than a few dozen people, if that, would have died. And that's because we are free, and rich - as free people tend to be with capitalism. Even Bangkok would have survived this far, far easier.

But in Burma as many as 100,000 are now feared dead - victims not of global warming, but of a tyranny that has left them poor and defenceless.

That's really news to me! 100,000 lost lives, but not really the fault of the Cyclone. I wonder how many people only rely on CNN/NPR/. . . and all those drive-by media for news ever have a notion about the following:

Burma, a former British colony, was once the rice-bowl of South-East Asia, but in 1962 a bunch of generals took over with a misty-eyed plan to impose on their 50 million people the "Burmese Way to Socialism".

Their brand of politics was of the kind still distressingly popular at RMIT and Victoria University, and produced exactly the misery it's inflicted from Cuba to Russia.

The economy collapsed, and Burma went from bread-basket to basket-case. No wonder so many people today still live in shacks and shanties that were no protection against last Friday's high winds and storm surge.

Whenever the Burmese people tried to protest against this junta-made poverty, and to demand democracy, they were shot - so often and in such numbers that China is now about the only ally the junta has left. In this way does resource-ravenous China, Olympics host, export its tyranny to the world.

Now consider how this junta - so brutal, unaccountable, incompetent, tyrannical and isolated -- has handled this latest disaster.

Two days before Cyclone Nargis hit, India's Meteorological Department warned the junta's minions it was coming, and where.

But Burma's state-owned media, one of the crudest propaganda outfits I've seen, issued no mass alerts. Indeed, illegal Voice of America broadcasts probably did more to warn Burma's civilians to take shelter than did Burma's own radio station.

At first, the full scale of the disaster was kept from the world.

Perhaps even the junta itself may not have known it, given there are no journalists free in that country to report what they see, and no untapped phone lines or internet to tell the world the truth.

Even now, the junta is killing people with its paranoia. Disaster assessment teams and helicopters from the United States have been blocked from coming in to prepare a huge rescue, and foreign aid teams not already in-country had their applications for visas stalled and aid shipments stopped.

Foreign journalists, whose reports would help raise appeal money, have been banned.

The UN is now "intensely" negotiating with the junta to let in aid workers and ease customs regulations on aid - literally begging the junta to let the world save its people.

So slow has the junta been to let in help, that French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, founder of aid group Medicins Sans Frontieres, suggested the UN Security Council adopt a resolution allowing aid to be flown into the country by force. China, naturally, is against such interference in the affairs of its "friend".

True, the junta has let in some shipments of aid, and is particularly keen on being given cash rather than kind - which even the patsies of the European Union, not being completely insane, resist.

Why hand cash to thieves? I've seen for myself, on one of my trips to Burma, military heavies in shades openly demand bribes from Australian aid workers who were giving blankets to disaster victims.

In Mandalay, I saw a Red Cross ambulance, given by Japan, refitted for use as a taxi for military officials. The junta even today charges import duty on foreign donations.

With such tyrants in charge, the toll from Friday's cyclone - already horrific - can only keep rising.

Let us not be sidetracked. These are people killed not by Gore's global warming, or even by Friday's Cyclone Nargis - but by a filthy band of rapacious dictators who have left their people beggared and blinded, at the mercy of even the wind and waves.

Why should I have to go all the way to down-under to find news item like this? I can understand why the drive-by media would want to protect Algore. But I can never understand why would they want to hide the news about the junta and the connections between the junta and Chinese Commies? Conscience, anyone?

Sunday, May 04, 2008

High wave tragedy in S. Korea

This is a picture reported in AFP as "A man looks at a giant wave breaking on the coast." But the news headline accompanied the picture is "High waves killed nine in S. Korea."

Yes, another unexpected onshore high waves tragedy, this time it's S. Korea. It can almost expected that this high wave will invariably be described as a freaque one as this U.K. Press Association headline: "Seven killed by freak wave."

This FoxNews report summarizes the details:

SEOUL, South Korea — At least eight people were killed and 14 others injured Sunday after being swept away by a sudden large wave that crashed over a breakwater on South Korea's west coast, the coast guard said.

The wave — believed to have been as high as 16 feet — slammed over the bulwark near Daecheon Beach in Boryeong City, where dozens of people had been fishing and sightseeing, said Lee Won-il, a local Coast Guard officer.

Lee said up to 15 people remained missing. He said the coast guard was struggling to estimate how many more could be missing because witnesses had given different accounts.

The dead included two children aged 9 and 5, and two of the injured were in critical condition, Lee said.

According to the FoxNews, "Witnesses described scenes of grief and panic after the wave washed over the breakwater some 120 miles south of Seoul." And

South Korea's weather agency had forecast there would be strong winds and high waves in the area but did not issue any advisory, Lee said.

The wave was believed to have been caused by regular tidal movements in the Yellow Sea, he said, adding that it had been cloudy and drizzly around 12:40 p.m. (0340 GMT) when the incident happened.

How can "regular tidal movement" in the Yellow Sea cause this kind of disastrous incident on a seemingly "regular" spring time Sunday? Should an advisory be issued?

It may be of interest to note that of the 17 or so news reports on this incident available on the Google Search page at one time, 6 of them called it "large wave", 7 called it "high wave", three called it "tidal wave", only one called it "freak wave". The count of lost life stands currently at 9, but none of the news reports called the incident a tragedy!

Update:

May be it can be anticipated, this CTV news of Canada just appeared with the headline "Rogue wave kills at least 7 in South Korea." (Emphasize added.)