Real-time Earth and Moon phase

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Major storm on Groundhog day?

It is not always happen to have meteorologists so confident about their forecasts, so it's rather refreshing to see this news item from the Accuweather:
AccuWeather.com Meteorologists are confident a major storm will affect the eastern part of the nation Monday (Groundhog Day) into Tuesday of the coming week.
O-Oh! A major storm three days from now.
The storm will be large in size, encompassing over 2 million square miles. The system will grab copious amounts of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico with potential to unleash 1 to 2 inches of rain or 1 to 2 feet of snow on some areas. The storm will also intensify as it moves on a nearly south-to-north heading. Warm air south and east of the storm will lead to damaging thunderstorms.

The exact track of the storm will determine the nature of the beast that will pummel an area from the entire, immediate Atlantic coast to nearly as far west as the Mississippi River.

There is a multitude of tracks the storm could take, ranging from just off of the Atlantic coast to a track just to the west of the Appalachians. Over the coming days, computer models will get more in line to one track, and our meteorologists will home in on the details. For now, we want you to be aware of the consequences of the different tracks the storm could take.
And here are some graphics:
It's really going to cover nearly half of the country, including northern Flordia and at least eastern part of the Great Lakes area -- that's my neck of the woods. For the people going down to Tampa Bay for the Super Bowl, their return trip may not be very smooth regardless who wins!

Anyway here's a summary of their forecast and warning;
A large, dangerous storm will take shape in the eastern third of the nation early next week, spreading a swath of snow, rain, damaging thunderstorms, flooding and high winds northward from the Gulf of Mexico.
Well, still being in the new year period of the year of the Ox, I wish the best of luck for everybody, but I hope the Accuweather forecasters may over stated their predictions!


Update Feb. 3, 2009

Gorundhog Day came by peacefully. The large, dangerous storm did not seem to have materialized. This is the kind of occasions that people will be happy when forecasters turned out to be wrong.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Exoplanet HD 80606b

Another news item which is out of my league with a fascinating "out-of-this-world" picture from NASA Spitzer Space Telescope:

with this note as given in the MSNBC article by Jeanna Bryner:
This photo shows computer-generated images charting the development of severe weather patterns on exoplanet HD 80606b. Astronomers have observed a planet some 200 light years from Earth that, for a few hours, becomes 700 degrees Celsius (1,300 degrees Fahrenheit) hotter every time its elliptical orbit brings it close to its sun.
And this explanation:
One extrasolar planet takes heat waves to the extreme: Within six hours, temperatures on the gas giant can soar by more than 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit (555 degrees C).

The intense baking triggers shock-wave storms that whip around the planet quicker than the speed of sound, carrying with them skyrocketing heat and high-speed winds.

Known as HD 80606b, the gaseous planet was discovered in 2001 by a Swiss planet-hunting team led by Dominique Naef of the Geneva Observatory. It is about four times the mass of Jupiter and is located 200 light-years from Earth.

So while we have always thought that Algore/Jimmy Hansen are barking at the wrong tree, it's really that they are barking at the wrong planet. Come to think of it, NASA should send Albert and Jimmy to HD 80606b and they'll be fitting right in with those SUV-driving people there. It's all SUV, nothing but SUV, of course. What else can cause that kind of soaring temperature? Even it's only 200 l.y. away!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cruise liner like a toy boat

It is hard to believe that a monster luxurious cruise ship can be rocked significantly, but the following two pictures from Daily Mail online this morning show that it really can!


According to the article:

What was supposed to be a luxury cruise turned into a nightmare for holidaymakers when a ship was hit by 50 ft waves.

Two Britons were taken to hospital after the Balmoral suffered a force nine gale as it hit rough seas and 60mph winds in the Bay of Biscay.

The headline of the article "Pictured: Storm tosses massive cruise liner like a toy boat" is certainly an accurate description. The injured passengers suffered broken bones. It was a "force nine" gale. Large waves can be expected. So damages can be inflected even without necessarily freaque waves. It does not have to be a freaque wave that can turns a holiday into a nightmare. Again we can look at the bright side: only two passengers injured out of an estimated 1400 onboard is probably a blessing, as the outcome could be a lot worse. Thanks be to God!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy New Year of Ox

(from Flckr)

Happy New Year of Ox! (And say good bye to the year of lousy rat that left American with a lousy . . . oh, you know what I mean!) Here are two timely pictures I found from Epoch Times to put us in the mood:


New Ox Year pray: May the power of the ox be bring out the final collapse of Communists, Marxists, and Socialists here, there, everywhere in the country, abroad, and all around the world, so help us God!

And of course the traditional fishes, 'yu', to signify abundance of excess, surplus, and extra availability in all the good things in life:

Rogue Waves 2008

I attended the Rogue waves 2008 workshop at Brest, France last October, 2008. While there will be a proceedings volume published later this year, now all the presentations made at the conference including video recordings are available online and can be openly accessible.

Here's how to access as per the conference organizers' instruction:
The presentations that were delivered at the workshop are now online at
http://www.seatechweek.com/
To access those presentations, we require that you register, but note
that there is no restriction on who can register. The process is as
follows:
- Connect to the site above
- Fill-in the registration request
- Wait for the confirmation e-mail that you should receive a
few seconds later
- Confirm your registration with the details in that mail
- Access the site
The openly available of the Webcast of the presentations is certainly something new and welcome, especially for the ones who could not make it to the conference. For me personally however, this is the first time I ever see myself talking. It's not very comfortable when there were spots I wish I could do it over and some parts the synchronization between talks and slides were totally off. Anyway this is a good start, it probably will be the things to come in the evolution of presentation technology. It's been really a long way since those good old days when everyone's carrying a tray of slides to the conference.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Royal Navy encountered a freaque wave

Most of the rescue operations are probably involved Coast Guards or the like. Today Times Online reported a rare military operation that involved freaque wave and the Royal Navy:
The frigate HMS Sutherland was on hand when a landing craft of the Royal Logistics Corps got into trouble in rough weather off Portland in midweek. A freak wave had torn her landing ramp free, injuring two of the three-man crew. Water was pouring inboard and it seemed highly likely that she would founder. Sutherland, exercising off Portland at the time, sprinted to the scene and as the two casualties were lifted to safety by helicopter, dispatched a seaboat, complete with repair crew, to the scene. Led by the experienced Petty Officer “Brum” Tuite, this boarded the stricken craft, and winched the ramp back up, enabling the water to be pumped out. With the situation stabilised the landing craft was then escorted to port.
Here's a picture of the landing craft in action:

So as well organized as the Royal Navy, they are not immune to freaque waves by any means. We don't know how often this kind of things happen, probably along the similar frequencies as in the civilian world. I doubt the military would like to publicized this kind of things. But freaque waves are certainly by no means discriminatory.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Shetland ferry encounter

Here's a benign freaque wave news from Scotland in Shetland Marine News: "Freak wave knocks ferry out of action"
21 January, 2009

THE NORTHLINK ferry Hjaltland was out of action yesterday after being damaged by a freak wave during heavy seas on Monday night.

The ferry was 40 minutes out of Lerwick harbour on her way to Aberdeen in a five or six metre swell when “an abnormally large wave” struck the boat, damaging an external door into the accommodation section and breaking the window wipers on the bridge.

As a result of the incident the ship was two and a half hours late into Aberdeen yesterday morning (Tuesday). None of the 30 passengers on board were hurt.
This last sentence "None of the 30 passengers on board were hurt" is certainly something comforting to hear. and it also will keep this news a local one. And
NorthLink chief executive Bill Davidson apologised for the inconvenience caused by the incident, saying the boat had been sailing at 13 knots into a 55 knot south westerly gale “when the watchkeeper describes the ship being hit by a single very large wave”.

He said: “The vessel continued at reduced speed until clear of bad weather and arrived in Aberdeen some two and a half hours late. No-one was injured as a result of the incident. Indeed, most passengers were unaware that anything untoward had happened."
So it was "a single very large wave" or as it was first indicated "an abnormally large wave" either way, it should be considered as a freaque wave that caused minor damage. It was bad weather, I wonder if they have weighing the risk versus the possibility of cancel the trip. I would not mind. I guess they have enough experience to make the trip at reduced speed. Wouldn't it be wonderful if all freaque wave encounters can be like this one!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

God bless America!


Was it just me, or you may have noticed it also, that Abe Lincoln is twisting in his seat? Just look at him!

There're clear reasons for Abe to feel uncomfortable. As Judi Mcleod wrote today:
Somewhere out there in the fruited plains of America are 59,934,786 million souls, many of whom must be down on this day of all days: Inauguration Day for a president who will try to turn a proud 232-year-old Democracy into a Socialist State.
Counting myself among the 59,934,786, which is just happened to be less than the number the other side amassed. That enabled Mcleod to say "In the cult called Barack Obama, the Messiah has arrived. " See? Abe is twisting again!

Abe said: "You can fool some of the people all of the time, or all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time."

But Abe is wrong! Who needs all of the people all of the time? All it needs is some more people than the 59,934,786 in 2008 and the 232-year Democracy is in limbo. (The saddest thing for us is, of course, that even if he got less than 59,934,786, the country will still probably be in limbo, only may be a smaller one.)

I did hear today that he repeated "to preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of the United States" albeit barely audible with absolute no conviction. Anyway, that's good news. Now we can hold him responsible nevertheless.

God bless America!

Rescue off Gloucester coast

Many of us are familiar with the town of Gloucester, MA because that's the famous site of the Perfect Storm tragedy. This morning there's good news about the rescue of two fishermen there. From the Gloucester Daily Times:

Veteran local fisherman Roger Brisson was being hailed as a hero yesterday after the rescue of two crew members who were thrown into frigid Atlantic waters about a mile off Gloucester's coast when their clamshell boat capsized.

The crew of the Providenza, a 38-foot work boat from Gloucester, was plucked to safety by Brisson's 20-foot fishing vessel, Blue Dagger, also from Gloucester, at 9:45 a.m., about a half-mile from the Dog Bar breakwater off Eastern Point. Neither crew member was seriously hurt in the incident.

According to Brisson:
"I was headed 10 miles out when I see something kind of weird, what looked like a big life raft," Brisson, 62, said yesterday from his apartment in Danvers. "As I got closer, I saw it was a boat upside down."
But
"They couldn't call mayday, it happened so fast," said Brisson, who has been a commercial fisherman for 30 years.
The details are sketchy as
Coast Guard would investigate the incident, which took place in 2- to 4-foot seas and calm winds. The men were headed out to sea to dispose of the shucked surf clam shells in water a 100-foot deep when the boat somehow became unstable and overturned, said Intershell spokesman Monte Rome.
And

It was not immediately known what caused the boat to capsize, but Brisson said he suspects the shells most likely froze to the deck, causing an imbalance and the boat to overturn.

"I have no idea of what made the boat unstable; it's been running like clockwork for 10 years," Rome said. "It may have been the way the load was situated, and I think it was hit by a rogue wave.

"It's a happy ending; these are really lucky guys," Rome said. "There wasn't a bump, there wasn't a bruise; (Brisson) is the hero of the day."

For a happy ending we can certainly able to have a light moment as:
"I told my girlfriend, I didn't make money today, but I got a couple of lives ones," a humble Brisson said with a laugh. "I'm glad I was there for them."
Way to go, Roger!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Our world may be a giant hologram

This article in New Scientists is clearly and totally out of my league. But the author, Marcus Chown, wrote it in such a way that attracted me to start reading it and be intrigued:

DRIVING through the countryside south of Hanover, it would be easy to miss the GEO600 experiment. From the outside, it doesn't look much: in the corner of a fielddetector that stretches for 600 metres. stands an assortment of boxy temporary buildings, from which two long trenches emerge, at a right angle to each other, covered with corrugated iron. Underneath the metal sheets, however, lies a

For the past seven years, this German set-up has been looking for gravitational waves - ripples in space-time thrown off by super-dense astronomical objects such as neutron stars and black holes. GEO600 has not detected any gravitational waves so far, but it might inadvertently have made the most important discovery in physics for half a century.

For many months, the GEO600 team-members had been scratching their heads over inexplicable noise that is plaguing their giant detector. Then, out of the blue, a researcher approached them with an explanation. In fact, he had even predicted the noise before he knew they were detecting it. According to Craig Hogan, a physicist at the Fermilab particle physics lab in Batavia, Illinois, GEO600 has stumbled upon the fundamental limit of space-time - the point where space-time stops behaving like the smooth continuum Einstein described and instead dissolves into "grains", just as a newspaper photograph dissolves into dots as you zoom in. "It looks like GEO600 is being buffeted by the microscopic quantum convulsions of space-time," says Hogan.

If this doesn't blow your socks off, then Hogan, who has just been appointed director of Fermilab's Center for Particle Astrophysics, has an even bigger shock in store: "If the GEO600 result is what I suspect it is, then we are all living in a giant cosmic hologram."

What in the world is cosmic hologram? The author proceeded to explain:

The idea that we live in a hologram probably sounds absurd, but it is a natural extension of our best understanding of black holes, and something with a pretty firm theoretical footing. It has also been surprisingly helpful for physicists wrestling with theories of how the universe works at its most fundamental level.

The holograms you find on credit cards and banknotes are etched on two-dimensional plastic films. When light bounces off them, it recreates the appearance of a 3D image. In the 1990s physicists Leonard Susskind and Nobel prizewinner Gerard 't Hooft suggested that the same principle might apply to the universe as a whole. Our everyday experience might itself be a holographic projection of physical processes that take place on a distant, 2D surface.

The "holographic principle" challenges our sensibilities. It seems hard to believe that you woke up, brushed your teeth and are reading this article because of something happening on the boundary of the universe. No one knows what it would mean for us if we really do live in a hologram, yet theorists have good reasons to believe that many aspects of the holographic principle are true.

Well, it's a long article. I am not about to copy the whole thing. Suffice to jump now to the final paragraph:
Hogan agrees that if the holographic principle is confirmed, it rules out all approaches to quantum gravity that do not incorporate the holographic principle. Conversely, it would be a boost for those that do - including some derived from string theory and something called matrix theory. "Ultimately, we may have our first indication of how space-time emerges out of quantum theory." As serendipitous discoveries go, it's hard to get more ground-breaking than that.
I still have no clear notion on what holographic principle is. But I do like the sound of serendipitous discoveries. Those discoveries in reality really provided the true knowledge base for us! Reading an article like this certainly beats the goo-goo ga-ga boring stuffs about the politics to be taking place in Washington, D.C. tomorrow!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The freaque wave Christopher Columbus encountered

If any one asks what might be the earliest cases of known freaque waves occurrence? The obvious answer would be go back to the biblical times, the Book of Jonah or Psalm(107) for instance. But as recent as some 500 years ago, Christopher Columbus did encountered one, as Washington Irving described in his book "The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus"
Here's Washington Irving's account on what Columbus encountered:
. . . Being on board of his ship, late at night kept awake by painful illnessand an anxious and watchful spirit, he heard a terrible roaring from the south, and beheld the sea heaped up, as it were, into a great ridge or hill, the height of the ship, covered with foam, and rolling towards him with a tremendous uproar. As this furious surge approached, rendered more terrible in appearance by the obscurity of night, he trembled for the safety of his vessels. His own shipwas suddenly lifted up to such a height that he dreaded lest it should be overturned or cast upon the rocks, while another of the ships was torn violently from her anchorage. The crews were for a time in great consternation, fearing they should be swallowed up; but the mountainous surge passed on, and gradually subsided, after a violent contest with the counter-current of the strait . . .
That was on August 4, 1498. I don't think anyone should be surprised by that. Many writers now a days talked about freaque waves as some kind of legend in the old times. Not really! So long as there are voyages or navigations, there would be freaque waves some where, some times. Some are lucky, like Columbus, some might not be as lucky. At any rate, freaque waves are always there as part of the natural ocean wave processes. Not recognizing it is certainly not the nature's problem!

Friday, January 16, 2009

A view of things to come

In a few days Barack Hussein Obabma will be inaugurated as the 44th President of U.S.A. Most of the country's zombie media seem to be in total jubilant mood. As one who remembers the Jimmy Carter years, I am just resigned to be in the minority and ready for the guy who fooled 66 million people to do his thing for the next four years. I just read this very timely article in the new spectator.com.uk by James Delingpole who is writting a book entitled "Welcome To Obamaland: I’ve Seen Your Future And It Doesn’t Work." In this article he thinks Obama will be another Tony Blair. So Obama voters will be just like Blair voters of U.K. and will not be that jubilant in the future -- which I agree but I am not too sure about the Blair comparison part. Here are some interesting quotes:
Most voters don’t (or at least for a long time didn’t) have a clue what’s wrong with Blair. It’s the same with Obama. By the time Americans begin to discover what they’ve let themselves in for, the damage will long since have been done.
And in any case, it’s not just about Barack Obama. Like Blair, I’m sure he’s a fantastic bloke. Looks great in a suit, fabbo teeth, wonderfully charming. But what about that ragbag — an inevitability with all left-liberal administrations, especially when they control both houses of Congress — of scuzzballs, communists, class warriors, eco-loons, thugs, malcontents, and single-issue rabble-rousers that will sweep into power on his back? They’re the ones America really needs to worry about because they’re the ones who’ll be wreaking the most havoc while Obama stands in front masking their excesses with that reassuring ‘I’m not a socialist’ smile.
He is particularly worrying about the blind feeling general fluffy benevolence people have towards Obama:
It’s the naivety of this last group which I find most worrying because it’s sadly indicative of the critical response Obama can expect when he starts screwing up: i.e. no kind of critical response at all. We’ve had a glimpse of this already in the way the press has responded to his frankly terrifying announcements on the environment, in which he has endorsed every one of the extreme — and since mostly discredited — claims made by Al Gore in his eco-scare movie An Inconvenient Truth. With the honourable exception of the Sunday Telegraph (Christopher Booker’s column in particular), no newspaper would seem to have noticed that by falling for this grotesquely misinformed claptrap President Obama will be costing the hard-pressed US economy billions of dollars for schemes that will hamstring American heavy industry but alter the world’s ever-shifting temperatures barely one jot.

In four, or more likely, eight years time, America is going to wake up one morning — rather as Britain did in the dog-end of the Blair years — with the most terrible hang- over, only to find its pockets empty, its savings gone, its property trashed to virtual worthlessness, its streets rife with crime and its traditional liberties circumscribed by nannying bureaucrats and pettifogging regulation, and it’s going to ask itself: ‘Huh? How did that happen? Did someone drug me? Why didn’t I see that one coming?’

As one who did and does see it coming, I find it hard to summon too much sympathy. It’s like Dr Faustus complaining when, having been granted his every earthly fantasy, the devil turns up at the end to steal away his soul. It’s like the citizens of Hamlyn complaining when, having welshed on their deal with the Pied Piper, he lures all their kids inside the mountain. You just want to give them all a good shake and say: ‘Did you think it was going to come free, this once-in-a-lifetime wonder deal you made with the mysterious dark stranger you met at the crossroads at midnight?’ In your dreams, America. In your dreams!

It's not realy dream, it's nightmare! I must admit that most of these are pretty much what I have in mind, although I can never write it like he did. Mr. Delingpole, well done! I am looking forward to read your book.

Numbers game

I find the following list from an item posted by P. J. Gladnick in the NewsBusters too irresistible not to re-copy it here: (

31,000 Scientists Prove No 'Consensus’ on "Man-Made" Global Warming (OISM)
4000 Scientists sign 'The Heidelberg Appeal' (Science & Environmental Policy Project)
1500 Scholars, Policy Experts and Theologians sign the 'Cornwall Declaration on Environmental Stewardship' (Cornwall Allliance)
1100 Climate Realists sign 'The Manhattan Declaration on Climate Change' (ICSC)
650 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims (US Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works)
500 Scientists with Documented Doubts of Man-Made Global Warming Scares (The Heartland Institute)
400 Scientists Dispute Man-Made Global Warming Claims (US Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works)
170 Scientists, Economists and Theologians sign an open letter to the signers of 'Climate Change: An Evangelical Call to Action' (Cownwall Alliance)
105 Scientists sign 'The Leipzig Declaration on Global Climate Change' (Science & Environmental Policy Project)
100 Scientists sign an 'Open Letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations'National Post, Canada)
60 Scientists call on Harper to revisit the science of global warming (Financial Post, Canada)
47 Scientists sign the 'Statement by Atmospheric Scientists on Greenhouse Warming' (Science & Environmental Policy Project)
41 Scientists debunk global warming alert (The Daily Telegraph, UK)
35 Skeptical Scientists, 'The Deniers' (National Post, Canada)

Yesterday I read in the Daily Princetonian about their Physics professor William Happer asked last month to be added to the list of global warming dissenters in a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee report. The list, among the ones that listed above, includes more than 650 experts who challenge the belief that human activity is contributing to global warming.

Have you heard the word "consensus" be uttered lately? Did Algore ever disclose how many are there in the overwhelming(?) "consensus"? It is rather funny that "consensus" had been used to intimidate any disbelievers by Algore and company in the recent past, has now lost all its glamor. Even after the election of Barack Hussein Obama. Or may be especially because of the Obama election. Professor Happer requested to be named a skeptic in light of the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama, whose administration has, as Happer notes, “stated that carbon dioxide is a pollutant” and that humans are “poisoning the atmosphere.”

My name is not on any of the lists, but I support them all!

Freaque wave stories

If we can paraphrase Mr. Murphy's saying "if anything can go wrong, it will" as "if freaque wave can happen, it will" which may not be kosher but practical! A few news in recent days may vouchsafe for it:

This news written by Nadja Hainke from NTnews, of Australia:

A FISHERMAN was pulled to safety after he fell out of his boat - which sped away unmanned for 50km out of Darwin harbour.

The 33-year-old man fell into the water when a "freak wave" hit his 4.5m aluminium Stacer.

The tinny continued driving around the harbour region - reportedly at 30km/h - nearly colliding with other boats.

And this one from Scotland in BBC:

A fire service rescue crew was thrown from its boat after the vessel was hit by a freak wave on the River Clyde.

The incident happened during a training exercise near the Glasgow Science Centre at lunchtime on Wednesday.

Now here's a very well written article by Edward M. Gilbreth in charleston.net tells a happy-ending story that carries a very practical lesson. Caution, the following long story may not be G but probably PG-13:

I didn't know this until fairly recently, but apparently one of the things to be avoided on a deep sea fishing trip is the temptation to void abaft while under way.

Not long ago I was talking to a fellow who had gone out to the Gulf Stream with some other mates for a day of fishing. Everything went smoothly on the way out and the fishing was excellent. It's not inconceivable that beer may have been consumed intermittently throughout the day, which prompted the most natural physiologic responses. But fishermen, by their very nature, and particularly if ladies are not present, tend not to use the small, cubbyhole bathrooms that usually adorn traditional sporting craft, choosing instead the great outdoor panorama.

With that in mind, picture a vessel heading back to port midafternoon at about 30 knots or so. A gentleman quietly repairs aft to take care of a very private matter. There's nothing unusual about it. He has done this on multiple occasions throughout his life as an avid fisherman. A moderate chop adorns the surface of the water, but certainly nothing out of the ordinary, and nothing that would begin to cause significant loss of balance, particularly in a craft so large.

But, amid the serene beauty of an otherwise flawless afternoon, the boat suddenly clashes with an unexpectedly large rogue wave, and the fisherman impossibly finds himself airborne. Not just an inch or two, but several feet, as if catapulted away by trampoline.

Suspended in midair, everything briefly seemed to come to a halt. There was no sound, no movement, no anything except the shocking absence of footing and the unmistakable appearance of water directly below. This couldn't be! He wanted to scream, but nothing seemed to come out, as if he were suspended in outer space instead of the intimate environs above the Atlantic.

But the reverie ended quickly enough with a splash into the briny waters some 20 miles off the coast. A guttural howl of desperation erupted at that point, but it was no use. The boat kept going. The fisherman flailed his arms desperately and then watched as it approached the vanishing point, only to see it disappear in a poof of summer haze.

As you might notice in the above, I bold faced the part where freaque wave became the culprit that ruined the wonderful fishing trip for the guy. Her's the happy ending:

All was suddenly quiet, and the range of emotions hit him with furious onslaught in what amounted to an accentuated and sped-up version of an acute grief reaction: Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and then acceptance. There were moments of great courage and determination, prayers of rage and hope, tears and then resolution to the fact that he would soon drown at sea.

There was nothing he could do. He was very tired now, having been in the water a long time and knowing he couldn't last much longer. When it all seemed so utterly hopeless, when he started to wonder if he shouldn't just go ahead and dive, inhale the water deeply and try to get it over with, what should appear on the horizon but a craft heading practically straight at him! It was so miraculous he just couldn't believe it. Prayerful that he wasn't hallucinating, he raised his arms with what little strength he had left and was spotted — by the same boat, no less, from which he had fallen. After what must have seemed an eternity, someone aboard had finally noticed that he was missing, and the crew affected a successful rescue before notified authorities could do so themselves.

This is indeed "an amazing story and happy ending" as the author said. I doubt many of us would make the same mistake as the "luckily" fisherman in the story. But it's a lesson to remember nevertheless. And freaque wave is everywhere -- When it is going to happen, it will!


Update

Here's another rather tragic case happened in Mombasa, Kenya in 2006 as reported in thisislondon.co.uk a couple of days ago:

A MET policewoman was crushed to death after falling from her jet-ski on holiday in Kenya, an inquest heard.

Pc Sally Roberts, 28, a neighbourhood safety officer in Croydon, was riding the jet-ski with boyfriend Andrew Freeman off Mombasa in the hope of seeing dolphins when they were swept off the craft by a freak wave.

According to Mr Freeman:

"We were both in the water, and I was trying to help Sally get on to the other jet-ski [belonging to an instructor]. Then I looked up and saw the jet-ski we had just fallen off being swept towards us."

Well, it just happened that Ms Roberts was hit and suffered chest, neck and head injuries. Three British doctors gave first aid on the beach after the accident in September 2006 but she could not be resuscitated. The coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death. It all because of meeting a freaque wave while watching dolphins on a jet-ski. A little absurd, but that's what happened!

From Science News This Week

Being on the email list of the Science Magazine's "Science News This Week" there are two items from the latest issue attracted my attention. First The Transition: Can an Ecologist Push NOAA up the Food Chain? by Erik Stokstad,
When marine ecologist Jane Lubchenco takes the reins of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, her political bosses are likely to ask the agency to play a bigger role in studying and preparing for climate change.
Well, had been a NOAA employee for 3 and 1/2 decades since her beginning, I have never known that NOAA was ever be part of any Food Chain! Regarding bigger role in climate change, since NOAA is already the agency for providing climate data, I wonder what kind of bigger role could it be? Data fabricating? I know that's the specialty of Communist regimes. What do they have in mind? I better go to the library to read the details.

The other item by Richard A. Kerr and Richard Stone: Seismology: A human Trigger for the Great Quake of Sichuan?
The first researchers have gone public with evidence that stresses from water piled behind the new Zipingpu Dam may have triggered last May's devastating earthquake in China's Sichuan Province.
Now that's interesting. Researchers choose to go public with evidence which their Communist regime boss would certainly wish to cover up. There are clearly increasing and enlarging cracks in that mighty regime that can be expected to collapse anytime now. Only dummy politicians with wee-sized brain and bussiness minions alike would still think that the Commie Chinese regime can last!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Rain won't stop Sinulog!

Happiness is learning something new each day! Today I just learned about "Sinulog."

According to Wikipedia:
The Sinulog is an annual festival held on the third Sunday of January in Cebu City, Philippines. The festival honors the child Jesus, known as the Santo Niño (Holy Child), patron of the city of Cebu. It is a dance ritual that commemorates the Cebuano people's pagan origin, and their acceptance of Christianity.
The reason that I came across this thing is this news item which entitled "Rain won't stop Sinulog" in Philippine's Cebu Daily News:
The unusual spate of rains in Cebu and the rest of the Visayas may last until the weekend, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa).

Even the Philippine Coast Guard is anticipating rough seas and will require all vessels to have life jackets on board as a safety measure.

Yesterday, the waves off Cebu were five to seven meters high with winds reaching 48 kilometers per hour, according to Pagasa. Seas were “rough to very rough.” Some inter-island vessels suspended their trips.

Pagasa warned fishing boats and small seacraft not to go on sea.

The weather disturbance is forecast over the next three days.

“The heavy rains we are experiencing now are evidence that we are having a wet season that is wetter than usual. It is abnormal but not highly unusual. It happens,” Pagasa weather bureau chief Nathaniel Cruz said.

Cruz said a surge of the northeast monsoon – icy wind blowing in from the northern hemisphere experienced from October to March — was triggering rainshowers and cold temperatures.

But rain or no rain, both the religious activities of the Fiesta Señor and the Sinulog grand parade will go on this Saturday and Sunday.
I think the statement "It is abnormal but not highly unusual, It happens!" can be used as a description of freaque waves also.

Anyway, here's a picture of Sinulog by Philippine Pictures:
and this one from Wikimidea:


It does look like an exciting, happy event. Hope the rain will hold off not to ruin the festivities.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sharing waves peacefully

The above is an interesting AP picture of peaceful coexistence between a surfer and a killer whale sharing the nice waves in New Zealand's North Island as published in the U.K. MailOnline today:

As he enjoyed catching a few waves, experienced surfer Craig Hunter had no fear of becoming the hunted as he shared the waters with a killer whale.

Rather than turning back to shore after paddling out past the breakers to be confronted by a giant dorsal fin, he decided the surf was just far too good too miss.

For the next 45 minutes he bravely shared the waves with the giant Orca and, without realising it, two young calves.

The Orca, a regular visitors to the Taranaki coast in New Zealand, paid little attention to the surfers at Stent Rd surf break near Cape Egmont on Saturday.

Hunter, who has been surfing off New Zealand's North Island for almost 50 years, said: 'There was no way I was not going in because the waves were too good.'

'It's pretty awesome. It's a pretty special sort of feeling.

'I was out there on my own for quite a while and the big fella was just cruising. It was really neat.'

Hunter, known to his surfing friends as Billy, said it was not the first time he had surfed with an Orca and added that he was too old to be bothered by the possibility of being attacked.

'My outlook is they are big enough and quick enough. If they thought I was a seal, I'd be long gone.'

I am of the opinion that Mr. Hunter was never in danger. I have seen the 1966 movie "Namu: My Best Friend." I think it may be misleading by calling them the "killer" whale. The killer part only activates when they are being provoked. Everyone entitles to self-defense, of course. If you don't, well, what do you expect? This Fox News story yesterday reminds us what had happened on October 12, 2000 when the terrorists attacked USS Cole off the coast of Yeman killing 17 U.S. sailors. According to the former U.S. Navy Commander Kirk Lippold of USS Cole, that was really the beginning of War on Terror. Namu would certainly fight back at any rate. But sadly the U.S. President and his government at the time chose to do absolutely nothing, emboldened the terrorist, then led to the 9/11 a year later that lost nearly 3000 Americans and friends. History can not be spinned or ignored. Can't we ever even learn something from Namu, the killer whale?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Justice is served for piracy.

I would think this following news will be international headline news by now, but somehow it did not merit the attention of elite people. Any way according to Yahoo News written by AP writer Mohamed Olad Hassan:

MOGADISHU, Somalia – Five of the pirates who hijacked a Saudi supertanker drowned with their share of a $3 million ransom, a relative said Saturday, the day after the bundle of cash was apparently dropped by parachute onto the deck of the ship.

The Sirius Star and its 25 crew sailed safely away Friday at the end of a two-month standoff in the Gulf of Aden, where pirates attacked over 100 ships last year. Hundreds more kidnapped sailors remain in the hands of pirates.

I seem to remember that it was famous news when the standoff began two months ago. Now this surprise ending certainly does not commensurate with its flashy beginning. But this next sentence:
The drowned pirates' boat overturned in rough seas, . . .
may affords us a sense of poetic justice -- or may be it's politically incorrect to think of that. Anyway "in rough seas" what an ending! At least no one blame freaque waves yet.

As the article went on to report that:

Piracy is one of the few ways to make money in Somalia. Half the population is dependent on aid and a whole generation has grown up knowing nothing but war. A recent report by London's Chatham House think-tank said pirates raked in more than $30 million in ransoms last year.

Somalia's lawless coastline borders one of the world's busiest shipping lanes, which links the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean. Attacks have continued despite the patrols by warships from France, Germany, Britain, America, India and China.

Now the curious thing is why United Nations is not mentioned here?

Wait just a minutes, here's the heart of the problem:

Abukar Haji, uncle of one of the dead pirates, blamed the naval surveillance for the accident that killed his pirate nephew Saturday.

"The boat the pirates were traveling in capsized because it was running at high speed because the pirates were afraid of an attack from the warships patrolling around," he said.

A-huh, it's all naval surveillance' fault, of course! That is where U.N. should stepping in, right?

Monday, January 12, 2009

A ferry disaster

This is a terrible news to hear and read. The BBC's headline reads: "Indonesian ferry sinks in storm." The AFP reports "Almost 250 feared dead in Indonesia ferry disaster" as

POLEWALI, Indonesia (AFP) — Around 250 people missing after a ferry capsized in heavy seas off Indonesia's Sulawesi island are feared dead, officials said Monday as bad weather hampered the search for survivors.

As rescuers scoured the sea, survivors told how they escaped when disaster struck as they slept -- some by clinging to bunches of bananas.

Transport Minister Jusman Syafii Djamal said there was little hope any of the missing passengers and crew would be found alive more than 24 hours after the 700-tonne ferry sank off western Sulawesi.

"It seems that due to the weather conditions the chance is little but we still hope," he added.

He said 22 survivors had been rescued so far, including the captain and 17 passengers, but there was no sign of almost 250 other passengers and crew who were on board when the Teratai Prima listed and sank early Sunday.

Freaque wave has not been suggested, but storm waves must be part of the cause:

Survivors said the ferry suddenly lurched to one side and flipped over as it was bashed by waves up to four metres (13 feet) high.

The ferry, operated by private company PT Nur Budi and built in 1999, was about 50 kilometres (30 miles) off Majene, western Sulawesi, when authorities lost contact with it around 2:00 am on Sunday morning (1800 GMT Saturday).

It was sailing from Pare-Pare in South Sulawesi bound for Samarinda in East Kalimantan, on Borneo island.

A lucky survivor had been rescued:

Survivor Yulianus Mangande, 29, said he was woken by the sound of the boat listing and had little time to react before it overturned around 3:30 am.

"I felt that the ferry was listing to the left, then suddenly it turned upside down. I had to swim in the dark in heavy seas until the morning," he said.

He said he was found by fishermen at around 11:00 am.

Another one, Muhammad Yusuf, 38, told his story:

"I jumped into the sea before the ship turned upside down. I saw a number of people were panicking and screaming for help as the ferry was listing and lost its balance."

This is scary, the ferry is less than 10 years old and it went up-side-down. I recently stated in an interview that disaster like the movie "Poseidon" was only fiction, it is unlikely to see a large boat go upside-down. Well it happened to a ferry boat. Hopefully investigations will disclose the cause and what was really happened in this disaster.

In the mean time let's pray for the ones that has not yet been rescued.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Affections for a lost local surf hero

This article from theahr.com.au this morning by Ben Doherty showing the following picture by Peter Edwards with this caption:
Along the beach where Tim Gates (inset) surfed and died, the crowd honoured his memory on Saturday with his family.
According to the article
Tim Gates was teaching nippers last January when he was dumped by a freak wave, hitting his head on the board. He was dragged from the surf, but never regained consciousness.
Now "dumped by a freak wave" is not a very clear description on what was really happened. Perhaps it was something of a larger than expected wave -- that just shows waves, even in very shallow area, can cause severe harms and resulted in tragedy in this case.

I can not help thinking this case was all because he was "hitting his head on the board" would a helmet might possibly saved his life by any chance? Do surfers wear helmets?

I don't like mandatory regulations, never have. But if some advisory suggestions might be able to save some lives -- why not ?!

Petitions of St. Augustine

Lord Jesus, let me know myself; let me know You,
And desire nothing else but You.
Let me hate myself and love You,
And do all things for Your sake.
Let me humble myself and exult You,
And think nothing else but You.
Let me die to myself and live in You,
And take whatever happens as coming from You.
Let me forsake myself and walk after You,
And ever desire to follow You.
Let me flee from myself and turn to You,
That so I may merit to be defended by You.
Let me fear for myself, let me fear You,
And be among those that are chosen by You.
Let me distrust myself and trust in You,
And ever obey for the love of You.
Let me cleave to nothing but You,
And ever be poor because of You.
Look upon me that I may love You,
Call me, that I may see You,
And forever possess You, for all eternity.
Amen
(from 1959 Saint Joseph Daily Missal)

Monday, January 05, 2009

The peril of ocean beach, again!

Denpasar is the capital city of the province of Bali, Indonesia which has one of the attractive white sandy beaches that are famous all over the world. Well, this depressing news happened yesterday as reported in Jakarta Globe today reminds us that perils are always inapprehensibly hidden somewhere out there -- even as a simple act as retrieving a playing ball:
High waves off the coast of Bali left two Balinese dead and another missing on Sunday, after the three friends tried to retrieve an errant football.

Bali Marine Police found the bodies of 22-year-old Nyoman Jendra and 19-year-old Nengah Darmada after the two, along with 21-year-old Wayan Suardana, were dragged out to sea by waves off Macesti Beach in Gianyar, Bali Province.

Jendra, Darmada and Suardana were playing a football game with their friends when the ball made its way into the sea.

One of the players, Wayan Arik, said Jendra tried to retrieve the ball, but drifted away.

The three, along with 11 others from Bangli district, had just finished an annual Hindu ritual called Banyupinaruh, in which participants cleanse themselves in the sea to honor Saraswati, a deity of knowledge, music and arts.

“The rest of us decided to look for him, but the currents were very strong,” Arik said. “Only I could make it back to the shore.”

Chief of the Bali Marine Police, Putu Suara Dinata, said officers searched for the three victims but were hampered by giant waves.

High waves in Bali have caused four accidents over the last week, claiming a total of seven lives in the districts of Denpasar and Tabanan.

It's not even freaque waves, just high waves, caused the unnecessary life lost. The title of the article used the words " Deadly waves in Bali." Do we really need to connect the word "deadly" with waves? In this unfortunate case, however, that's just appropriate in context. Can we learn any lesson from this? Yea, never, ever, let you guard down at any rate!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

A great moment in History




Update:

A later visit found the video was removed for some reason. Does the political bias of Google/Youtube has something to do with it? Thankfully at least they allowed the Reagan picture to remain and his famous words: "Government is the problem!"

From today's Reading

Epiphany

Then you shall be radiant at what you see,
your heart shall throb and overflow,
for the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you,
the wealth of nations shall be brought to you.
Is 60:5

From EWTN

Saturday, January 03, 2009

An inconvenient truth: The Earth is cooling

I came across this interesting, over a week old article. I think it should be on any one's good 2009 must-read reading list. This article, from baltimoreexaminer's opinion section, is entitled "An inconvenient truth: The Earth is cooling." (Emphasize mine.) For some reason the author of this excellent article does not see fit to reveal his or her real name, just "The Examiner Newspapers." Nevertheless it's not a long article and I think it deserves to be copied in its entirety here:
The "scientific consensus" that Al Gore and his fellow global warming alarmists rely upon to force radical changes in how Americans live and work is being unraveled by Mother Nature. In addition to the recent freak snowstorms in Malibu, Calif., New Orleans and Las Vegas, Arctic ice is expanding this year -- not shrinking -- and there were 115 record-low temperatures reported in the United States in October, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Despite rising carbon dioxide levels, the Earth has actually been cooling -- not warming -- since 1998, when the warming trend peaked in conjunction with heightened sunspot activity.

It appears that 2008, the National Climatic Data Center now says, will go down as the coldest year in a decade.

"For how many years must the planet cool before we begin to understand that the planet is not warming?" asked David Gee, chairman of the 2008 International Geological Congress' science committee.

That's an excellent question for President-elect Barack Obama, who promised mandatory caps on carbon emissions and a new international global warming treaty. After meeting with Gore recently, Obama proclaimed: "The time for delay is over; the time for denial is over. We all believe what the scientists have been telling us for years."

Which scientists? Does Obama believe more than 650 current and former members of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change who are now publicly questioning the non-scientist Gore's major premise? Or Norwegian Nobel physicist Ivar Giaever, who declared himself a global warming skeptic, as did Joanne Simpson, the first woman in the world to receive a Ph.D. in meteorology? Or the scientists who point out that "100 percent" of the 20th century global warming signal comes from man-made "adjustments" made to a computer model at NASA's Goddard Institute?

There is no scientific consensus that human activity is causing global warming. The IPCC's own climate change models predicted rising temperatures for this year, but those actually recorded fall short of the predictions.

Yet Gore and his fellow global warming zealots apparently think the rest of us are sufficiently gullible to believe that the current cooling trend "actually illustrates how fast the world is warming," as an AP reporter put it recently.

In the absence of credible scientific evidence of global warming as a man-made problem, Obama's plans to impose draconian climate control measures like those found in the failed Lieberman-Warner cap-and-trade proposal are not only unnecessary, they're likely to leave millions of Americans out in the cold.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Freaque wave non believers.

Freaque waves are not anything special in the ocean. They are all part of the ocean processes and they are out there all the time, even at this very moment. But not everyone recognize or accept that. Its all a state of mind, like something in the eyes of the beholder.

For instance, the late NYU professor, Willard J. Pierson, an icon of ocean waves in the 20th century, he is clearly a non-believer. At a gathering during an international meeting in 2002, Pierson loudly declared that "there is no such thing as freaque waves!" He is a total believer of statistics and Gaussian random process for the ocean surface. I often wondered whether or not if he has ever been out there in the real sea.

Today an article in the Australia Gympie Times by Arthur Gorrie reports another non believer, who is a sea-going fisherman from Tin Can bay. The article entitled "Hell trip from East Timor" told the frightening story Kevin Lee, the fisherman, experienced on his return trip after a season of prawning in Indonesia. Here as he told it:

“The sea was flat all the way to East Timor but right from there to Australia we just got smashed.

“It was a hell trip,” he said.

“Hell” was made even worse for Kevin, who had to spend a lot of his time in the cramped and smelly confines of the engine room.

“I'm the skipper/engineer and I had work to do on the engine, even if I was throwing up,” he explained.

Not to mention getting tossed around by the ocean.

“I don't get seasick, not for years, but it was not pleasant,” he said.

Kevin was taking a break in the wheelhouse, extracting what sustenance he could from a hot cup of tea and enjoying being above decks (bad weather or not), when near-disaster came calling.

“I was thinking, gee that's a big wave. We're riding up it and I'm willing the boat to keep moving up. It's midnight, so we couldn't see much.

“Then I saw this second wave breaking on the back of it. Three seconds later it came through and - boom!

“Don't call it a 'freak wave'. I'm not a believer in freak waves. If you're in a bad sea, there's a bad wave coming, just be ready for it.

That's it! No one would argue with an experienced sea-going sailor. He knows what he's talking about. Indeed his words "If you're in a bad sea, there's a bad wave coming, just be ready for it." should be straight forward for any one. He did not nullify freaque waves by any means. It's not that he does not believe in freaque waves. He just does not like to use the term. He choose to call it a "bad wave" instead! Fair enough. It is really all part of the inseparable ocean wave processes. Only scientists' insistence on defining the ocean surface their preferred way that made the part of "bad wave" freaque. Several generations of scientists brought up on the expediency of simplified assumptions on ocean waves. May be it's time to look at the real pictures now!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

IBD 2009 Prophecy

IBD Editorials made 8 predictions at the beginning of 2008, 6 of them turned out to be on target. That's a stunning 75% accuracy! Now here are their 9 prophecies for 2009:
1. A Less Safe Homeland?
2. Stimulus Pushes Deficit To $1 Tril
3. China Falls Into Recession
4. Recovery In The U.S.?
5. Energy Fever, Climate Change Cool Off
6. Big Labor Fights For Relevance
7. Obama Seeks Health Care Reform
8. India Gets Assertive
9. Israel Gets Rid Of Iran's Nuclear Threat
I must say that these are more optimistic than I generally surmised. Other than 1, 2, and 7 which are dreadful but expected mainly because 67 million Americans made themselves the majority of the country on November 4, 2008. I hope IBD can be wrong. The rest, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 9 are all good news for the U.S. in the long run in my mind. I hope they are all correctly on target again!

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!

May God have pity on us and bless us;
may he let his face shine upon us.
So may your way be known upon earth;
among all nations, your salvation.

May the nations be glad and exult
because you rule the peoples in equity;
the nations on the earth you guide.

May the peoples praise you, O God;
may all the peoples praise you!
May God bless us,
and may all the ends of the earth fear him!

Ps 67:2-3,5,6
,8