Saturday, August 18, 2018

Powerful magnitude 8.2 earthquakes strikes near Fiji, no tsunami triggered - AccuWeather.com

https://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/breaking-powerful-magnitude-82-earthquakes-strikes-near-fiji-no-tsunami-threat-expected/70005824

M8.2 EQ near Fiji.: 2018-08-19 00:19:37 UPDATED: (M8.2) Fiji region -18.2 -178.1 (2b02a)

Near Fiji. An M8.2 EQ is pretty big. An M > 8 happens only about one and a fraction times per year....

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: 2018-08-19 00:19:37 UPDATED: (M8.2) Fiji region -18.2 -178.1 (2b02a)
Date: Sun, 19 Aug 2018 00:38:39 +0000
From: USGS ENS <ens@ens.usgs.gov>
Reply-To: ens@ens.usgs.gov
To: david.appell@gmail.com



M8.2 Earthquake - Fiji region

Preliminary Report
Magnitude 8.2
Date-Time
  • 19 Aug 2018 00:19:37 UTC
  • 19 Aug 2018 12:19:37 near epicenter
  • 18 Aug 2018 16:19:37 standard time in your timezone
Location 18.165S 178.144W
Depth 559 km
Distances
  • 269.0 km (166.8 mi) E of Levuka, Fiji
  • 326.9 km (202.7 mi) SE of Labasa, Fiji
  • 361.3 km (224.0 mi) E of Suva, Fiji
  • 448.7 km (278.2 mi) E of Ba, Fiji
  • 451.3 km (279.8 mi) NW of Nuku�alofa, Tonga
Location Uncertainty Horizontal: 9.2 km; Vertical 6.4 km
Parameters Nph = 102; Dmin = 405.2 km; Rmss = 1.01 seconds; Gp = 24°
Version =
Event ID us 1000gcii ***This event supersedes event AT00PDOM8Q,PT18231000.
For updates, maps, and technical information
see: Event Page or USGS Earthquake Hazards Program
National Earthquake Information Center
U.S. Geological Survey

Disclaimer

Oliver


Thursday, August 16, 2018

U.S. Drought

Drought is starting to look serious.  This is the first time I've seen "extreme drought" pop up in Oregon this year. In Salem there's been no recordable rainfall since May.


49.5% of the country (USA50) is at least abnormally dry -- 17% is at least in a moderate drought. A year ago that latter number was only 4%.

John Fleck has an interesting post about how the ongoing drought in the southwest is forecasted to affect water supplies there. (Though the monsoon has delivered more rainfall there than usual.)Water cutbacks for Arizona and Nevada are expected by January 2020.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Evil

I don't believe evil is some universal substance or essence that infects certain people and causes them to do "evil" things. I think it's actually scarier than that -- it's ideas in all of us that most of us successfully suppress. How do some people fail? Evil behavior seems to be an absolute lack of concern for others, an insistence that one be free to act on anything they want, need or imagine. Robert Louis Stevenson said "we all have thoughts that would shame hell." But why do some people, those who do "evil" things, fail to suppress those ideas and instead act on them? It's an immensely complex question, of course, to which I don't have the slightest answer, as no one does. Perhaps that's why it's imagined as some black nebulous energy field that pervades the universe and, from time to time, invades certain people -- it's the best sense we can make of something so astonishingly senseless. We all wonder what we would have done as a German citizen during the Third Reich. It's easy to say in hindsight, but if we were in that time it's not be so straightforward and easy. Almost all Americans witnessed "evil" (in my opinion) in the separation of parents and children at southern border crossings recently, people we wanted to apply for asylum, meaning they weren't illegal immigrants. The situation drew outrage, but most of us (I mean Americans) watched the situation and did nothing. We assumed someone else would act to defeat this pop-up of evil.

But if anything the report on the behavior of some Pennsylvania Catholic priests is so shocking that its seems evil was widely running amuck. The behaviors are absolutely shocking. These excerpts are all from the NY Times:




These evil acts were committed by men supposedly of God, not by wild-eyed psychopaths or suave operators. (Note: we need better psychopath detectors.) If it happened in any other organization than a church, that group would be shamed and disbanded, the perpetrators (and those who covered for them) frog-marched into police stations and given long prison sentences.

Most of these barbarities happened in the 1960s and '70s, in towns around where I was growing up, such as Greensburg and Pittsburgh. My mother was Catholic who won a scholarship to attend an all-girls Catholic school in Pittsburgh (actually, I think she saw this as the best time of her life), and before she was married thought seriously about becoming a nun. We attended a Catholic church in the nearest town -- not Greensburg, but not far away -- up until I was maybe six or seven. I was baptised in the Catholic church, but never confirmed. I was never an alter boy. I didn't know the priest of our church besides briefly meeting him on the way out. Now I wonder. My father was a Methodist and apparently didn't like Catholicism, so we went to a Methodist church for awhile, which my mother didn't like. By the time I was 10 or so we stopped going to church altogether, which was fine with me. I attended a Bible study class once for a week, which mostly involved long bus rides through hill and dale and me thinking alot about boobs. But I still like going into a quiet, beautiful Catholic church, the way the thick doors and walls block out all street noise, creating a new universe inside with the votive candles alight, an organ playing softly, and voices echoing off the high ceiling and walls. I've attended and appreciated a few Catholic masses on Christmas Eve over the years (and some Protestant services too). But I'm completely irreligious now and don't believe in any of that. How could anyone stay a Catholic after all the abuse scandals over recent decades -- I simply cannot understand that. (Some can't.) The Church has been as immoral as anyone, for decades now -- the utter opposite of what it pretends to be. But you know, I'll probably again sit in a Catholic church for a while and absorb its environment, if the situation arises.

I once saw this in a Steven Weinberg book I was reading -- I forget which -- but it never struck me as much as during the last few days:

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Interesting Things, August 8 2018

California has it highest average July temperature since records started in 1895, and also its hottest month ever. In the last 30 years it has warmed at an incredible +0.35 °C/decade (+0.64 °F/decade).

(Granted, California is large and has several different climate zones. If I get to it I'll look at some specific weather stations.) (But I probably won't get to it.)

Overall the continental US had its 11th warmest July (NOAA). Its 30-year warming trend is +0.28 °C/dec (+0.51 °F/dec).
--
NASA's Carbon Monitoring System (CMS) has been cancelled, assumedly by the White House. But it hadn't been funded by Congress. It cost $10 M/yr. A scientist said, "If you cannot measure emissions reductions, you cannot be confident that countries are adhering to the [Paris] agreement." But how accurately can emissions be measured from space? I'm dubious.
--
Climate Researchers Warn Only Hope For Humanity Now Lies In Possibility They Making All Of This Up (The Onion)
--
A satellite picture of smoke over USA48, via the HERR model. Via Eric Snodgrass's weekly discussion of Pacific NW weather. (I don't know what the units of the scale are.)


Saturday, August 04, 2018

Is There a Plan B?


Naomi: "Is there a plan B?"

Holden: "Yeah, make sure Plan A works."

- The Expanse, S2 E13, "Caliban's War"

Still no date for The Expanse to appear on Amazon Prime without an extra charge. This fall, is what I've read. You maybe have heard that SyFy cancelled The Expanse in May 2018, after three seasons. But Amazon picked it up a few weeks later and is funding Season 4. 

The Expanse gets the top award, in my opinion, for making life in space as compatible with real physics and engineering as any sci-fi show I've ever seen.