25 November, 2014

Coachella Valley: The Next Black Sea?

I was once skeptical of the possibility of a major hurricane directly impacting Southern California. After all, the waters off the coast are indeed simply too cold to sustain hurricanes... and the only ones that manage to veer north usually move too slowly over those cold waters and fizzle... with a few rare exceptions, of course, and by the time those rare exceptions manage to reach SoCal, they're only tropical storms to category 1 hurricanes at best. Likewise, if they manage to take the trek up the Gulf of California/Sea of Cortez, which is indeed some of the warmest water in the entire Eastern Pacific basin, with summertime SSTs reaching as high as 90°F on a regular basis, they'd still make landfall in northern Mexico, and have to cross a lot of land to reach SoCal. Or so I thought.

The first clue that I managed to dig up suggesting that the Gulf could pose a hurricane threat, at least to the Inland Empire, came from looking up the elevation of the surface of the Salton Sea. The reading? 237 feet below sea level. That alone raises a bright red flag: Even New Orleans was only about 10 feet below sea level when Katrina hit. What's more, the entire Coachella Valley, more or less, is a bowl, and it's the site of an ancient lake bed that once filled the entire region... the ancient lake, if I'm not mistaken, stretched from what is now Mexicali all the way to what is now Palm Springs. That's one massive lake... and the fact that its floor is now the site of a major population center should be enough to freak out anyone.

Then, I managed to Google " 'sea level rise' 'Coachella Valley' " (inside quotes included, as double quotes). I noticed a KCET article that was rather disturbing, depicting what would happen if climate change raised the level of the Gulf by only a few feet. Then, I switched over to the images tab. That's when I noticed something very disturbing, in regards to the Coachella Valley's only lifeline:


As you can see, the only high ground between the Salton Sea and the Gulf of California is, at most, only about 7 or 8 feet above sea level. What's more, the 20-foot line ― the height of a typical major hurricane storm surge, especially in a warm, shallow environment like the Gulf of California ― is almost the entire width of the Gulf itself. A storm surge of that size eroding a path into a depression like the Salton Sink? Yeah, it's almost impossible to fathom such a catastrophe. You're looking at a region from Mexicali all the way to Palm Springs being completely submerged.

What's more, as previously mentioned, SSTs in the upper-80's to near 90 degrees are well within rapid deepening territory. When Odile managed to traverse the northern Gulf as a tropical storm back in September 2014, guess what happened? The storm grew from a weak to a strong one, with, at their peak, about 60mph winds, before making a second landfall on the northeastern shore of the Gulf. Thankfully, however, Odile had weakened to a tropical storm from, at the first landfall, a Category 4 hurricane, prior to even entering the Gulf... and what's more, this storm could have been much worse.

Remember, what was steering Odile away was an area of high pressure, whose western edge (and clockwise rotation) was moving slightly eastward. Had that high pressure system moved slightly to the east so that Odile made its first clipper landfall in Puerto Vallarta before moving up the Gulf, I guarantee you Hurricane Odile would have been a 5 by the time it reached the northern Gulf... and if that high ended up making the monsoonal thermal low over the Mojave Desert strong enough, well, that would have resulted in the storm hooking to the west instead of the east. That makes Odile our closest call so far to this.

In fact, those warm Gulf of Mexico waters in the notorious Loop Current that intensified Katrina were also around the same temperature: near 90°F. The difference, however, is that those extreme SSTs, while incredibly anomalous in the Gulf of Mexico, are commonplace in the Gulf of California. So then why haven't there been rapidly intensifying hurricanes in the Gulf of California before? There's a simple explanation for that: it's got a lot more land in the way. Most of the storms that have managed to go up the Gulf have first run into either the Baja Peninsula (mountainous terrain) or mainland Mexico (more mountainous terrain). You need the steering patterns to be near-perfect for this to happen: a strong, blocking high over the western Gulf of Mexico to the east, and, most importantly, a clockwise flow around the high that pushes moisture directly over the Mojave Desert, where the thermal low then grabs it, intensifies due to convection, and rotates, locking that blocking high in place. Then, you need a hurricane that takes a near-perfect path, so that it could get caught up in that, clipping the headland near Puerto Vallarta, entering the Gulf of California, rapidly intensifying, and making its second landfall just to the west of the Colorado River Delta. Yeah, it's not a question of if, it's a question of when... and when it does happen, the results would be disastrous indeed.

Not only would such a storm be disastrous for the Coachella Valley, but, if it is caught by that thermal low and takes that left turn as an intense hurricane, it could also remain a category 3 or higher monster even as it exits the region, provided it misses the San Jacinto and/or San Bernardino mountains, and enters the Los Angeles Basin. The resulting wind (and even tornado) damage, not to mention torrential rainfall, could pose even more problems. Remember, if that basin fills, that water is going to come in contact with not only the hot Salton Sea but also the hot ground. That will in turn add more heat to the incoming storm surge water, moving over a region that is, mind you, 237 feet below sea level, and that heat could then continue to sustain the hurricane as it passes through that inland sea that it creates. So, it would end up continuing to rapidly intensify as it makes that westward hook. Yeah, you can see where this is going: a recipe for disaster indeed.

29 October, 2014

10th of Av, 26th of December: Divine Retribution As Hard Evidence Against Atheism

One of the key questions atheists use, and I've clearly noticed this myself, is something kind of ridiculous: they use the category error of asking for geological and/or historical evidence of a God whose kingdom is clearly "not of this world". They go and claim that in order to believe, God must be a physical, tangible being and not the invisible Holy Spirit that He really is. What they don't realize, however, is what happens in areas where persecution occurs: catastrophes line up so closely with Jewish and Christian holidays that mere coincidence becomes all the more improbable compared to just believing.

Av 9, A.D. 70. Roman authorities get word of a massive revolt involving thousands of Israelites, some Jewish, some newly Christian, wanting to get even with the empire that longs so much to want to rule them. In response, they send a massive new army to crush the rebellion, and the army marches on the very temple that they worship in. Under the command of General Titus, who would become another Roman emperor a few years later, this army burns the Temple, crucifies rebelling men by the hundreds of thousands, and kidnaps over 30,000 Israelite women and children for use as slaves, forced to either work themselves to death or, worse, offer sexual services and serve as baby factories for the Roman elite. Since Pompeii and Herculaneum were both resort towns that the emperor and his wealthy servants loved to hang out in, as wicked as they were, most of this slavery and forced servitude also happened in the Pompeii region. Throughout that very region, of course, there have also been countless graffiti findings that warn their Roman captors of utter destruction ("poinium", "cherem") to come, including graffiti that manages to analogize Pompeii and Herculaneum with Sodom and Gomorrah. That destruction wouldn't be too long in coming.

Av 10, A.D. 79. It seems like just another day in the elite Roman playground that is the Pompeii region, and the slavery and sexual exploitation of Jews and Christians is as prevalent as ever. Then, suddenly, the ground begins to rumble. The mountain above them ― Vesuvius ― begins to blow off some steam... but by this time, it's too late. The volcano blows its top. A huge eruption column blows ash 20 miles into the sky. Day suddenly turns to night. Ash begins to rain down on this elite Roman playground for hours, and the Roman elite start to wonder what the heck is going on... ah, but the Christian and Jewish captives knew all along that this was payback for what the Romans did to them in Jerusalem nine years earlier. Then, it happens. The volcano becomes exhausted of all its magma reserves, and the eruption column becomes too heavy. It then collapses as a series of massive pyroclastic flows. Herculaneum, upwind of the column, is the first to go. Pompeii follows. Over 16,000 of the Roman elite are killed, while the slaves, shielded from the ash by thick underground bunkers, manage to make it out alive the way the prisoners in Saint-Pierre did when Mount Pelee erupted. After completely burying Pompeii in ash, the pyroclastic flow proceeds to blast its way into the Bay of Naples, where it displaces water. The resulting tsunami devastates the port city of Stabiae, which is probably the most important port city in the entire Roman Empire, since it's the closest port city to Rome. Without it, Rome's residents are helplessly marooned off from the rest of the empire. A year later, in A.D. 80, and certainly not within enough time for Stabiae to be rebuilt, an urban conflagration breaks out in Rome. With no port of Stabiae to get supplies and people in and out of the city, the city burns to the ground, taking tends of thousands more Romans with it. The destruction of Stabiae also bears a stark resemblance to another, more modern act of divine retribution.

It begins in a country where Islam is the official religion and Christianity is brutally repressed under dictator Suharto's regime for over 20 years, and continues long afterward as the radicalized Muslims that Suharto forms an alliance with suddenly roam free. That country is Indonesia. It's a nation where an uncle of mine is in fact a missionary, managing to overcome countless acts of violence to save people. In Indonesia, most Christians happen to live in the islands surrounding Western New Guinea and Timor, which is basically cut in half between Indonesia and the young independent Christian nation of Timor-Leste. Most of the radical, Christian-killing Muslims, in groups such as Jemmah Islamiyah and the notoriously ISIS-like, caliphate-wannabe Free Aceh Movement, are concentrated in the main islands of Java and Sumatra. It's here that radical Muslim groups go on a rampage against Christians. They ransack churches. They attack Christians in the most horrific means imaginable, mostly through either beheading or burning alive. People celebrating Christian holidays, like Christmas, are especially easy targets for their brutal oppression. Then came the day that the Judeo-Christian God would once again have His payback: December 26, 2004.

It was on this day that a killer subduction zone, the Sunda Megathrust, began to slip, epicentered approximately 50 miles off the Acehnese coast. The fault then continues to rupture north and south along a good chunk of its length, finally stopping as a 600-mile-long rupture. Seismic waves radiate out from this rupture in all directions, lasting as long as 6 minutes in duration. The moment magnitude of the quake is registered by seismologists as 9.1. During this hellishly long shaking, numerous unreinforced masonry structures ― including most mosques, which are notoriously URM ― are extensively damaged or destroyed, and falling objects cause numerous injuries, becoming strewn all over the place. Minutes later, the Indian Ocean suddenly retreats from the coast of extreme northwestern Indonesia, where the most Islamic extremism is concentrated.

Then, an ominous white crest appears on the horizon. It's a tsunami. The ground that Banda Aceh is on is almost perfectly flat, and there's no high ground for several miles. The tsunami uses these fallen unreinforced masonry objects as weapons, smashing countless buildings already damaged by the quake and using the resulting debris to then smash more buildings, ultimately flattening the entire city. Buildings that survived the quake soon become moved, displaced, flattened ruins. Most importantly, however, these people had absolutely no clue what a tsunami was or how to survive it. The result? Of the 220,000+ casualties in this dreaded 2004 disaster, over 150,000 were in the region where the Jemmah Islamiyah and GAM insurgencies were most active, in the proposed capital city of the separatist caliphate, Banda Aceh, and of those 150,000, a good 30,000 or so were indeed members of those radical Muslim groups who always loved persecuting the Christians that they thought were a nuisance. Most Christians, however, were in eastern Indonesia, shielded from the tsunami by the main islands of Sumatra and Java, and were almost all completely unscathed.

There's clearly an interesting pattern here. Geology can only involve guesswork as to when events like these might occur, even today. Even with all the modern technology we have at our disposal, no one in their right mind would ever come close to saying that "this quake will happen on precisely this day" or "this volcano will certainly erupt on such and such a day". There's just no way. For the timing of these events to suddenly tweak itself so perfectly as to, in both cases, occur exactly one day after a Jewish or Christian holiday in both cases, that certainly can't happen blindly. Some outside force, like, oh, I don't know, the Holy Spirit, must be at work, manipulating the timing, either delaying an eruption so it builds up a boatload of pressure and goes off as a much bigger eruption on precisely the date it's predestined to, or delaying an earthquake so that it becomes much bigger and also goes off at a predestined date. If these events could happen on a whim, that's exactly what they would do: occur on a whim, which would mean frequently and subtly. The fact that these events are happening in such perfect alignment with brutally suppressed Judeo-Christian holidays certainly can't be mere coincidence.

19 October, 2014

"Is The Nexus 7 a Phone or a Tablet? I'm confused," says the customer...

October 19, 2014. I must admit, this post is a few days late... but this past Wednesday, Google unveiled not just the two rumored Nexus devices (the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9), but three — if you count the Nexus Player, that is. Since I've got a Chromecast and a cable box, along with only two HDMI ports, well, they're all in use... but the fact that the Nexus Player is Google Cast Ready AND supports Android TV apps as well should be a good selling point. Anyhow, in 2012, we had the Nexus 4, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10. In 2013, the Nexus 5 replaced the Nexus 4... ah, but the Nexus 7 was simply replaced with another Nexus 7, and the Nexus 5 came on board, replacing the Nexus 4. Now, in 2014, the Nexus line-up got a total makeover, with the Nexus 6 replacing the Nexus 5 and the Nexus 9 replacing both the Nexus 7 and the Nexus 10, respectively.

For 2015, however, this poses a bit of a dilemma. If Google decides to simply replace the Nexus 6 with another Nexus 6 the way they did with the Nexus 7, then there won't be any problems... but if they decide to actually increment the number once again, they would end up reusing the Nexus 7 name... for a phone!

This presents a myriad of problems. For starters, just like the title states, it would confuse customers a whole lot... and confused customers hurt business. Beyond that, however, there's also the size factor: sure, a tablet with a 7-inch screen is fine, but a phone with a 7-inch screen?!?! Talk about something that just can't be handled. You couldn't put a phone that big in your front pockets at all (only your back ones), and what's more, you can't pick up a phone that big to make phone calls without using two hands either, which means, nope, if you're in a dire emergency and need to make a phone call quickly with one hand, good luck.

Even something like a Nexus 6.5 would be problematic. Why? Because the names in the line are often rounded down or up to the nearest whole number... which in that case is also 7. That leaves Google with only two options: Either go Apple-style and treat the generations of Nexus 6 like the generations of iPod Touch, releasing three, four, even 5 generations of phones with the same name (which is a good one IMHO) or simply replace the Nexus line altogether with a turnkey solution for OEMs and carriers in the US the way they already did with Android One in India — or, in other words, Project Silver redux, which would seriously increase the adoption rates of new Android releases on a prompt basis, which is the holy grail of fragmentation reduction.

Let's hope this worst case scenario doesn't happen, shall we? Of the two above options, however, I personally would love to see Project Silver manifest itself much more so than I would multiple generations of Nexus 6. Why? Because of the crushing impact it would have on Android fragmentation: by forcing all the phones on the market to stay on the latest version of Android and get updated on a prompt basis, version fragmentation would be, for the most part, a thing of the past. Then again, I need more opinions here. Would you rather want multiple versions of Nexus 6, or would you be fine with every Android phone on the market being updated on a prompt Nexus-like basis?

17 October, 2014

The Seven Deadly Sins and Their Real-Life Consequences, Part 2: Greed

In the first post in this series, the consequences of lust were discussed... naturally. Now, however, it's time to move on... to another sin of excess. A sin that is often committed by people whom we Christians (unfortunately) share a political party with. It's an obsession with material wealth, a sin where instead of controlling our possessions, we let our possessions control us. That sin is greed. Why is greed a sin, you may ask? Well, while some of greed's real-life consequences simply involve making the "least of these" angry (and marginalizing the greedy from the world), others, like the first one I'm about to go over, are capable of literally ushering in an end to the world in ways that the nuclear alarmists of the 1960's never saw coming.

Climate Change


It's definitely human nature for some Christians to bring climate change down to the level of evolution or claim that they're studying it because they don't have anything else to study in an attempt to demonize the atheistic science community... but in all actuality, the amount of CO2 in Earth's atmosphere has increased to a 20-million-year high as a result of human activity. Which, of course, begs the question: What human activity? The fossil fuel industry is definitely one where greed is rampant and widespread, to say the least. By collaborating with the auto and power-generation industries to create dependence on itself, the oil industry is easily one of the wealthiest ― and greediest ― industries in the world, and up until very recently Exxon was #1 in the world in terms of market cap. Until, of course, Apple and Google managed to reach the top... but still, oil greed ― and oil dependence ― continues to persist. What do those oil companies use that vaguely robber-baron-like fortune to do? More often than not, it's to pay politicians to deny climate change, which is to say "I'm going to bribe someone in science/academia to deny the consequences of my sin so I can keep on sinning," and also to send politicians into office that give them tax breaks while going to great lengths to squash competition. Thanks to the fact that CO2 emissions have also gone on to trigger methane release, well, it may already be too late to avoid this particular consequence of greed, but if not, then it's time to let the world know that it's our own sin that's responsible. As for competition-squashing, well, that brings us to our next point.

The "least of these" wanting to rebel


While, I admit, envy is just as much of a sin as greed (will definitely be going over it at a later time), greed in one group of people often triggers envy in another. Remember what the initial cause of the American Revolution was? "Taxation without representation?" Yup, it's the British king's own greed that pissed us off. Think that's always good? Not so fast: The same thing happened in Russia. Tsar Nicholas was notorious for his endless pursuit of material possessions. So too were nearly all the tsars prior to him. The US and Russia were the last two countries in the world to end slavery. In the case of the US, it was the African-Americans who were the slaves. In the case of Russia, it was the common Russians who were the serfs — or, in other words, slaves ― for nearly three centuries. The common people suffered, while the tsars lived in outright luxury... until, of course, the Bolsheviks came along. Little did they realize, communism would be just as bad as tsardom/serfdom... and thanks to the rise of dictator after dictator after dictator that came with the communist regime, it wasn't until the 1990's that Russians began to enjoy the freedoms that us Americans have been enjoying since the 1700's. Think that can't happen in a democracy? Think again. When China's Qing emperors were ousted around the turn of the 20th century, a 50-year democracy ensued. At that time, those who ran for office began to, during the Roaring 20's and what not, amass huge amounts of wealth. The result was something not too dissimilar to the situation we Americans had during the 19th century: a situation where a select few held a large swath of China's wealth. People like Mao Zedong and the gang were obviously fed up with this, and revolted. The democracy was then banished to Taiwan, and now Taiwan is democratic while mainland China is just as communist and freedom-lacking as ever. Speaking of the massive economic inequality gap, that brings us to our third and last point.

Isolation


Let's be honest: Would you rather hang out with only 1% of the population or with 99% of it? Hmmm? I don't know about you, but I'd definitely choose my time with other people ― and with fellow Christians ― over my time with material possessions hands-down. Unfortunately, greed is a sin that tends to cut off its victims from the rest of the world. Unless the greedy start using some of that money to help their friends and family out, they're going to find themselves in a pickle. That is, a pickle where everyone they used to love suddenly hates them for enjoying all the wealth in the world while letting their own friends and family suffer. Thankfully, most of us who aren't compulsive hoarders (or disposophobes) aren't that dumb... but for those who are, this consequence is clearly one that's bound to affect them.

Then again, as early Christian monk Evagrius Ponticus has clearly stated, it's disposophobia that often results in greed. Greed is a sin of fear. It's a sin that's born out of uncertainty, of not knowing what the future holds. Because the greedy are often disposophobic (or, technically, phtocheiophobic ― irrationally fearful of poverty) when it comes to the future, their response is to want all the money and possessions in the world. Little do they realize, when it comes to only wanting more and more, the risks clearly outweigh the benefits.

16 October, 2014

The Seven Deadly Sins And Their Real-Life Consequences, Part 1: Lust

When people think of issues like sin, what comes to mind? More often than not, they use it (and particularly the medieval mistakes made in response) as an excuse to criticize the church. They go and vehemently attack the church for oppressing people, for burning people at the stake for heresy, and what else they may throw as a form of ad hominem fallacy that's directed not at current behaviors but at ancient history that they're unwilling to put behind them. What they don't realize, however, is that these sins have self-imposed consequences that can sometimes result in far more pain over far more prolonged periods than even getting beheaded or burned at the stake can cause. One of those sins couldn't be more debatable. It's one that has marginalized people from the church, often to the point where it becomes a clear focal point in the conservative-vs-liberal debate. That sin is lust, and its self-imposed consequences do indeed range from painful to deadly. Let's start with the obvious:

Sexually-transmitted infection


It's no debate. It's a scientific fact: Sex spreads disease. It spreads chlamydia. It spreads Hep-C. It spreads HIV/AIDS. This is especially true if it goes unchecked. When people have sex, they exchange bodily fluids like saliva, breast milk, semen, feces (!), uterine fluid, and what not... and of course, those fluids all contain bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungi, yes, and toxins to top it all off. Of those bodily fluids, the one that contains the most pathogens, by far, is obviously feces (which have something like 50 times the concentration and diversity of pathogens compared to that found in urine, semen, and vaginal discharge combined) ― that's why homosexual males tend to be 20 times more likely to contract, not to mention fall to, STDs than anyone else ― but that's another topic for another post. Anyhow, when you have sex out of wedlock, you're going to get sick, and, if that sickness is left untreated, you're likely to die. Then, of course, any offspring you may have may also get that disease... and if the disease you give them is something other than AIDS (which they build up natural immunity to in the womb), they're lucky if they live to be 5. Speaking of offspring, that brings us to our next section.

Illegitimate children


There are indeed plenty of birth control products out there. Everything from birth control pills to condoms to surgically implanted birth control devices have been put out there as means of keeping the possibility of having an illegitimate child to a minimum. However, there's a clear issue here: None of those methods are ever 100% accurate at preventing illegitimate pregnancies. The only way to be 100% sure you're never going to have a child out of wedlock is to not have sex until wedlock. Condoms can tear, and when they tear, yup, you've just given semen free reign to leak into the vaginal cavity and merge with an egg to form a child. Likewise, birth control pills can wear off... and they only really stop about 50% of the hormones responsible for ovulation anyway. Surgically implanted devices, although they are 99% accurate, are still costly and there's still a chance they can come loose, causing extreme pain, yes, and pregnancy. When that does happen, there's a financial burden: how is that child going to be fed? How many diapers are you going to need to buy? A whole lot... which can total thousands of dollars per child. You say you have a choice to abort that child? That's tantamount to saying that you have a choice to commit genocide: it's not a democratic choice, it's a totalitarian one, committed out of, yes, terminological hypocrisy all around. Don't have sex in the first place, and you won't feel a need to make that choice.

Addiction


Ever wonder what makes stimulant drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine so addictive? They inhibit the enzymes that break dopamine down, resulting in excess dopamine being released throughout the nervous system. Well, guess what? Excess dopamine is also released during sexual arousal, according to a scientific study. Excess dopamine overwhelms ― and decreases the number of ― dopamine receptors. Regardless of what the source of that excess dopamine is, there's still excess dopamine. The result? You create a scenario that makes sex just as addictive as cocaine. Once you start, you can't stop. It becomes a habit... a habit that spreads STDs, gets people illegitimately pregnant, and, yes, kills.

So, that's it for the consequences of lust ― which is clearly the sin behind abortion/gay activism all around. The driving force is clearly the sin of lust, just lurking, waiting to corrupt the world and bring it to its doom. Treating it with activist mentality is treating it with the absolute wrong light, besides: instead of getting rid of the problem, they go and make the problem worse. Little do they realize, lust has a way of striking back, like a mousetrap with bait on it, just waiting to spring on them.

02 October, 2014

156 years later, the 1858 San Diego Hurricane still raises eyebrows

156 years ago today, a hurricane which formed off the coasts of Mexico and Central America several days prior took a very unusual course. Most of them either A, move westward, or B, move slowly over cold water, which thus has enough time to make them die out. Not this one. After missing the southern tip of Baja, this menace was picked up by a trough and swung rapidly northward. Having been a category 3 storm at peak intensity, it weakened down to a category 1, then briefly re-intensified to a 2 due to the pressure gradient influence of a ridge behind that trough (not to mention a patch of unusually warm El Niño water)... then back down to a 1, dangerously close to, where? None other than San Diego, California:


This monster hurricane caused damage that we can't even fathom today. It tore roofs off houses. It created a storm surge that overtopped Coronado Island, blasted across San Diego Harbor, flooded a good chunk of the city (well, actually, small town at the time), and shoved three large US Navy schooners, the USS Plutus, the USS Lovely Flora, and the USS X.L., completely aground. That's a key point: Schooners aren't just boats, they're massive ships. In order to completely beach (!) a 200-foot schooner with the massive keel that it has, much less three of them, you need at least a 15-foot storm surge. On top of all that, rain fell in buckets, enough to overtop rain gauges and cause normally dry, ephemeral riverbeds to rapidly overflow their banks. Due to the long time it took news to travel back in 1858, however, the folks on the east coast didn't even know about the damage until several months later.

When I bring up this storm, people are literally freaked out... and of course, I don't blame them. Why? Because if it happened before, it will happen again. What makes such a storm so destructive for only a category 1 hurricane is the sheer size. Remember what kind of storm surge Hurricane Sandy caused? Sandy was also a category 1, but the wind radius, just like the wind radii of most intense East Pacific hurricanes, was a good 500 miles out from the center. That is key to a storm surge catastrophe that could make Marie seem like a mere dress rehearsal.

See, when hurricanes are forced to move away from warm water at speeds too fast to dissipate in time, they begin to compensate for the lack of fuel by spreading out their wind diameters. A storm that's only 200 miles across at peak intensity can end up expanding to 1000 miles across when it gets to California (or New York)... and likewise, one that's 500 miles across at peak intensity can end up being 2000 miles across in that same case. The larger the storm's radius, the more water it displaces. Translation: it's a recipe for disaster. Something halfway between Sandy and Ike in terms of storm surge impacts.

Then, we come to the second major impact: rain. Rain that can amount to a staggering 2 inches per hour — on par with the kind of rainfall rates that Hurricane Irene brought to New York and New Jersey. When that gets dumped on mountainous terrain, guess what that causes? Extreme flooding. In 1976, our neighbors to the east — in Ocotillo — got a glimpse of that potential for catastrophic flooding when Hurricane Kathleen made landfall in Baja and moved north across the border as a tropical storm. As much as 14 inches of rain fell in a matter of hours, causing a dry creek bed that flows toward Ocotillo from the Baja mountains to suddenly explode into a 40-foot wall of water that blasted its way through the town, flattening everything in its path. When the storm was over, it looked as if a tsunami came through the town. Expect a repeat of that in multiple locations should a repeat of the 1858 storm occur.

And that's the thing: history does repeat itself. It's not a question of if, but WHEN SoCal will get hit again. Also, it's El Niño events like the ones in 1997, 2009, and, yes, 2014 that tend to result in far more powerful East Pacific hurricanes... not to mention, of course, that during the early fall months, the winter storms also begin to pick up strength and have more of a tendency to fling storms northward. Santa Ana pressure gradients also play a part, as do those whisps of forced evaporation that Santa Ana winds pick up when they hit the water: they not only instantly transform the Santa Ana air from dry to moist, but they also increase the salinity of the water and force it to temporarily downwell. Hopefully it's not too late. If it is, however, better hunker down...

29 September, 2014

Profanity: Atheist flaming in its most hypocritically uneducated, despicable form

UPDATE 11/19/2014: Now the offender described below isn't the only person to break this rule. Back in October, John Weeks (who since changed his G+ profile to the pseudonym "mr pervert [sic]") actually had the nerve to post an ad hominem comment. Only in this case, not only was it a profanity-laced personal attack, it also was directed in an openly blasphemous manner (i.e. toward the God I worship) in a deliberate attempt at blatant irrationality. Little does this guy realize, just like Tanner, he's only making himself look like an idiot by using those ad hominem attacks and posting (impossible to carry out, at that) profanity-laced threats with blasphemous overtones.

Original post commences below.

Normally I don't call out people's names, but this name is one of particular interest: As many of you have heard, I successfully got YouVersion's Android app working on my Chromebook... and, of course, posted about it. This morning. A full 8 hours ago. After the whole day was nearly spent and it was almost midnight, some atheist bigot by the name of Tanner Hoyt (possibly a college student from the UK ― go figure) commented on that post in an attempt to start a fight. Well, no surprise: He couldn't even say one sentence without using a profane word to describe my accomplishment. So, I responded with copied text from this post along with a link to it. Again, no dice: A second reply was made, and this time, the entire paragraph he posted was literally 50% profanity... and ironically enough, the last words of this comment, directed towards a person whose vocabulary is 10 times as educated as his, was "get an education." Get the hypocritical picture here?

That right there is probably the single worst example of atheist hypocrisy I can possibly use. Do educated people use profanity? EVER? No. Profanity is from the streets, not from science or academia. What scientists and professors use are large, complex words and acronyms like the ones I often, if not always, use. We're talking about some gang-banger here who has the nerve to call someone out, and seeing this guy's profanity, you can be darn sure I was laughing my head off at him the whole time. Had this guy been using the same common sense that academics and scientists actually use, well, this discussion would have never gotten to the point of blocking. Anyhow, that's just what happened: those atheists who call people fools and yet hypocritically act immaturely, using street language instead of academic language, are those who are, when they cross my path, most likely to get reported to Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and just about every other social network I have an account on as hate speech accounts. So, it's done. Problem solved.

Then again, even if this idiot is banned from every social network in the world, well, he's still the same person. He kept calling the Holy Spirit this "imaginary deity" in a circular fashion (ah, circular reasoning... another thing academic atheists call fallacious, and yet look at this idiocy) and of course lacing those statements with more profanity to make himself look even more immature. While the Judeo-Christian God certainly cannot be seen nor heard, you can be 100% sure, from personal experience, His presence can be felt. I had just such an experience with fellow believers on a church retreat this past summer.

Saturday, June 28, 2014. Big Bear Lake, CA. Activity: Action Zipline. This was my first time being on any ziplining adventure... and of course, being a first-timer, I was indeed freaking out. There was a sway bridge at the top, with planks spaced 6 inches apart, draped 200 feet above the already 9000-foot-high mountain slope, that was indeed enough to freak anyone out... but of course, that was the least of my worries. The only brakes we had, for slowing down so we don't crash into the poles when we transitioned from one platform to the next, were a pair of thick leather gloves. Tap too lightly and you won't stop in time. Tap (or grab) too hard, and you come to an abrupt stop so quickly that your arm feels like it's coming off. It was risky business, and of course, it was enough to freak any first-timer out. So, wait, what went on? Instead of getting too agitated, I began to pray.

That's when everything changed: The minute, the MINUTE I started praying, a slight breeze began to blow. Hello! If this were only a "natural" breeze without any divine intervention, the wind would have free reign to blow whenever it felt like it. Instead, here's the key point: it was blowing as I was praying! The fact that I pray and as my prayer is being said, the wind happily dances to my prayer's tune cannot possibly be mere coincidence, not in the least bit. In the Pentecost story (Acts 2:1-4), before any "tongues of fire" appear, there's that very same phenomenon: a wind picks up. It's far more violent in that account, but it's still the same thing: that wind, that's the very presence of the Holy Spirit comforting me in that environment of fear as I was praying. If it weren't for that soft, gentle, divine whisper of encouragement, which motivated me to finish the job, it's likely I wouldn't have made it down without needing to be airlifted. Well, all I've got to say is, thank the Father, thank the Son, and thank the Holy Spirit that it didn't get that far.

As another example, during the winter of 2011-12, there was a time when I was in a similarly wild area: a two-lane road, which happened to pass right near the Serrano Creek wilderness trail in Lake Forest, CA. I was living in an apartment complex very close to the wildland-urban interface at the time (didn't move to Mission Viejo until the following fall), and to walk to the OCTA bus stop to go to school, I had to walk down a stretch of that two-lane road that runs right through a section of the protected wilderness area that Serrano Creek runs through. That winter, however, I was being given mixed messages about the educational situation I was in, and the only thing I could do at the time was pray about it as I walked. So I did.

As I was praying, I must admit, I tried my absolute hardest not to break down in tears, being a guy (and as the whole "philosophy of the world", as my pastor puts it, says, men never cry... ah, but then again, Jesus sure did, and that tends to throw that claim right out the window), yet still came dangerously close to doing so. Well, suddenly, those tears of sorrow were about to become tears of joy. Why? What I was praying for was guidance. I was praying out of gratitude, that because of Him, I wasn't that angry, emotional short-fuse I used to be... and as soon as those tears of joy came out, so too did the rain fall.

Again, there's a pattern here: if the God I was praying to wasn't real, would He be crying those same tears of joy that I was? No! Yet that's exactly what was happening. It was Romans 12:15 in action... from the divine perspective, of course. And as I continued to rejoice and those tears of joy continued to come out, the rain fell harder, and harder, and harder, until suddenly it became an outright downpour of this water from the heavens. Eventually, this downpour, which I was constantly rejoicing in, knowing that it was indeed divine intervention that was causing it, got so powerful that it caused some mud to slide down the hill behind me... at which point I was already high up the hill, almost at the bus stop, and of course, the rain let up as I got on the bus... so when I finally got back home, the mudslide failed to cross the road, and thus failed to cause any road hazards. It was a never-ending feedback of this awesome experience of feeling the presence of the God that the atheists would rather deny than experience for themselves. Talk about missing out on what true fun really is.

That brings us right back to the profanity. I can talk about these experiences, why? Because they are indeed ones I had first-hand. And notice how I don't use a single shred of profanity to describe the atheists the way they describe the God I worship? By abstaining from profanity use and resorting to the off-the-chart vocabulary, which was at college-level when I was a mere freshman in high school, I am not only claiming to be more educated than the person I'm arguing with, but also, here's the key, acting just as professional as I claim to be. I, along with nearly all truly moral Christians, clearly have an advantage over these immature bigots, by actually walking the walk in the argument and setting an example of how an educated person should act. That's something that someone who uses profanity-laced ad hominem attacking someone's perceived education level can absolutely never do. So, let's ignore, block, and report them, shall we? They're absolutely not worth the trouble... even if they end up rotting in hell because of the trouble they often put us through.

Speaking of hell, there was an atheist of the same type as Tanner ― you know, that immature, dirty-mouthed type ― who, according to a near-death experience that he claims he had, literally went to hell and back. His name? Howard Storm, a graduate art professor, and, yes, devout atheist. He was a man who was always willing to let his anger get the better of him instead of learn how to control it... and being an atheist, he thought he could make up whatever morals he wanted to. Then, he took a trip to Paris in 1985. He downed a bunch of alcohol and food, and what did he end up with? A gastrointestinal perforation, spilling stomach acid into his abdominal cavity, that ended up making him temporarily flatline. He claims he felt his spirit literally lifting away from his body, and, perhaps most significantly, he claims he saw the body that he was being pulled away from, along with his crying ex-wife next to his bed. Then, he claims to have heard voices calling his name. They kept calling him forth, and he thought they were surgeons... but there was no surgery; all they got to was a cold, damp space, and he refused. That's when he claims there was a hellishly multiplied version of an MS-13 initiation ritual: biting, kicking, punching, every possible attack from all sides that he could have imagined... until he thought back to his childhood, and prayed.

Suddenly, he claims a bright beam of light dispersed those demonic attacking beings, and in an instant, he begins to get a lesson. He claims to have gone on to meet Him who he prayed to, and claims that guardian angels began to reveal to him that his achievements on Earth meant absolutely nothing. He was, according to his claims, commanded to go back and change people's lives and love them unconditionally. Suddenly, he ended up back in the hospital bed, alive and well... literally almost the equivalent of a modern-day resurrection story. Well, I've got news for those who direct anger at Christians: Do you want to end up in hell like Professor Storm? No? Then get your act together. Because dirty mouths directed against Christians in an ad hominem fashion deserve dirty punishment.

22 September, 2014

I shouldn't have to argue this again, Part 2: Why Climate Change And Christianity ARE Compatible

Alright, now that the heated evolution debate is over, it's time to focus on another issue that's ever so often seen by the church as against its doctrine. Some claim that it's a natural fluctuation that God has way more power to control than we do (which to a certain extent is true, but natural fluctuations in climate have been exacerbated tremendously by human activity). Still others see the stigma associated with the science on this subject and start using it as an ad hominem scapegoat without taking the facts into account. This subject is climate change, and in actuality, this is a subject that IS compatible with our beliefs.

Why? It starts with the Industrial Revolution. First, factories used wood for fuel... but clearly it wasn't able to heat enough water to steam to keep large factories going fast enough. Then, they proceeded to switch to coal. The coal-mining businesses exploded, and so too did the dangerous working conditions that became synonymous with the 19th-century way of life, one in which corporate executives loved exploiting workers only to live lavish lifestyles while their employees suffered. After coal, which in itself produces not just carbon dioxide but also far more toxic carbon monoxide emissions, was seen as too dangerous, oil became the norm... and once again, it's a business in which people always strive to out-rich each other.

Notice a pattern here? It's greed on greed on greed. It's a desire for material wealth that has gone to such an extreme as to double the natural concentration of carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere. These oil moguls don't worship God, they worship money. They are never satisfied. They always want more. They're addicted to wealth, and that's exactly why they deny climate change: because of their willingness to do anything and everything in their power to disposophobically hold onto that endless pursuit.

That brings us straight to the point: isn't greed one of the Seven Deadly Sins? It never satisfies. Instead of controlling their possessions, the avaricious let their possessions (and money) control them. Once they do that, they become addicted to it. That addiction is alluded to by none other than Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, in Matthew 6:24 (NIV): "No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate one and love the other, or be loyal to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." When one becomes a slave to his or her possessions, guess what? He's no longer keeping the number 1 commandment of loving God with all his heart, soul, and mind, nor is he keeping the number 2 commandment of loving his neighbor as himself. Instead, he A, idolizes his possessions and B, does everything in his power to stamp out everyone who gets in his way.

As a result of that sinfully avaricious desire for more oil, more money, and more possessions that is not only greedy but also hubristic, we're now paying that terrible climatic price of global warming as a direct consequence of, what? Our own sin! Let's go through the huge chunks of hard scientific evidence that we were right about greed being sinful all along, shall we? For starters, yes, the levels of carbon dioxide (and other greenhouse gases) have gone up and down over the last million years or so, but today, those concentrations are, thanks to human contributions, the highest they've been since the Miocene, 15 million years before the Ice Age cycles even began. Here, see for yourself:


We're talking about a 20-million-year high in carbon dioxide levels. Note how almost half of that spike is after the Industrial Revolution started. What oil wealth pursuit has done to climate change is create a double whammy effect: thanks to oil avarice, the atmosphere of the Earth now has double the heat-trapping ability of what it would otherwise. That's not all, however. What has been happening to all that methane trapped in permafrost and in shallow Arctic Ocean clathrates, which is suddenly finding escape routes through blowholes and oceanic plumes? Well...


... Yeah, all that methane just ended up in the atmosphere. Well, actually, only a small percentage of it: plumes of methane in the Laptev Sea and off other parts of the Arctic coast of Siberia that are escaping into the atmosphere, not to mention off the Atlantic coast of the United States and Canada besides, are really only a fraction of the planet's total methane reserves. Might as well say hello to a return of the climate of Global Tropics that the dinosaurs lived in while we're at it, as that's what it looks like our climate is headed towards. A full-on Greenhouse Earth. Thanks, avaricious oil executives, for transforming the planet that our Heavenly Father gave us into a Greenhouse Earth at best, outright hell on Earth at worst.

So, there you have it. Climate change is a warning. It's divine punishment for greed. Actually, wait, it's not even that, it's the very "self-imposed punishment" that our Eastern Orthodox brothers and sisters have been talking about all along. It's hard scientific evidence that without God, without moral order, without a law above all laws, without a king above all kings, we're nothing. Hopefully it's not too late for that, but even if it is too late, well, might as well brace yourselves for what kind of tribulation will follow this pursuit of materialism. These are the last days, my friends...

28 August, 2014

Hurricane Marie: The El-Niño-Amplifying, Trade-Wind-Disrupting, Monsoon-Trough-Diverting Wave Machine

August 28, 2014. The sixth-strongest, and possibly gustiest, east-Pacific hurricane on record, Hurricane Marie, which, at peak intensity, had 160mph sustained winds, and, get this, 195mph gusts, is finally back down to tropical storm status over cool waters... ah, but the storm's effects are still being felt. Those gusts, being so much more powerful than the sustained winds, whipped up massive waves. At their peak height, the swells reached heights of 50 feet... ah, but after traversing large regions of ocean, they only ended up being 15-20 footers on the SoCal coast. Even at that height, however, the effects were immense.

I was watching those effects at Strands Beach in Dana Point yesterday, Wednesday, August 27, 2014. Even on Strands, a west-facing beach, mind you, the waves were STILL powerful enough to cause beach flooding, transforming a good 20-foot-by-10-foot section of sandy beach shelf into a swamp. I watched as wads of giant kelp drifted from south to north at 5, 10, even as fast as 15mph at times with the Marie-driven longshore current. At The Wedge, a famous surfing spot in Newport Beach that amplifies incoming surf, 35-foot waves were reported... and that was also a west-facing beach (well, technically, SW-facing). Thanks to the west-facing nature of both Newport and (especially) Huntington Beaches, another powerful longshore current stretched from there, past Huntington, and shoved water into the shallow Palos Verdes Bight. The powerful longshore current, combined with a rising tide, a broad continental shelf, and 20-plus-foot waves which in that south-facing area were straight on, created a far-field storm surge that inundated low-lying Seal Beach, up to several miles inland. Further north, Malibu Pier suffered extensive support pylon damage and still remains closed... and beyond that, in Point Mugu, a historic lifeguard headquarters building ― the Cove House ― was literally washed into the ocean by the massive waves.

The longshore current dragged north by those waves also dragged massive amounts of warm El Niño waters with it. Enough to easily increase the sea surface temperatures off SoCal by several degrees. On top of that, at peak intensity, Marie also did a lot to re-boost the El Niño development. Here, see if this picture is telling enough:



That's an atmospheric river, feeding into Marie from the west-southwest, when the storm was at peak intensity, on Sunday. One powerful enough to disrupt 2000+ miles of trade winds, allowing more warm El Niño waters to make their way eastward toward Mexico ― yes, and also California. On top of that, Marie also ― naturally ― strengthened the Tehuantepecer, but due to Marie's blocking mechanism, the convergence zone created by the Tehuantepecer couldn't flow due west the way it normally wants to. No, it was forced to curve north and shove even more warm water into southern California:


The evidence for that can be found in the way the convergence zone manifests itself: Note how instead of converging further to the south the way they normally do, the storms ― and, by extension, winds ― of the American Monsoon Trough are abnormally converging very close to land masses and squirting more warm water northward. The Monsoon Trough, let's be clear, is absolutely critical to the strength of the Pacific Trade Winds as they are normally. Now, however, it's being diverted up the coast, and we Californians are now directly in its path.

Not only can this prolong the El Niño to lengths never before seen, but it may end up completely changing the entire climate of the East Pacific basin on a permanent basis, by disrupting the already-weak California Current and even, in the worst case, completely circumnavigating the Pacific and reversing the equatorial currents entirely. It would be pretty disastrous if that actually happens, to say the least...

26 August, 2014

Napa Quake, Northern/Central California Exceptional Drought: Divine Retribution Against Alcoholism?

The 2013-14 rainy season gave us THE least amount of rain since the 1920's, let's be clear. In October 2013, a lot of rain fell, to be sure... but then from November 2013 all the way until February-March 2014, absolutely no rain fell. What's more, when the rain did come, it came in buckets in SoCal and buckets in the extreme northern areas, to be sure... but right in the middle, where all the wine-growing areas are, they got the least rain in the state. Here's how the Drought Monitor progressed as a result:

There's quite the pattern here, isn't there? It may have spread beyond that area since then (ironically to California's largest consumers of alcoholic beverages, Los Angeles County and the northern half of Orange County, and ironically enough, that area stretching from Irvine to San Clemente ― including my home [and church] town of Mission Viejo ― doesn't look to be in the exceptional zone ― yet, and we're only little more than a month away from this year's El Niño rainy season anyway, so time is running out), but central California, stretching roughly from Ventura County up through the Carrizo Plain area to San Francisco (and slightly beyond), is where the majority of California grapes are grown. Napa may be where it all started, but only a small fraction of the grapes that go into Napa wineries are grown locally (usually only for the most expensive of the expensive wines). Most of those grapes that get crushed in Napa to make the wine are imported. Where? Mostly from the core of the drought: central California.

Then, on Sunday (go figure), August 24, 2014 at 3AM, the heart of wine country ― Napa ― experiences a magnitude-6.0 earthquake. The ground shaking lasts 20 seconds, mostly as a result of the deep soils that give Napa its awesome grape-growing ability. Scores of unreinforced masonry wineries collapse. Downtown Napa ― which happened to have hosted a wine festival the night before, in which I'm pretty darn sure a lot of people got drunk because of  ― suffers extensive damage, since downtown Napa, with its historic buildings built in the 1920's and 1930's, is loaded with quake-prone unreinforced masonry construction practices. Grocery stores loaded with ― no surprise ― scores of fragile wine bottles have aisle collapses and become littered with alcoholic beverages all over the floor. Wine barrels fall onto floors and become crushed by collapsing URMs, at which point millions of gallons of wine spill. Fires break out at ruptured gas mains, and broken water mains hinder efforts to fight them. Governor Jerry Brown declares a state of emergency in Napa, and as of Tuesday, August 26, 2014, aftershocks continue to rattle the area.

There's a pattern here, isn't there? In the Bible, Jesus and His disciples do indeed drink... ah, but they drink in moderation, to say the least. Getting drunk, as mentioned countless times in the Bible, is indeed a sin. In the church, binge drinking is considered a form of gluttony, which happens to be one of the Seven Deadly Sins ― and it's considered an especially heinous form of it, as getting drunk can also lead to other sins. Notably, people who get drunk start wanting sex more, then they black out, they can't remember what they do, and end up in jail after blacking out due to committing heinous crimes. The modern consequences of alcoholism, let's be clear, are even more severe than in ancient days, due to the rise of motor vehicles. DUI claims countless lives across the United States each year, and people who drink and drive essentially end up committing reckless homicide, since they specifically chose to irresponsibly get behind the wheel of a car after drinking. Now, we appear to have two natural disasters ― a drought and a quake ― that are most severely affecting an area most famous for what? Its production and consumption of alcoholic beverages. By putting the pieces together, you begin to realize, this is just one piece of a long string of acts of divine retribution against sinful practices.

Ten years ago, another such act occurred. Indonesia, and particularly Aceh Province, was littered with Islamic extremists. They were constantly fighting the Indonesian government, why? So they could establish a totalitarian, Sharia-plagued Islamic state in the northern end of Sumatra, then press on to do what ISIS is doing today: persecute Christians en masse. Then, it happened. On December 26, 2004 (December 25 in the Western Hemisphere ― go figure), a behemoth magnitude-9.1 megathrust earthquake rocked a region stretching from central Sumatra all the way to southern Thailand and the Andaman Islands, with Banda Aceh ― the planned capital of this Islamic extremist group ― right in the center. Many Muslim religious centers ― due to their extensive use of unreinforced masonry in their construction ― were damaged during the shaking. 20 minutes later, a 90-foot tsunami followed, which was also focused like a shaped charge on Banda Aceh by the shape of the Sunda Megathrust segment that ruptured. Of the 220,000 people who died as a result of the earthquake and tsunami, 170,000+ were from Indonesia, and of those, a good 30,000 or more were indeed Muslim extremists. The earthquake and tsunami weakened the insurgency so much that they ended up finally submitting to the Indonesian government and NOT persecuting any Indonesian minorities the way ISIS is persecuting Christians and Yazidis in Iraq.

Then, of course, there's the ancient acts. Vesuvius. Santorini. The eruptions of these two volcanoes were some of the most devastating of all time. In the 16th century BC, we hear stories of a people being enslaved in Egypt and leaving (from the Jewish side) and of a people being expelled from Egypt after ruling over them (from the Egyptian side). It's one of the most famous stories of all time ― the Exodus — and there's good archaeological evidence, in the form of pumice, ash, accretionary lapilli (the hail plague), and tsunami deposits (layers of sand found far inland from the Mediterranean) that seems to suggest Santorini being the source of the plagues, and, of course, the parting of the sea (or tsunami) to top it all off. Also, there's the 79 A.D. Vesuvius eruption. Just 9 years earlier, almost to the day, in 70 A.D., Roman emperor Titus ― a Roman general at the time ― sacked Jerusalem, torched the Second Temple, slaughtered thousands of Jews and Christians, and took tends of thousands of Jews and Christians to Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Rome as household slaves and forced prostitutes. For 9 years, they were continuing to preach repentance to the Romans... and then, suddenly, Pompeii, the sin city of the Roman Empire, is swept away by a pyroclastic flow and buried in ash. Over 30,000 Romans are killed, according to Pliny the Younger... ah, but then there's some slave graffiti that suggests there were some survivors who happened to be slaves, managing to dig their way out of the ash, only to find the entire city they were once enslaved in suddenly in ruins and rejoice that the judgment had been passed.

Let's hope people realize what the stakes are here. They can deny God all they want, they can keep complaining that religion is the opium of the masses, that Christians, Jews, Muslims, etc. are responsible for all the violence in the world... but just as it came back to bite Howard Storm in the liver, kidneys, yes, and, temporarily, soul, you can be darn sure it's going to bite the rest of the atheist world in places they sure don't want it either. It happened in Indonesia. It's happening right now, right here in California. What's next?

19 August, 2014

2014-15 El Niño: 'Supermoon' + eclipses + 'King Tides' + unstable Pacific sea level imbalance = recipe for a big one

Okay, so now we're in for a treat: Remember when, a day or two before the Supermoon, how the scientists, while continuing to look in the wrong place for El Niño evidence, scientists decided to downplay the chances of an El Niño forming? Little do they realize, the Supermoon appears to have revived it. Below is the SST anomaly map a day or two before this month's Supermoon:


And here's how that same map looked after the Supermoon:


As you can see, the unusually warm waters, which were gathered into whirlpools and had nowhere to go, are now beginning to pile up against the Mexican coastline and spill across the equator, just like I had predicted. But wait, what does the Supermoon have to do with this? The answer: King Tides.

The traditional scientific understanding about El Niño is that the waters pile up against the Asian side of the equatorial Pacific, where the sea level, thanks to the Trade Winds, rises... until suddenly, it gets too high and gravity takes over, resulting in a Kelvin wave. Lately, however, a back door has opened up, thanks to melting polar ice, for the waters to simply flow around the Trade Winds. The Supermoon, of course, has a much stronger gravitational effect on Earth's oceans, due to the fact that it's synergistic with the Sun AND is at perigee, meaning the moon is closest to the Earth and full at the same time. Also, the Earth rotates from west to east. Meaning, of course, that the tidal effect of the Supermoon would be strongest first on the Mexican/Peruvian side of the Pacific.

On top of all that, lunar output is the opposite of solar output. Sure, it's summer in the Northern Hemisphere, which means that the Northern Hemisphere is tilted towards the Sun. During a full moon, however, the Moon is on the opposite side of the Earth. The result? The moon's gravitational pull would have been strongest A, on the east side of the Pacific, and B, in the Southern Hemisphere. It's very likely, then, that when the tides rose, they began to suck all that warm Mexican water southward, further disrupting the trade winds. As a result, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, or BOM, came to a much more different conclusion than the American scientists: a far more likely El Niño scenario than most people realize.

All around, the meteorological effects of this developing El Niño are already becoming clear. The monsoon is so strong it's even brought thunderstorms to coastal SoCal, killing beachgoer Nick Fagnano and injuring 7 others ― a rare sight, since the monsoon normally only affects the mountains and deserts. Given that the American Monsoon is fueled by warm Mexican Riviera/Gulf of California waters, however, the explanation for that unusually strong monsoon remains obvious: El Niño. The Tehuantepecer is also showing signs of unusual strength, and it's sucking all the moisture from the Gulf of Mexico straight into the Pacific basin, resulting in 12 named storms. Of those named storms, 7 were hurricanes, 6 were/are major hurricanes, 4 were Category 4 hurricanes, the strongest of which had winds that were only 2mph shy of Category 5 status, and, on top of that, one hurricane ― Marie ― IS a category 5 storm, with sustained winds clocked at 160mph, gusting to a whopping 195mph. In fact, it was one of those category 4 hurricanes ― Iselle ― that, while weak at landfall in Hawaii, was a Category 4 with 140mph winds at peak intensity.

The Atlantic basin, meanwhile, has had only three tropical cyclones: Arthur, Bertha, and Cristobal. That also is clear evidence for the impending El Niño: the Tehuantepecer sucks all that moisture right out of the Atlantic. The result, of course, is a combination of unusually dry air and unusually powerful wind shear. While the water is still warm, wind shear and dry air are both clear impediments to tropical cyclone formation. The result? No hurricanes. Remember Andrew? In 1992, there was another El Niño, let's not forget. Andrew may have been the only name to ever have been used throughout the 1992 Atlantic hurricane season... but it was also used in August. At the same time, Iniki was just as damaging to Hawaii as Andrew was to Florida... but underwent very rapid deepening and formed close to the islands. Iniki, however, was part of a long series of storms. How many? 28 named storms, 16 hurricanes, and 10 major hurricanes — the most that the Pacific basin has ever seen since record-keeping began.

In 1997, the same thing happened: all the Atlantic hurricanes stopped forming in August. Nothing. Meanwhile, the East Pacific hurricane season continued well past that. It was in September when the most powerful product of the season occurred, one that was, so far, our closest modern call to a repeat of 1939: Hurricane Linda. At peak intensity, Hurricane Linda's sustained winds were clocked at a whopping 185mph ― the strongest hurricane in East Pacific history, and it too was fueled by warm El Niño waters. Most importantly, however, Linda, Rick, Amanda, Cristina, Norman, Kathleen, yes, and Marie all took similar paths through the same rapid deepening keyhole, one that puts the storms dangerously close to a jet that, if aimed at California the way it was with Norman (and again with Marie, by the looks of it), can easily turn near-misses into direct hits.

So, with all the evidence staring them in the face, the scientists still ignore it. Sucks for them, because, well, it appears they're still insisting on looking in the place they're used to looking in. Well, it's now blowing up in their faces...

08 August, 2014

2014-15 (and possibly beyond) El Niño: Eddies of Superheated Water Are Evidence of Weakening California Current

When I last posted about this year's impending El Niño, it was early July. Five weeks after that, as my tracking has progressed, it's now time for another update. One thing is certain: it's definitely not weakening. Spreading around and superheating the ocean the way a convection oven superheats food, yes, but man, is it just as strong as ever. The skeptics, as I've stressed before, are simply looking in the wrong place. For the record, equatorial Kelvin waves are not exactly what meteorologists, climatologists, and oceanographers should be looking for. No, what they should be looking for are Kelvin whirlpools. Yes, that's correct: we're talking about huge swirling masses of superheated seawater the size of hurricanes churning their way across the Pacific roughly 5 degrees north of the Equator, fueled by ocean currents shearing them off to the north and south. Here, see for yourself:


Looking at the SST anomaly map (that is, the departure from average SST), we find that these swirling masses of storm food start to get progressively more striking the closer to this side of the Pacific they get:


Those whirling vortices of superheated seawater, should I say it again, are by far the biggest piece of evidence I can possibly find and throw out there that can possibly support my explanation of why the scientists think the El Niño is weakening when it really isn't: that the El Niño waters have simply found a back door around the trade winds, instead of being forced to bore into them the way they normally would. Wait, there's got to be a reason why the waters have found this back door, right? In fact, there is: That back door for the El Niño is even more evidence to add to that which I found back in February that seemed to suggest the unthinkable: a weakening California Current due to none other than climate change.

So, wait, how can climate change do that? The ocean currents are all technically density currents. Warm water floats, less-saline water floats, cold water sinks, more saline water sinks, and the Coriolis effect does a profound job at affecting the oceans just as much as it does the air, thus making the currents stronger. That effect is called the thermohaline circulation. Some currents ― for example, the Gulf Stream, the Kuroshio Current, the Mediterranean density current, and the Gulf of California density outflow — are comprised of warm water that is, thanks to evaporation, more saline ― and, thus, denser ― than the surrounding water. This causes it to downwell when it reaches its target, sucking more warm water in from behind.

Cold currents, like the California and Labrador Currents, have the exact opposite effect: icebergs break off Alaskan and Greenlandic glaciers, supercooling and, most importantly, desalinating the water. By desalinating the water, you make it less dense and more buoyant. This coaxes the water to upwell toward the surface, and, by extension, forces it to flow southward towards the saltier, denser, and warmer tropical waters, dragging more cold, buoyant, less-saline subsurface water toward the surface as it flows southward. Recently, however, the glaciers that once broke apart as icebergs off Alaska, the heart of the California Current's cold, buoyant water, have retreated to almost nothing. Remember, those pics are from over a year ago. Since then, we saw even more evidence that seems to suggest that it may already be too late to stop the inevitable. It definitely seems a critical point has been reached.

What is that critical point, exactly? If all that Alaskan ice disappears (most of it already has, which is likely why the RRR became so well-defined), the warm, highly saline waters of the Kuroshio Current would have free reign to invade Alaska. When that superheated, highly saline water hits land, it gets coaxed to downwell from the surface to the abyss. Since it also flows right past the Gulf of Alaska prior to striking land, when that water flows back around the Gulf of Alaska as it downwells, the cyclonic rotation in the downwelling ends up creating a whirlpool effect that sucks water toward it from the south. Since it is in the Northern Hemisphere and rotates counter-clockwise, this massive whirlpool of warm water begins to actually suck more warm water right up the California coast toward it. The result? You've just created a scenario where the Davidson Current completely replaces the California Current ― a truly perpetual El Niño.

The equatorial currents, meanwhile, are kind of anomalous in the fact that they're pretty much independent of the thermohaline circulation, because they're not driven by salinity or by water temperature. No, they're wind-driven. The Trade Winds (which, ironically enough, are a phenomenon that is also likely to keep weakening as the planet warms: since greenhouse gases superheat the polar regions 6 times faster than they do the equator, they reduce the pressure gradient from the poles to the mid latitudes to the equator, weakening the trade winds) create a kind of setdown effect that shoves all that water westward. Normally, the upwelling outflow associated with the California and Humboldt Currents would be strong enough to help the Trade Winds out and contribute to that shoving, piling up the sea level to unusual highs near Asia and unusual lows near the Americas, until finally, gravity takes over, and all that water rushes back as a Kelvin wave.

That's not what's happening however. By contributing enough to climate change, in the form of CO2 emissions (thanks, oil companies: this is your own sinful, greedy, avaricious, hubristic desire to out-rich everyone that brought us into this climatic hell on earth) that have since gone on to trigger the release of Arctic methane, to allow the California Current to weaken, mankind has inadvertently created a back door for those El Niño waters to simply flow around the Trade Winds and find a more northerly route back across the Pacific. With less upwelling to hold the water back (especially to the north), the water now has free reign to flow towards Mexico and fuel major East Pacific hurricanes like Marie that go on to disrupt the already weak Trade Winds. The result? A double whammy: catastrophic suppression of Alaskan glacial melt-induced upwelling + catastrophic weakening of the trade winds due to global warming (and, by extension, global deepening) = recipe for disaster as far as prolonging El Niño is concerned.

02 August, 2014

Project Seal: Implausible Then, Certainly Possible Now

In the 1940's, before the nuclear age, during World War II, some recently declassified documents depict something extraordinary: military scientists experimented with sending tsunamis into the Japanese coastline using explosives, to wipe out those civilians who were defending the coastline against an invasion with pitchforks and keep the human cost of an invasion down. The plan was shelved after the military scientists determined that it would take some 2 metric kilotons of explosives to create such a wave... at least if those explosives are placed in a straight line.

One thing that really intrigues me about how tsunamis can be focused, from a fluid dynamics standpoint, into a relatively small area, is the Cascadia earthquake and tsunami of 1700. According to computer models, there's one portion of the wave, as it leaves Cascadia, that's significantly larger and more destructive as it travels across the Pacific than any other part:


Note how that portion of the departing tsunami, which appears to also have a dent in it, almost conforms to the shape of the subduction zone that created it: all that tsunami energy appears to be focused on that one point, where the wave is both longer AND taller than it was in Cascadia. Could explosives do the same when placed in that concave pattern?

Despite how far-fetched it may sound, accidents involving man-made explosives have created tsunamis before. Take the incident in Halifax in 1917, for example. The SS Mont-Blanc, a cargo ship about 1.5 times the size of your average jumbo jet (which is not very big for a cargo ship, let's be clear), sailed across the Atlantic, loaded from bow to stern with military high-explosive cargo, in the form of mostly nitrocellulose, TNT, and picric acid. When the Mont-Blanc got to Halifax Harbor, however, she was broadsided by a Norwegian ship, the SS Imo, and caught fire. That fire then went on to ignite all those explosives at once. The resulting blast had the force of 2.9kt of TNT, which is just about as much explosives as Project Seal would have needed to be effective ― and it generated a 60-foot tsunami that devastated the portions of Halifax not already blasted away by the explosion itself.

Fast-forward to today, and we have technology that absolutely no one dreamed of back then. We have computers that can fit in our pockets. We have cars that drive themselves. We have unmanned, remote-controlled aircraft that use cameras to tell their remote human controllers where they are going ― even ones that can attack. So why not also use that same drone technology to remotely navigate cargo ships the size of the Mont-Blanc filled from bow to stern with explosives ― about 10 of them ― into a V-shaped pattern with overlapping blast-radii, then place remote-controlled detonators on them, along with "Fire" buttons on the remotes?

The overlapping blasts would displace a lot of water, to be sure... but then the water has to rush back into that V-shaped depression (in contrast to the linear depression that the military was thinking of creating off Japan during WWII... and also in contrast to the circular depression that was created by the Halifax blast) that the blasts leave behind. The result? Massive drawback... which is most powerful on the concave side of the shape. The wave follows, refracting into a 200-plus foot monster at the very least, the way the water flows towards it... in fact, if this is done in a very deep section of ocean (even if mostly landlocked), it may reach as high as 1000 feet or more, thus becoming a mega-tsunami as it is focused into that V and directed towards its target, at which point, because of the way it is refracted, it should easily be able to cross an entire ocean (or sea) towards the enemy in just hours, or even minutes if the ships are blown up close enough to the enemy in question.

09 July, 2014

Project Ozone: Google's Mir?

It's July 9, 2014. Here I am, doing my usual decipherment of open source Chromium code in an attempt to find out how many new features the Chrome team has up its Athena sleeve. The journey started ― naturally ― with the Athena source tree. From there, after seeing a chrome.shell API that Athena appears to be implementing, it moved on to the shell tree, where I then found out about some Aura code serving as a kind of back-end for some of those features. When I got there ― to the UI code ― another project, being indicated in code comments as something VERY significant, really caught my eye: Ozone.



Why is Project Ozone so significant? Let's start with the context it was referred to in: as some kind of separate platform. To be even more precise, X11 and Ozone were being referred to in the same context. Snooping through its code revealed some more details. Most notably, there's mention of cursor factories, event factories, native pixmaps (!), display mode proxies, display snapshot proxies, display management, GPU management, oh, yeah, and input device management. These are ALL features typical of not just window managers (like Athena, Ash, Mutter, and Compiz), or widget toolkits (like Aura, Qt, and GTK+). No, these are features of full-fledged display servers like X11, Wayland, and Mir.

Could this mean Google is actually taking something from Canonical's playbook here when it comes to mobile/desktop convergence? Well, let's start with I/O: there was definitely some tight Android/Chrome OS integration demoed there, starting with notifications and making it all the way to, oh, yeah, Android apps running natively on a Chromebook. For now, it's mere integration/continuity between the platforms... but yeah, it's also the start of a long road to complete convergence. As the Ubuntu team noted, X11 is a kind of roadblock to that. Why? Because, well, it is way too bloated with legacy code (due to its age) to run on mobile devices easily, which is clearly why it's stuck on the desktop. So, with that in mind, to get something on both the desktop and mobile devices simultaneously, sleeker, slimmer, less bloated, oh, yeah, and more modern, natively-accelerated display servers are needed.

That's why Canonical started working on Mir in the first place: X was clearly too old. It had 30 years worth of code piled up, which IMHO is way too much to work well on mobile. At the same time, Wayland was too ahead of its time. It depended on the GPU so much that a lot of older computing devices without powerful GPUs are often left in the dust by it. Thus, Mir was born. It's compatible with both accelerated and non-accelerated hardware, and at the same time, is far less bloated than X is. It appears Project Ozone serves a very similar purpose for Google that Mir serves for Canonical: one display server across all mobile and desktop devices, Chrome and Android alike.

If the ability to run Android apps natively on a Chromebook is actually truly seamless and not just some clever Google Cast mirroring, well, then Athena, Ares, and finally Ozone could all be catalysts for complete Ubuntu-style convergence between the two platforms. That probably won't happen until 2015 at the least... ah, but given all that's been revealed now, not to mention all that we'll be seeing this fall, only time will tell.

01 July, 2014

2014-15 El Niño: Dying? You're looking in the wrong place!

On the weekend of June 26-29, I was on a retreat in Big Bear with a bunch of fellow young adults, oh, yeah, and my youth pastor. Yeah, we were having the time of our lives, to say the least... ah, but at the same time, the lake was indeed 25 feet below normal. So, while I was on that trip, I decided to Google "El Niño" "2014-15" again, only to find claims that the SST anomalies in the Kelvin zone off Peru, where the majority of El Niño research is conducted, appear to have begun shrinking back to normal... and yes, scientific research of the SSTs appear to have backed it. However, the problem? While the SSTs off Peru are indeed far from abnormal, those off Panama, Colombia, and Mexico, are, wait for it... still VERY high! To put this into perspective: We're talking about the waters about 15 degrees north being warmer than the equatorial waters. Here, see for yourself:


How do we account for this rare anomaly further north of the equator than normal? There's at least three factors that I'm aware of, and I'm ready to go over them right now.

1. Equatorial Solar Output


Contrary to popular belief, the equator isn't always the warmest/hottest area on Earth. That's based on the notion that, oh, yeah, it is indeed 0 degrees latitude... but the Earth's axis has a 23.5-degree tilt to it. So, with that in mind, we come across two 23.5-degree north and south latitude lines: the Tropic of Cancer to the north, and the Tropic of Capricorn to the south. Only during the Vernal and Autumnal Equinoxes does the Sun's energy reach the strongest at the equatorial region, and that's because, well, those are the transition zones between spring and fall. At the solstices, however, the Sun's peak energy is furthest away from the Equator. Which puts it, naturally, at either the Tropic of Cancer during the Northern Hemisphere Summer/Southern Hemisphere Winter, or the Tropic of Capricorn during the Southern Hemisphere Summer/Northern Hemisphere Winter. So, technically, the equator has not just one seasonal transition, but rather two summers and two winters that serve as very, very, very subtle transition periods.

Ah, now we're getting somewhere: The Northern Hemisphere summer solstice was, literally, on June 21. It's now July 2, which puts it... only 11 days ago! That means the Sun's peak energy is, at this time, farthest away from the Equator than normal. The result of this ― naturally ― is only a slight decrease in equatorial water temperatures but an increase in water temperatures north of the Equator, whose resulting low atmospheric pressure, due to tropical cyclogenesis, serves to drive runaway migration of warm El Niño waters northward. Ah, but that's not the only factor here.

2. The warm Gulf of California


Many people who talk about a "warm Gulf" often talk about the Gulf of Mexico... ah, but even if fewer people encounter it, the Gulf of California is just as warm. It's where all the American Monsoon's energy comes from, and because it's landlocked, it's often incredibly warm. Being surrounded by deserts, it's also impacted greatly by solar energy, to the point of evaporating faster than its surroundings and, thus, being more saline than the ocean to the south. The resulting evaporative density current, just like the Mediterranean's, has only one way to flow: out into the ocean, which in the case of the G. Cal., means southward.

So, what happens when these extremely warm Gulf waters meet equally warm El Niño waters? They intermingle, doubling the effect that they have north of the Equator, oh, yeah, and adding to the already abnormally low atmospheric pressure that El Niño contributes to this side of the Pacific (that's what's responsible for the El Niño trade winds weakening, mind you: abnormally high pressure over the West Pacific + abnormally low pressure over the East Pacific = weakened Trade Wind pressure gradient = weakened trade winds), which, again, is going to want to manifest itself, especially during the summer months, not on the equator but rather slightly north of it.


3. Disappearing Gulf of Alaska Ice


Back in February, I collected evidence that painted a rather grim picture when it comes to climate change and how it's poised to cause a boatload of problems. However, I'm going to describe that post in a nutshell: There wasn't enough rain last winter because the winter storms were bringing all the rain (surprisingly not all snow either; some of it was indeed actually rain) to Alaska. The reason why the storms were being forced north was because the Jet Stream was always to the north. The Jet Stream was always to the north because the waters off Alaska were abnormally warm. Ah, so why were the waters off Alaska (and particularly in the eastern Gulf of Alaska) abnormally warm? Because of all the disappearing glaciers in that region, glaciers that are crucial to the California Current's overall health.

See, the California Current is a density current. Melting glacial ice chills seawater. By chilling the seawater, the melting Alaskan ice also makes it denser. Being denser, it has this tendency to want to flow toward the less dense, and warmer, waters in the Mexican and Central American tropics. The Labrador Current in the Atlantic, in relation to the Gulf Stream, is driven by the same mechanism, only in the LC's case, it's melting Greenlandic ice, which has a much longer way to go to melt completely. So, what happens when all that glacial ice, crucial to keeping the ocean cold, starts disappearing too fast to sustain itself? The California Current weakens. In fact, if there ends up being absolutely no ice left, it can ultimately weaken to the point of shutting down ― which, of course, would give solar output free reign to superheat the waters directly off our coast. That can then go on to A, give the Mojave Desert thermal low more free reign to drag in an Indian Monsoon-style atmospheric river from directly off the Southern California coast (which can then go on to rapidly deepen it ― even this year, we're already feeling much higher humidity than normal due to the unusually high El Niño water temperatures, oh, yeah, and also seeing more powerful thermal low rotation over the Mojave Desert, and that certainly wouldn't go away with this worst-case scenario either), and B, give Mexican tropical cyclones more free reign to intensify and move northward ― perhaps the exact opposite of what the "mega-drought" alarmists once thought.

Conclusion


This isn't the first time an El Niño manifested itself in this fashion either. In 2009, scientists were just as skeptical during the summer months, due to, yeah, similar circumstances. The warm El Niño waters were centered just as far north of the equator as these... but it still ended up being a particularly powerful one. In modern times, the 2009-10 El Niño only came in second to the 1997-98 one in terms of its sheer power, and it was indeed a surprise to scientists. Why? Because again, the scientists were looking in the wrong place with that one as well. It's the case of, if it ain't right, look harder. There was indeed a similar California drought in 2009 as well... one that the El Niño of 2009-10 clearly erased:



I also must admit: seeing the lake that far below normal was indeed inspiration for me to start pulling out my Bible, and, for about an hour, praying that divine strength be given to the El Niño. Guess what? I get back from the trip, and, a day later, lo and behold, another Kelvin wave appeared, and within hours, made it all the way across the Pacific... Goes to show just how much of an ill effect atheism has had on these scientists, doesn't it? Anyhow, that's another topic for another post...