Real-time Earth and Moon phase

Friday, October 31, 2008

The impoverishment of the world ivory tower.

The latest Nature magazine (Nature 455, 1149 , 30 October 2008) carries a timely editorial, what else?, "America's choice." Here's how the editorial starts:
The election of a US president almost always seems like a crossroads, but the choice to be made on 4 November feels unusual, and daunting, in its national and global significance.
Yes, of course, the President of the U.S.A. always has global significance, that's why even Nature will devote an editorial for it. So it continues:
Science and the research enterprise offer powerful tools for addressing key challenges that face America and the world, and it is heartening that both John McCain and Barack Obama have had thoughtful things to say about them. Obama has been more forthcoming in his discussion of research goals (see Nature 455, 446–449; 2008), but . . .
A-ha! There is the almighty "but" how can an editorial without a but? Here's some fluff leading to the punch line:
There is no open-and-shut case for preferring one man or the other on the basis of their views on these matters. This is as it should be: for science to be a narrow sectional interest bundled up in a single party would be a terrible thing.
And now this:
On a range of topics, science included, Obama has surrounded himself with a wider and more able cadre of advisers than McCain.
Oh yea? How about name some?
The advice of experts is all the more valuable when it is diverse: 'groupthink' is a problem in any job. Obama seems to understands this. He tends to seek a range of opinions and analyses to ensure that his own opinion, when reached, has been well considered and exposed to alternatives. He also exhibits pragmatism — for example in his proposals for health-care reform — that suggests a keen sense for the tests reality can bring to bear on policy.
What make you think that Obama"understands" or even cares about this if there is not a TelePrompter in front of him? Somehow the editorial becomes a collection of clich├ęs after that. The culmination of this editorial is certainly this:
This journal does not have a vote, and does not claim any particular standing from which to instruct those who do. But if it did, it would cast its vote for Barack Obama.
Yes this is all the elite magazine wish to say in this editorial the first place. Now it's eminently clear that the Nature magazine is on the same side of al Qaeda, although al Qaeda expressed themselves rather less unabashfully.

At any rate, the Nature magazine certainly carries similar expectation as this young lady:



So if next week Obama got elected, Ms. Peggy Joseph will no longer worry about paying her gas and mortgage, and world scientist are going to have unlimited funding from Obama according to Nature. Way to go, Nature!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

"It was just a freak wave, . . ."

KTVZ.com of Oregon reported this tragic news last night with this rather non descriptive title: "Bend residents help in 'sneaker wave' rescue." Here's what happened:

A mother says she, her 6-year-old son and a newly married couple were swept from a coastal rock near Coos Bay, when they fell victim to a sneaker wave.

"We were all four there," Angela Leone said. "It was just a freak wave, we were just looking at the tide pools and stuff."

Three Bend residents were vacationing in the Coos Bay area and were standing near that rock in Shore Acres Park.

They say they heard the wave hit and ran to help the strangers being pulled into the ocean.

"The strength of the wave, they were only in knee deep water," Bryce Robertson said Wednesday.

Leone says she tried to hold onto her son but couldn't.

Two of the Bend residents reached in, to pull her out.

Leone says her sister, Robin Tyler, was pushed out of the water by her new husband, 39-year-old Roy Tyler. Leone now calls him a hero.

"Roy had pushed Robin where she could grab onto safety and had grabbed onto Craig," she said.

Robertson said the wave "pulled them, the man and the boy, it just pulled them back out to sea."

Sadly the little's body was later spotted on the other side of the cove. After CPR he was stabilized for a while, unfortunately according to his mother he "died three hours later as he was en route to a Portland children's hospital. " After hours of unsuccessful searching, the search for Roy Tyler's body was called off.

Another tragic case fell on a beautiful rocky shore. The wave that the mother described as "just a freak wave" is likely to be the kind of Sarah freaque wave we have discussed on this blog before. Our heartfelt sympathy goes to the mother who lost her son and her sister who lost her newly married husband. May God's grace and blessing help them endure this human tragedy.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

"And then a big one came, . . ."

This struggle and survival story was published in yesterday's Anchorage Daily News which also carried a 4.35 minutes video of Rescue at Sea in there:
The captain of a commercial fishing boat that sank last week in remote Aleutian waters said Monday he and other crewmen spent a terrifying night trying to cling to a wave-pummeled life raft.

The 11-man crew was forced to abandon the 93-foot vessel Katmai after it lost steering, flooded and rolled over in rough seas west of Adak early last Wednesday, said Henry Blake, who lives in Massachusetts.

That began a desperate fight for survival, Blake told a panel of federal investigators during a hearing at the Hilton hotel in downtown Anchorage.

Blake said he and six others made it into a life raft, which itself was filled with water as waves pounded against it and the men tried to secure a sheltering canopy in the wind gusts.

"And then a big one came," he said, a monster wave that overturned the raft and dumped the men -- all wearing survival suits -- into the frigid water.

When they regrouped, three of the men had disappeared. "Josh was gone, Cedric was gone," said Blake, pausing at that point as emotion gripped his throat.

In the ensuing hours, before a U.S. Coast Guard rescue helicopter found them the next day and hoisted them to safety, waves flipped the raft over and over again -- 20, 30, maybe even 50 times, Blake said.

A rookie crewman, 23-year-old Adam Foster of Shoreline, Wash., testified Monday that after one wipeout he found himself about 40 yards away from the raft. "Countless times," he said, waves flipped the raft and he had to swim hard to get back to it.

"When we saw that helicopter just come out of the sky out of nowhere, that was the best feeling I've ever felt in my life," he said.

Only Blake, Foster and two others survived the sinking.
It is inevitable that when the "big" one comes, the monster wave will overturn the raft and dump the men into the frigid water. Sadly survival suit helped some but not all. A comment attached to the published ADN story by a "ddkeen" that says:
Thank God for the survivors. I am so sorry for the others who lost their lives. May God bless their families and bring them peace.
Amen!


Monday, October 27, 2008

God bless America and our Constitution!

Eight days to the 2008 U.S. Presidential election, as a naturalized citizen I have been paying close attention to this election as always. On a day no important freaque waves news around, I think it would be appropriate for me to take this opportunity to express some of my civic feelings on my blog here.

Two score and nine years ago, I came to this country on September 23, 1959 from Taiwan, the Republic of China, to pursue advanced studies first in Virginia Tech. Graduate School. That was almost two years before Lady Stanley Ann Dunham give birth to baby Barry Obama on August 4, 1961, six months after she married Barack Hussein Obama, a student from Kenya, on February 2, 1961. Because there was no official birth certificate, other than something called “certification of live birth” filed on August 8, 1961, was made available, the baby’s full given name and place of birth, and therefore his status of being a “natural born Citizen”, are all unknown. It is plausible that the birth could had taken place in Kenya while Ann and her husband were visiting Kenya at the time based on account of the spoken words of the baby’s paternal grandmother in Kenya.

In the intervening years, I managed to get through my graduate studies, fell in love with the American system that everything clearly rooted in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, decided to stay and had the good fortune to become a U.S Citizen. Along the way I enjoyed a 42 years research career and continuing to this day as an emeritus. As a grateful beneficiary of the great U.S. system, I earnestly hope my daughter and grand daughters can expect the same fortune I enjoyed in freely pursuing the American dreams. They should if we can continue honor our Constitution as:
WE, the people of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution of the United States of America.
That’s what being an American is all about!

Well, here we are in year 2008, another election year. Unlike previous elections in previous years, this one is very different and utmost important. This time our Constitution is at stake!

That baby boy who refused to disclose his detailed birth record, only a live birth announcement, that renders the question of whether or not he is a natural born citizen to be very much in doubt.. So for all practical purpose he could be constitutionally not qualified to run for president, but he is now grown up and is now one of the candidates and he could get elected next week. Therefore his election could make a mockery of our U.S. Constitution.

Is this a minor quibble with the Constitution? I wish it does – if he loves America and honor our Constitution. Unfortunately he is apparently not!

According to this newly discovered audio interview made in 2001 on public radio here :

A person with his kind of Marcist "distribution of wealth" views is going to be our next President of the United States? How nightmarishly frightening! It shows clearly that he is anti-constitution when he talked about the wish to
“. . . break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution.”
God Almighty! Those constraints the Founding Fathers placed is for the purpose of restraining the government to insure our liberty. What was he trying to do? Is he an American? So with his anti-Constitution attitude, if American people elect him the President of the United States of America, how can he be honestly taking the Oath:
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Almighty God, we always do need your help, but this is especially the very time we, the people of the U.S., need your help in overcoming the evil force against our Constitution now! Your supreme blessing for us are the only power that can save our one Nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all!

Let us sing!





Update

Steve Schippert of WizbandBlog expressed the same feeling as I was trying to express, but much more eloquently and concise:
It cannot be any clearer. Barack Obama, the favorite to be elected the President of the United States of America in barely a week's time, sees the American Constitution as an obstacle rather than a guiding document. Let that sink in for a moment. Ponder what that really means and rationalize how a man with such disdain for the Constitution - your Constitution, our Constitution - can possibly in good faith take the oath of office and swear to protect and defend our Founding Document.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Final practice of C.J.'s first ice-skating competition

Allow me to show off my maternal-grandfatherly pride today by presenting the video of my first grand-daughter, six year old C.J.'s final practice for her first ice-skating competition:



Here are some beautiful descriptive English words in the book of J. I. Rodale's "The Synonym Finder": pride and joy, treasure, jewel, gem, . . . , or in verbs: take pride, exult in, bask in, . . . , anyway they are all applicable and you are welcome to share them all with me.


Update:

Here's CJ's actual performance when she has the ice all by herself:



And here's the warmup before her performance:



CJ was placed First Place in her age group in the competition. Here are some action shots during CJ's actual performance photographed by the family's photographer friend John:

Friday, October 24, 2008

Deceit of man-made global warming

The article published Wednesday, October 22, 2008 in Canada Free Press by Dr. TimBall is a timely must read for the world we are facing these days. The whole title of the article is more expressive: Financial meltdown defrocks deceit of man-made global warming.

Here's how the article starts:

Frequently after a presentation someone will ask me the rhetorical question, “So, you are telling us the majority of scientists, the IPCC, and National Academies of Science are all wrong.” It is more than the usual consensus argument, which says you must be wrong because the majority disagrees. It implies it is not credible to believe so many people are deceived. The consensus argument is counteracted by the point that consensus is not a scientific fact. The second implication was more difficult to counter. Not any more! Now the massive failure of the financial markets and financial systems shows how a majority of people including world leaders, politicians, academics, business leaders and the media were fooled.

The financial debacle and the climate change misdirection fit Abraham Lincoln’s dictum, “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.” Maybe now politicians the public and the politicians will acknowledge that they can and have been fooled about climate change.

Clearly expecting politician to acknowledge they were being fooled is to much of a wishful thinking. I think here's the essence:
We cannot stop climate change because we, or our CO2, are not the cause. There is no record of any duration for any time period in which CO2 increase precedes a temperature increase. Even if all countries implemented the complete Kyoto Protocol the difference in atmospheric CO2 would be undetectable. Saying we must adapt to climate change appears to avoid the issue but ignores that all adaptation plans are for warming. Evidence for cooling continues despite contrary comments. They say 2000 - 08 was warmer than previous decades, but this ignores the downward trend - a trend contradicting the IPCC prediction as this plot shows. (Compare the purple line (actual trend with the IPCC prediction orange/brown line).
Here's the last paragraphs of the article:

Despite persistent failures of the IPCC predictions, most politicians are fooled into believing CO2 is a problem and the cause of climate change. Even if they don’t accept, they believe it is political suicide to assume otherwise. They accept the argument that all those prestigious groups can’t be wrong. Sorry, but they can and are.

Abraham Lincoln’s dictum applies to climate change. Environmental extremists will continue to be fooled; those who were not fooled will have no pleasure in “I told you so;” and we only need enough people to realize they’ve been fooled to force or allow politicians to face reality.

Read the whole thing! It's will at least provide some release to our uneasy feelings as we are facing toward our uncertain future.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Algore's nightmare

The editorial of the Investor's Bussiness Daily last Friday (October 17, 2008) entitled "Cold Reality" is such a cool article that'll make Algore scream in his nightmare:

Start with Alaska, a place in the news of late. The state's glaciers, after two centuries of shrinkage (a trend that began before the advent of the internal combustion engine and smokestack economy), actually grew during the winter of 2007-08.

"In general," Bruce Molnia, a U.S. Geological Survey glaciologist, told the Anchorage Daily News, "the weather this summer was the worst I have seen in at least 20 years."

Translation: It was so cold that the snow that causes glaciers to expand didn't melt until later than usual.

Meanwhile, the International Arctic Research Center reports 29% more Arctic sea ice this year than last. This doesn't exactly square with overheated predictions earlier in the year that the North Pole would be entirely free of ice over the summer for the first time in recorded history.

Farther south, midmonth temperatures in Oregon hit record lows, and on Oct. 10 Boise, Idaho, got its earliest snow ever — 1.7 inches that beat the old record by one day and 7/10 of an inch.

Much farther south, Durban, South Africa, had its coldest September night in history a month ago, and parts of the country had an unusual late-winter snow. A month earlier in New Zealand, officials at Mount Ruapehu reported the largest snow base ever.

These last four developments, taken together or separately, don't disprove the global warming theory. But unlike climate projection models, which are often wrong but endlessly thrown in our faces as examples of hard science, they are real world events wholly contrary to the story the alarmists have been spreading.

Global warm mongers are rapidly losing credibility. Mainstream journalists will still believe them because climate change fits the narrative they've so carefully nurtured. But eventually the error will have to admitted. It won't happen publicly, though, because by the time they come to their senses, the issue will have been long forgotten by the public.

Yes, indeed, Algore and his band of global warm mongers are rapidly losing credibility. But seriously now, do they ever have any to begin with?

Lake Superior waves

The website Earth Science Picture of the Day (EPOD) is a place that can always be count on showing interesting as well as exciting pictures. Today this Lake Superior wave picture by Mike Klarich is simply fascinating.
The wave hit the big rock and reflects into a part of the Hawaii pipeline kind of effect. That is tantalizing! Clearly it's not for surfers, though.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Another small boat capsizing ascribed to a freaque wave

Similar story, different part of the world oceans. This time it happens in Victoria, Australia. According to The Standard:
A CATAMARAN dubbed 'Battle Cat' felt the full fury of the sea when it was capsized and destroyed off The Flume yesterday.

The catamaran was travelling west 300 metres off the coast from Granny's Grave to The Flume at 5.30pm when a strong wind dropped and a freak wave capsized the boat.

The occupants of the vessel, Warrnambool's Kevin Chisholm, 26 and Jack Curwen-Walker, 19, escaped from the wreckage relatively unscathed.

The bad news is that's another case ascribed to a freaque wave with no particular details. The good news is that both boaters are "escaped from the wreckage relatively unscathed." Thanks be to God!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Freaque opinion polls, hiding data, etc.

Reading the "wizbangblog" today, a post by DJ Drummond on opinion polls interested me. As I have been given up on paying attention to opinion polls for a long time, his post gave me a good explanation for my behavior:
I have followed opinion polls for some years now, and I have great respect for a poll which is properly done, and properly reported. Unfortunately, there are a lot of polls which get published without providing readers or viewer with the proper context, and worse there are a number of major polls which hide vital parts of their internal data. The media, it must be remembered, is not and never has been in the business of reporting facts. Instead, they want to sell a story, in order to claim lots of attention which will increase readership or ratings. And in this election, the media has overwhelmingly been biased . . .
I stopped paying attention to polls mainly because I found the poll results and reality are totally not correlated. I sensed that they might play tricks to manipulate results. As a scientist working on data analysis, I am especially offended by " hide vital parts of their internal data."

Many years ago when I just started my research career, I was awe-struck by a young scientist who was a new Ph.D. from Stanford. He did some impressive laboratory wave experiment that verified some theoretical aspect of the wind wave studies. When I met him in a conference, I felt like I was meeting a star. Some time later I met one of his Stanford classmates in another conference. This classmate told me the truth behind his experiment made me lost some of my respect for him. It turned out that this guy worked very hard, he did hundreds, may be thousands experiments on the study. Only a few runs, by chance, fit the theory. But he only took those few case to his adviser to show that he verified the theory. He got his degree and became a rising star! He became fairly successful and well-known. I don't know what had happened to him. Somehow he disappeared from the wave research world for quite some time now. He's about my age, probably he's enjoying retirement somewhere also.

Anyway for a scientist dealing with data, hiding, disgarding, fixing, or twiddling with data are all inexcusable, bordering on falsification. Please remember it next time when you see Algore's beautiful global warming data plot again. Are they for real? Of course for pollsters, they are media instruments which in 2008 are just political instrments, they should not ever be considered as scientists by any stretch of imagination. The 2008 election season has one more month to go. The pollster are still poised to make a whole lot of money yet. Can they still lift their head up high after the election day?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Piracy off Somalia

I blogged about the present day pirates in Gulf of Aden earlier this month. Last week Ukrainian cargo ship Faina "was captured by Somali pirates on September 25, 2008, becoming the 62nd attack by pirates on ships near Somalia, and the 26th ship hijacked by pirates in 2008" according to Wikipedia. This morning AFP reports:

The USS Howard


MOGADISHU (AFP) — The US Navy on Wednesday piled pressure on Somali pirates holding out for a 20 million dollar ransom for a Ukrainian cargo ship carrying tanks and other arms.

Warships from the United States and other navies have blockaded the MV Faina in a pirate lair off Somalia's Indian Ocean coast.

The US Defence Department has suggested it could wait days for a Russian warship to arrive, before taking action, and has laid the emphasis on ensuring a "peaceful resolution."

The pirates, who seized the MV Faina with its 21-man crew and 33 Soviet-era T72 battle tanks last Thursday, say they are under 24-hour surveillance from the US ships and helicopters.

"We are prepared for any eventuality," warned pirate spokesman, Sugule Ali, by satellite telephone from the ship.

It is certainly comforting to know the U.S. Navy is on the scene. So the modern day thugs will not be the old time vikings. The title of the AFP article "US Navy plays waiting game with surounded Somali pirates" certainly give us hope for a peaceful solution, thanks to the U.S. Navy. But one just can not help asking where the heck is United Nations? Did they ever done anything meaningful for the world peace?

???

Right! zero, zilch, nothing, nada!
(Do you suppose that the pirate leader might get an invitation to address the U.N. someday?)