Crawler News Bites

A couple of things went by tonight in the News Of The World.

In addition to “the usual” of Assad shelling Homs, Greeks rioting, Iran saying “we’re doing exactly those things that will give us a bomb to use on the two countries we hate most, but we’re not trying to get a bomb, trust us”, the USA saying “We’ll get grumpy Real Soon Now if you don’t straighten up and do what we command in your sovereign country”, and the UN pretending it runs the world, we had some “odd bits”.

Indian Banks

From the Al Jazeera News crawler was the factoid that India was going to put some odd $Billion+ into its banks. What, you say, India has banks in trouble?

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/finance/public-sector-banks-will-get-adequate-capital-pranab-mukherjee/articleshow/11952759.cms

GURGAON: The Indian government will provide adequate capital to all the public sector banks to help them face risks arising out the global economic uncertainties, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said Sunday.

“Government is taking necessary steps to keep all the PSBs adequately capitalised. I can assure you that we are committed to bringing our banks at par with their global peers while catering to the needs of our economy,” Mukherjee said after inaugurating the new corporate office of Oriental Bank of Commerce here.

The finance minister said the government was committed to maintain a minimum of 8 percent Tier-I capital (equity capital) in all public sector banks (PSBs), which is over and above the regulatory requirement of 6 percent.

So they have a 6% legal mandate at present, but are at 8% hmmm… that’s a 12.5 : 1 capital ratio. Not too bad… 10:1 would be better, but Lehman Brothers didn’t go under until it hit 40:1 and 20:1 is usually where folks start sweating…

But that’s speaking about the Public Sector Banks in general and says nothing of needing $Billion scale ‘infusions’… must not be newsworthy in India…

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-01-31/state-bank-of-india-to-get-1-6-billion-infusion-from-government.html

State Bank of India to Get $1.6 Billion Infusion From Government
January 31, 2012, 12:53 PM EST
By Anto Antony and Ketaki Gokhale

Jan. 31 (Bloomberg) — State Bank of India, the nation’s largest lender, will receive a 79 billion rupee ($1.6 billion) capital infusion from the government, ending a two-year wait for funds as slowing economic growth leads to a rise in bad loans.

The state-owned lender approved selling stock to the government on a preferential basis, according to a filing yesterday to the stock exchange in Mumbai. The lender has been seeking to replenish its base for about two years after increased provisions for defaults and expansion in credit depleted capital.

Shares of State Bank have rallied 27 percent this month on speculation that the funds would be injected in the first quarter. The stock slumped 42 percent last year, and Moody’s Investors Service in October downgraded the Mumbai-based lender’s financial strength rating, citing the capital shortage and its deteriorating asset quality.

“Investors had already factored in the government’s investment into State Bank, leading to the smart bounce back in the share prices in recent weeks,” said Alex Mathews, head of research at Geojit BNP Paribas Financial Services Ltd. “The key question now is, how the lender will use this capital to boost its lending book in the coming quarters.”

So Bloomberg had this story a month ago (almost) as a ‘will get’, and most likely the Al Jazeera crawler was a ‘has gotten’ and the stock move has already happened. OK, note to self: Visit Bloomberg Business Week more often…

But it’s the ‘back story’ to this that I think matters… Slowing economy. Loans going bad. Needs to sell stock to the government. This all is just NOT looking like good news to me. Even the up 27% is off of a down 42% in the prior year alone… Well… If India is one of the two spark plugs of growth in Asia (along with China) that’s a bit of a worry.

Another “note to self”: No money invested into India until this is figured out. Need to review the banks and general economic state before India gets an OK… Oh, and China likely needs a double check, too.

Sri Lanka Tea for Oil

There was a story about the Iranian sanctions whacking Sri Lanka. On the one hand, Iran wants to buy a lot of their tea, so this hurts their exports. (Oddly, one of my favorite teas I buy at a nearby “Mediterranean Store” run by an Iranian family. Nice folks. I think they are Christians that left to avoid oppression, but I could be projecting. The lady behind the counter doesn’t wear a veil and they seem to sell non-Halal products, or they just don’t put a sign out. At any rate, I get this very nice tea from them (and have not asked closely from whence it comes… ) So Iranians DO know their tea. I think it was labeled as from Sri Lanka / Ceylon, but imported by a company with “Iran” in the name (but likely a US importer run by Iranian expats.)

At any rate, I shop there fairly often, like the goods and service, enjoy talking to the folks (usually avoiding politics and religion) and wish them and their families well in whatever comes. And I buy a lot of tea from them… along with very flavorful olive oils, grape oil fairly inexpensively, and the occasional odd spices and some Russian Sprats (canned in Russia and labeled in Cyrillic and Latin letters – very small sprats with a strong rich smoky flavor; reminds me of the small sardines from when I was a kid. The ones now are just too mild on the smoke from American canneries… Russians know how to insist on intensity in life… but I’m digressing again…)

So, back at Sri Lanka:

They also are being squeezed on the oil side as Iran sells them oil on easy terms AND their refinery “works best on the light crude from Iran”… which was immediately followed by a statement that Saudi would pump enough to make up any Iranian shortfalls…

Except…

We know that Saudi is Maxed Out on Sweet. It’s ‘spare capacity’ is heavy sour. “That’s gonna be a problem”… as not all oil is fungible. Some refineries, especially those in poor places that have not been ‘upgraded lately’ can’t process heavy crude.

This very strongly implies that Iran going “off line” will hurt most the lesser developed places that depend on cheap terms, easy credit, and sweet crude. Oh, and Greece, who get a lot of Iranian oil on credit, not cash in advance.

OK, yet another ‘note to self’: Watch out for economies dependent on Light Sweet Crude on easy terms. They are going to be hard pressed. Oh, and stock up on Iranian / Ceylonese Tea…

Greece

But I already talked about Greeks rioting and being dependent on Iranian Oil. Well, there’s more…

I think it was Deutsche Welle, there was a bizzaro story that I think may be this one:

http://www.dw.de/dw/article/0,,15145187,00.html

It went something like ~”Germany needs to loan Greece another $120 Billion in addition to the $160 Billion they were loaned just a while ago, so they can make a payment of $30 Billion that is due in a month or so”… SO I’m wondering how I can sign up for a program where folks loan me buckets of money so I can repay 10% of it. There was also talk of the “restructuring” involving the writing off of something like $130 Billion (or maybe it was Euros…) that isn’t in this article

Greece has received a 110-billion-euro ($159 billion) emergency loan package from the European Union and International Monetary Fund, but needs more loans to stay afloat and avoid a default on government bonds.

EU leaders are due to meet in Brussels in two weeks to finalize a new rescue package that could total 120 billion euros.

The “Austerity Measures” were to continue until Greece gets from 180% of GDP as debt to 120%. The assertion is that Greece amounts to an existential threat to the Euro zone:

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble called for quick action on new emergency loans to Greece on Friday in an address to the German parliament.

“The situation in Greece and Europe is serious,” he said, adding that the danger of Greece defaulting on debt would mean danger for the whole eurozone and global economic development.

Schäuble also called for the participation of private investors in a new rescue package.

So even Germany is running out of credit to ‘re-loan’ and is looking to private pockets to pick… One can only wonder what will happen next month. Greek income from tourism is going to be way down for quite a while, what with perpetual rioting and all, and I’m not seeing a whole lot of Greek Exports in the local stores. (Modulo some very nice Bergamot marmalade at the little Greek grocers just one block down from the Iranian place… a jam to die for, BTW…)

So I’m looking at this and seeing no end in sight, really. There was an interview with a Greek family where the guy was now unemployed, their costs rose 900 Euro / month and their income dropped 300 Euro / month or so (as the “free” day care and other goodies got shut off as part of ‘austerity’) Near as I could tell, they were not going to be able to make ends meet, so if more of Greece is like that, have all the “austerity” you want, it isn’t going to work. Economic productivity is dropping along with the spending… so the tax base contracts too. Spiral decent into hell…

Which brings me to the California Question: In looking at this Giant Greek Existential Threat, I looked up some things about the Greek Language. (I learned that modern Greek is not a whole lot like Ancient Greek, that comes in a couple of significant variations itself, and what I want to read would be in Very Ancient Greek, and pretty much useless for anything else, so unlikely to ‘go there’). But mentioned in a SideBar was that there were about 10 Million Native Greek Speakers.

10 Million? Golly. California is about 30 Million last time I looked. ( IIRC, it was 34 M). So Greece is about 1/3 the size of California. And nobody is talking much about how California is on the rocks. So if Greece is such an existential threat, what is California? Well, that will have to wait for another day, but it’s something to keep an eye on. But the notion that you could fit all the folks in Greece into Northern California at our current population levels was, er, surprising. MOST of the California economy and population are in Southern California. About 2/3 there, and 1/3 here (depending on exactly where you put the ‘here’ line…)

Somehow “I think this matters”…

Weather News

There were several things weather related on the crawler. One was a Cyclone that has been sitting on top of Madagascar for a while. It was projected to leave “soon”. I’d swear I heard 2 weeks ago that it was about to hit, which may be why they spent such a long time talking about flooding. (Remember that all that water represents heat dumped at altitude.. the planet is cooling, fast, based on the water dump happening).

http://globalvoicesonline.org/2012/02/15/madagascar-the-aftermath-of-cyclone-giovanna-in-video-and-photos/

Cyclone Giovanna made landfall in Madagascar [fr] on February 13, 2012, at 20h00 local time. The cyclone is classified as a category 4, with winds of up to 194 km (120 mph) ripping up trees and electricity pylons.

Official reports have stated that there are at least 10 casualties as of now. The two main cities in Madagascar, Antananarivo and Toamasina, were out of power for long stretches of the darkest Valentine’s Day yet in the country.

Somehow I think the death toll is going to be rising for a few days.

As a reminder, back in 2000 there was flooding in Mozambique (just across a wide channel at about the same latitude):

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/655227.stm

Thursday, 24 February, 2000, 16:33 GMT
Mozambique: How disaster unfolded
Cyclone Eline struck after widespread flooding
Hundreds of thousands of people have been made homeless in Mozambique’s worst flooding in 50 years.

It could take years to rebuild the infrastructure damaged by a tropical cyclone and three weeks of severe floods.

First off, note that “worst in 50 years”. Well, what do you expect when a 60 year long cycle starts to repeat… So the last time we swapped to the “cold phase” of the PDO / AMO (and I’ll need to find out what the Indian Ocean equivalent is and how it relates / has it swapped too) they got massive floods in the area. Yet Another Note To Self: Don’t be in the food insurance business at that latitude during a cold PDO / AMO phase…

But wait, there was more… What ELSE is at about that latitude in the S. Hemisphere?

Peru and Bolivia

Were also reported as being under continued intense flooding on the Al Jazeera crawler.

So two WEEKS ago, Peru was being flooded, and more is happening now? Oh Dear…

http://www.peruviantimes.com/tag/2012-floods/

Heavy Rains Batter Peru’s Highlands, Jungle and Coast

February 13, 2012 by Andean Air Mail & PERUVIAN TIMES · Leave a Comment

Heavy rains in Peru over the past several weeks have affected about 80 percent of the national territory, affecting hundreds of people and resulting in several deaths, daily El Comercio said. On Wednesday, the government of the impoverished region of Huancavelica declared a 60-day emergency as intense rains swept away bridges and destroyed homes,

These folks have an interesting global map of “flood risk” right now, and it sure looks to me like a band of fooding runs right over South America. I suspect that Maya “Floods in 2012″ prediction was pretty darned good. (The Dresden Codex shows water pouring from the sky in 2012… not the end of the world, but a lot of floods.)

http://weather.pdc.org/index.php/2012/02/16/pdc-global-flood-survey-7/

During La Nina episodes rainfall is often enhanced across the western Pacific, Indonesia and the Philippines and is nearly absent across the eastern equatorial Pacific. Elsewhere, wetter than normal conditions tend to be observed during December-February over northern South America and southern Africa, and during June-August over southeastern Australia. Drier than normal conditions are generally observed along coastal Ecuador, northwestern Peru and equatorial Africa during December, January and February, and over southern Brazil and central Argentina during June, July, and August. As we move into the upcoming neutral conditions, precipitation around the globe will likely tend back towards the average in general. This Map shows typical conditions during La Nina in February.

There are several areas around the globe that have experienced flooding events during the past week, including the Philippine Islands, Fiji, Indonesia, Peru, Ecuador, Mozambique,and Malawi (see details below).

Here’s an image capture of their current image:

16 Feb 2012 7 day accumulation of precipitation

16 Feb 2012 7 day accumulation of precipitation

It also looks like north of Australia is getting whacked pretty hard too.

Floods 16Feb2012 Pacific 7 day accumulation

Floods 16Feb2012 Pacific 7 day accumulation

So it sure looks to me like the Southern Hemisphere is getting drowned somewhat. We’re back where we were 60 years ago, with lots of flooding, lots of heat leaving the planet fast during summer months. And at the N. Hemisphere end, with rampant snow and cold all over the place (except in places, like California, that get the dry side of a “Loopy Jet Stream – so we’re having a bit of a drought and little mountain snow pack… just like back in the mid 70s when we were having a cold phase).

Oh, and on the crawler yesterday was that Jordan had a month of rain in 24 hours.

There have been a load of “strange and extreme” snow events reported in “tips”. I’m sure other folks have covered them. There was snow down the entire spine of Italy. Venice had the canals start to ice up. On the news tonight was the end of Mardi Gras in Venice. The ice was gone, but everyone was WELL bundled up… But the one that caught my eye was the snow in Tripoli.

http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20120206/world/Rain-and-cold-with-no-chance-of-snow.405474

Has a nice picture of it.

The Libyan capital, Tripoli, enjoyed a flurry of the white stuff overnight, but in Malta the Met Office yesterday dampened reports that it could also snow here.

Snow is rare, but not unheard of in the Libyan capital.

An Italian website yesterday raised the possibility of snow falling over Malta as extreme cold weather over Europe heads south. .

Rome has been covered in a blanket of whiteness – the heaviest snowfall the city has seen since 1986… but the prospect remains so close, and yet, so far.

Yes, folks in Malta pining for the snow… (Wonder if they have any fjords?…) But wiki.answers.com says it HAS snowed there, some rare times:

Snow is almost unheard in Malta. It fell briefly in March 1877,February 1895,January 1905,March 1949 and February 1962 always with little or no accumulation on the …

So if it DOES snow in Malta, well, then we know it’s not warming… (That 1962 is about the same time it snowed in my home town, that almost never gets snow… Hmmm… 50 years ago…)

And the news crawler about Europe? Said “More Snow” this week but likely to clear up some next week.

So is likely a nice time to “Cherry Pick” a snow extent picture from somewhere this week, especially one centered on Europe.

The Pattern

So what do I see in the pattern of all this?

Warm season places having more ‘water cycle’ and faster water cycling. More heat leaving the planet DURING the hot season. Then when the cold pole swaps, the polar vortex is Damn Cold as descending air. The cold hemisphere gets frozen. BUT, with a ‘loopy jet stream’ (at least in the N. Hemisphere) so some places get “abnormal warmth” as the warmer equatorial air is sucked up further poleward than usual. That means, too, that places like California, where the descending Canadian Air gets slewed off to the East by the Rocky Mountains and the prevailing winds, get a dry time of it. All indicating, to me, that the lower solar activity has caused a thinner atmospheric height, faster heat cycle, colder descending polar vortex, loopy jet stream (stronger Rossby Waves) so some places get droughts, and a whole lot of excess rains (perhaps a bit out of place) as the convection / precipitation bands get displaced.

I think that observation would benefit a great deal from a review by a professional weatherman, but I also think it’s not too shabby as it stands.

In Conclusion

This, to the extent it is correct, implies lower crop production from a combination of things. Drought in some places ( like California and Texas), too much rain and flooding in others, and cold and snow in yet other, especially northern European / Asian locations. We transition from a generally benign and mellow state, to a more stormy and volatile state. It also looks to me like we get stronger winds and more wind damage too. All this argues for higher food prices and lower supplies. (Not necessarily more profit for farmers, though, as they are faced with the typical farmers dilemma: “When the prices are good, it is because crops have failed, so you have not much to sell.”

All in all it’s looking to me like the Maya have a better clue about what to expect (at least in South America) than the present computerized gameboy “Climate Scientists”. It is also looking like we’re likely facing some significant bad times ahead. Right now we’re supposed to be near the hot part of this particular 11 year sunspot cycle. To the extent that’s true, the next decade is likely to be very cold. There is a lag time in all this, though. It can take many hears for the warmth or cold in the equatorial Pacific Ocean to propagate all the way up to Alaska. So what’s hitting the Equator now may still have some time to reach the more poleward areas. All in all, I would not hurt to dig up a 1950 almanac somewhere and see if “everything old is new again”.

As I remember it, there were some mighty cold winters in North Korea about then… I’m also remembering a significant tendency to Central Valley California flooding about 1955-59, trailing off into colder and drier in the early ’60s-70s.
http://geochange.er.usgs.gov/sw/impacts/hydrology/state_fd/cawater1.html

lists California Drought in 1943-51 (just about the time the warming of the ’30s to early ’40s ended) then floods in 1950 (Kern and American River basins only) and 1955. So several of the last years were sparse on rain, then last year was lots, now we’re back into a drought. I guess the question becomes: Is this 1943, or 1951? I suspect it will take a pattern match on PDO and solar cycles to sort that one out…

Drought 1943- 51 Statewide 20 to 80 Simultaneously in effect for entire State, 1947- 49. Most extreme in south.
Flood Dec. 1955 Northern two-thirds of State. 10 to 100 Deaths, 76; widespread damage of $166 million.

Those numbers, 20 to 80 and 10 to 100, are deaths…

At any rate, if anything similar happens this cycle, it looks like there is a drought / flood ‘whipsaw’ that happens just a little ways into the cooling phase. Not looking forward to that…

Welcome to the 1950s. Break out the history books and the umbrellas, and make sure the water storage is working.

I’ll just leave with this one Australian note. Not from a news crawler tickle, nor from the precipitation maps above. Just a general “Is Australia getting the same pattern?” websearch:

http://www.focus-fen.net/?id=n270146

Australia flood crisis deepens
04 February 2012 | 06:35 | FOCUS News Agency

Sydney. Australia’s flood crisis deepened Saturday as authorities braced for waters to peak in Queensland where one woman is missing after being swept away while elsewhere thousands remain stranded by the surge, AFP informs.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard said eight military helicopters would help in search, evacuation and resupply missions in the eastern state, where days of heavy rainfall have prompted hundreds of evacuations and dozens of rescues.
“The helicopters will be available to assist in rescue operations as required until the immediate crisis has passed,” Gillard said in a statement.
In the inland Queensland town of Charleville authorities are on alert amid fears a temporary levee will collapse as the Warrego River continues to rise, flooding the whole town.
The weather bureau’s Paul Birch told the ABC the situation was “touch and go” as the water will be “rushing in quick over the levee”.
“If it does that you find it tends to erode out part of the levee fairly quickly. So then it will just open up the river into town — it’s quite catastrophic,” Birch said.

So looks like Australis isn’t in the news so much, not for lack of flooding, but due to the even larger floods elsewhere.

Wonder where we can find a Mayan Weatherman…

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in AGW and Weather News Events, Economics, Trading, and Money and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

47 Responses to Crawler News Bites

  1. Ian W says:

    I wonder if anyone has a picture of a flooded Australian desalination plant?

  2. Larry Geiger says:

    It’s interesting to me that there is almost no one in Greece. Of those 10 million Greeks, 5 to 6 million of them live in Athens. The rest are spread about here and there.

    When we think of nations in our heads, I think that our tendency is to smooth them all out. It’s good to look at the actual size and population of those countries and remind ourselves how big/small they really are sometimes.

    It seems to me that I remember Japan and California being similar in size but there are 127 million Japanese and 37 million Californians.

  3. adolfogiurfa says:

    @E.M. Well, a very interesting and detailed analysis. It seems that things are going “against the wind” of Al Baby´s predictions (in special the “lack of water” and droughts everywhere). It reminds us of William Hershel´s observation of Wheat prices and Sunspots, etc.,etc.
    Journalists see these event as “catastrophes”, but nature is always trying to stimulate life and reproduction.
    Well, this is what 2012 is all about, then “buy more popcorn and watch” (though it seems it´s gonna get wet).

  4. Another Ian says:

    E.M. Those Australian floods were in our vicinity.

  5. R. de Haan says:

    Drudge Report headlines related to oil an Iran:

    IRAN CUTS OIL TO UK, FRANCE…

    Saudi Arabia CUTS Oil Output…

    Oil prices hit 9-month high…

    Iranian warships dock at Syrian port…

    US, Britain urge Israel not to attack…

    Tel Aviv to get missile interceptor system…

    Obama nears his nuclear moment…

    BARRY, BIBI TO MEET…

    It looks like a perfect storm building to me…
    A perfect storm that will down the Global economy and release the fury of the The Three Horsemen of the Apocalypse

    Looks like Obama and his UN/EU apparatchik friends are gong ho to finish their business before the next elections.

  6. adolfogiurfa says:

    @R.de Haan: The FOUR Horsemen:
    Although some interpretations differ, the four riders are commonly[clarification needed] seen as symbolizing Conquest,[1] War,[2] Famine[3] and Death, respectively. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Horsemen_of_the_Apocalypse

  7. adolfogiurfa says:

    @R.de Haan: How nice! Have you watched carefully if the known devils have a tail behind? :-)

  8. R. de Haan says:

    I know one when I see one.
    I don’t know where they come from but a lot of them have hatched lately.
    Must have been a shit load of rotten eggs.

    Thank you for correcting me with the “Four Horsemen”

  9. adolfogiurfa says:

    @R.de Haan: Let us be clear: Apocalypse really means, in Greek, a lift of a veil, a “revelation from above”, and the four horse riders, as for its colors signify the steps of the alchemical “work” (Opus Magna), which in turn mean the successive steps of a psychological “awakening” of the mind to the realization/knowledge of the eternal laws which govern the universe, and the atonement of one´s spirit with them.(This, accordingly to modern physics would entail the elevation, or increase, of one´s functioning as to reach those higher frequencies as to resonate with them, so as to get the knowledge implicit in them. In such a work “Gold” is to be obtained as a result of a transmutation of lower energies input into higher energies. http://www.giurfa.com/alchemy.html
    Thus, you may think, that with a radio receiver for AM you can not tune any radio station transmitting in UHF. However in these times of change, in this APOCALYPSE, the intensity of such “station” is increased so, though we may have transmuted only a little of such energies, we can connect to such elevated source of information. This is why we are living in “interesting times”, where those, who took advantage of their evil arts and succeeded up to now to have control and power will see their power diminished as more and more people, every day, begin to awake to what some called the “perennial philosophy”, the eternal symbols representing and being those universal laws the evil ones wanted us to forget.
    Buy more popcorn…and rejoice!
    Now you realize why the fall of the Berlin´s wall, “climate gate”, the realization of lie in “science”, etc.,etc.
    It´s the APOCALYPSE!

  10. John F. Hultquist says:

    And from the Great State of Washington:

    AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
    NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SEATTLE WA
    345 PM PST MON FEB 20 2012

    IT DOES SEEM CLEAR THAT A FLOOD PRODUCING RAINFALL EVENT IS
    COMING. RAIN IN THE MOUNTAINS WILL BEGIN TONIGHT AND BECOME HEAVY AT TIMES AFTER 12Z TUESDAY.

  11. Jeff Alberts says:

    You guys need to get out more.

  12. R. de Haan says:

    adolfogiurfa (00:10:30) :

    Adolfo, I really love your optimistic view in regard to what some people call “the endgame”.

    It’s my ultimate dream that we will be able to reverse the course taken by the current establishment beating them with their own hubris.

    The European countries within twenty years after the fall of the German Wall have found themselves in dire straits and so does the USA.

    Time is running out for “we the people” to regain the control over the “machinery” that makes or breaks the life and well being of millions.

    Civility is a brittle and running thin and to many of us are still sleeping.

    And while the adversaries of the past are on the rise again the world is flooded with with tools of suppression and war.

    Even if we manage to stop the powers that brought us to the brink we will need years to undo the works of their onslaught as our financial and political system is totally broken and our economies are running on empty.

    You can’t recover a plane in a tail spin when you gain the controls it’s nose down 100 feet above the ground.

    I’m an optimist my nature and I’m stocked up with popcorn and beer enjoying the show but I’m afraid it won’t have a happy end.

  13. cm says:

    South East England is having a drought as well at the moment,they’ve been showing empty reservoirs on the BBC all day,one farmer was demanding a “national grid” of waterpipes so he could water his fields(fat chance of that happening without the tax-payer paying for it as the English have privatised their water supply).They’ve been in drought for 16 months now.It’s raining everywhere else in Britain though.
    Last year the English strawberries were ready early,nearly 2 months before mine .Their strawberries will be early this year too..strawberry futures :-)

  14. cm says:

    e.m. I’ve just read a book you may like.Every now and then i read a book that stops me in my tracks and makes me challenge my assumptions.This is one of them.I went looking for Soma and DMT producing plants in India and ended up stumped.Quite a good book.Have a look at the Soma chapters if nothing else and tell me what you think. http://www.themeaningofvedas.com/

  15. adolfogiurfa says:

    @R. de Haan (07:09:28) :So….you find the same people behind, and the same craziness. Why is it so that some seek so eagerly for power?, are they immortal?. There must be some reason behind. A small elite, a few, must consciously know what they are seeking for. Could it be possible that this is really “armageddon”, a battle between light, truth, and evil and darkness? Are these individuals trying what could be compared to cancer cells aiming at the total control of the body?. It sounds crazy, even foolish; however it follows the laws of thermodynamics: a fight between entropy against negentropy: Thanatos vs. Eros.

  16. E.M.Smith says:

    @cm:

    Well, I’m now about 1/3 of the way through “themeaningofvedas”… Sleep? Who needs to sleep? 8-0

    Looks to me like he’s got things pretty well worked out. Fits with what I know of the Taurids and other bits of geology / history. I especially liked the lambasting of the constant reinterpretation of ubiquitous burnt bones and ashes as various cremations, or burials,. or folks who liked a lot of meat… Never allowing that maybe a thriving village got cooked by a rock fall from space.

    FWIW, there are a great many plants with psychoactive components and even web pages listing them, so you likely don’t need to search the Vedas to work out that bit.

    http://www.erowid.org/plants/
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychedelic_plants

    Acanthaceae
    Species, Alkaloid content, where given, refers to dried material
    Fittonia albivenis, a common ornamental plant from South America. It is useful in the treatment of headaches, etc.
    Justicia pectoralis, DMT in leaves[1]

    It goes on to list dozens of plants with DMT in them, including a long list of Acacias, among others. Yeah “there’s a wiki for that” ;-)

    The one I find interesting is Morning Glory http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ipomoea_violacea

    The seeds of Ipomoea violacea contain several indole alkaloids with an action similar to—but weaker than—that of LSD, and for this reason have long been used by the natives of Central America for preparing hallucinogenic infusions.[3]

    WARNING: I have no idea what toxic bits might also be in any of those plants nor what the traditional ‘preparation’ methods might have been. Some, like Jimson Weed, that are common roadside plants can also kill you. Over thousands of years various cultures discovered how to use these things with modest safety, but at the cost of many lives, and minds. You have only one.

    OK, with the obligatory disclaimer out of the way… On one occasion some local prude with a power trip was ranting about wanting to ban some plant I’d never heard of. Seems some folks were experimenting with it and it had some psychoactive parts. Got me wondering what was in it, that lead to looking at other less discussed plants, that lead to the realization that if you want to prevent folks from “playing with their brains”, all sorts of things have to be banned. Even “any solvent that dissolves in the fat layer of the cell” which is how alcohol and anesthesia works (including, BTW, nitrogen at over 2 atmospheres pressure…) AND a whole laundry list of what were believed to be ‘benign’ plants. Like the Morning Glory…

    Basically, our brains can have an interesting time if any of a large number of delicate processes get out of whack, and attempting to ban that “Hardware Bug” via banning any materials that might cause it is just hyper-stupid. For starters, you need to ban propane, gasoline, most alcohols, alkane and aromatic solvents, and air under even modest pressure.

    Oh, and holding your breath…

    Sigh.

    At any rate, the plants in the wiki are tagged for DMT, so looking to see which of them grow in India (most have links in the name, so click the link an see what the range is) will likely give you more plants in India with DMT than you ever thought possible… which will likely make whatever thesis of SOMA you are working on harder to prove… Sorry about that ;-)

    @R. de Haan:

    Beck does a good job of “connect the dots”. He also has stated he’s a High Function Aspe type. I fear he is right, and hope he has just figured out how to sell books and TV spots…

    @Jeff Alberts:

    Yesterday I ‘dug over’ and planted 2 garden squares. Hand fed the bunnies some Kale as they mooched… and helped in the digging… Oh, and saw a baby bunny taking a bit of sun! So I may soon have more mooches for whom to plant a garden… I think I ‘get out’ enough.

    Today I’m planning to turn and plant at least one more. Then start on relocating the “Compost Pile” (that has turned into a bamboo stack… didn’t break it up enough and mix into the soil enough, so it’s just a weathering pile of 3 inch diameter stems. I swear, if you want to sequester CO2, just plant Bambusa Oldhami timber bamboo. Every year or two I cut down about a 1/2 cord of the stuff (lucky most of that volume is leaves and air). So now I have THREE piles of it. Each a couple of feet high and wide, and about 10 feet long ( I cut them to that length from the 20 to 30 feet tall…)

    I need to find a faster way to recycle the stuff, or take out more of the Bamboo faster… It’s about double what I usually set as max right now, so I need to do a double thinning… but have no place to pile it… And, this being the approach to spring, it’s started sending up new stems… As the size depends on the established stand for energy supply, they are about 4 inch diameter… That’s about 3 inches of ‘wood’ and 1 inch of hole in the middle.

    “Oh Dear”…

    Yeah, I get out enough…

    (Maybe I’ll buy that reciprocating saw this year. Doing the cutting by hand with a fine bladed saw can be a bit of work… )

    @John F. Hultquist:

    Better you than me ;-)

    I’ve noticed that when the jet stream is ‘loopy’ the water load gets slammed into Washington State. A comparison of the history of flood / drought in the two places would be interesting. I’d bet the two curves are opposites…

    @Adolfo:

    I always thought the 4 Horsemen were: War, Pestilence, Famine, Plague.

    Where Pestilence is things like locusts and other critters eating everything and mold too…

    Famine and War are self explanatory. Plague was a more general meaning of ‘widespread diseases’, not just Bubonic Plague.

    When rocks fall from space, or when “The Galactic Season” turns, we have wide spread crop failures and pestilence (such things as the ergot infestations of European wheat during the excess rains of The Little Ice Age along with human plagues – the plant molds and rusts like it damp…) That then leads to famine, then inevitably ends in wars…

    Then the sun warms up again, lots of food and nice warm weather, and everything is good again for a few hundred years….

    Yeah, but LOTS of popcorn… and store it in mold proof jars…

    @Larry Geiger:

    Yeah, the low population surprised me, too. Probably some history there to work out. Lots of Greeks ended up in other countries over the centuries (like Sardinia to Italy) and the processes of W.W.I and II were not very nice either. It’s a tiny “dig here” to compare historical populations to now. Someday.

    But their small size also shows how Russia can claim to be heir to the Byzantine Roman Empire, being much larger and where the Eastern Orthodox cohort was preserved during the Ottoman Empire…

    @Ian W:

    Looks like nobody has popped a picture. Have you tried a web search?

    http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=Australia%20flood%20desalinsation

    lists several potential articles.

  17. Chuckles says:

    E.M. Your mention of the 2000 Mocambique floods brought back some long lost memories for me.
    I was developing a digital camera based aerial survey system at the time, and we loaned it to the USAid people to support the flood relief efforts in Mocambique. I must have at least several gigs of pics of a very wide Zambezi and very damp floodplains or similar on backups somewhere.

    They’ve had a very wet start to the year there. The cyclone you mentioned is just the latest of several this year e.g.

    http://nourishingobscurity.com/2012/01/27/heard-about-the-southern-african-flooding/

  18. E.M.Smith says:

    @Chuckles:

    Nice info… Wonder how far back the history of flood cycles runs down there…

  19. Chuckles says:

    I omitted to say that I love those pdc.org pics of yours above. Lot of very interesting info in there.

    Cyclone info for eastern Africa should be available, I’ll dig around a bit.
    I know eastern SA and Mocambique got hit last January as well as this one. prior to that I don’t recall anything too huge back to 2000, but it’s all relative.
    If you’re used to English rains, an African afternoon thunderstorm shower can have you thinking the world has ended.. :)

    Every year there is a bit like parts of the Caribbean though – cross the fingers and hope when the season comes around, as the weather systems trundle up the east coast offshore, until one turns nasty and swings over the land.

  20. R. de Haan says:

    E.M.Smith (19:36:09) :
    @R. de Haan:

    “Beck does a good job of “connect the dots”. He also has stated he’s a High Function Aspe type. I fear he is right, and hope he has just figured out how to sell books and TV spots…”

    Beck is connecting “the Dots” all right but totally ignores the fact that the Roman Catholic Church totally adopted the CAGW doctrine including the crap about sustainability and limits to consumption.

  21. gallopingcamel says:

    If that Greek who was complaining about not getting the $300 of “free” daycare was telling the truth when he claimed to be unemployed, he would have time to look after his own kids.

    More likely he is working in the “Black” economy like so many people in countries that have no time limit on unemployment hand outs.

    As a Brit I understand this all too well simply by hearing how the people I know personally make ends meet by gaming the system.

    If you don’t know what this kind of nonsense leads to, read “The Road to Serfdom, “Atlas Shrugged” or “The Power of the Powerless”.

  22. E.M.Smith says:

    @Chuckles:

    I have yet to fully explore the place. Those are 7 day summary maps, it would be interesting to find longer duration… IIRC Australia BOM had nice ‘rain season to date’ maps (back when I did a posting on the Queensland flood a season or two back…)

    Had some of those ‘tropical like’ rains in Florida. Suddenly it’s just dumping and it’s a minor sea, since it can’t run off as fast as it’s falling. Not at all like California where we get slow steady rain for weeks, then flood, or have a sprinkle and drought…

    @R. de Haan:

    The Catholic Church has always had a tendency to self flagellation… luckily many Catholics don’t take it all that seriously any more. But Beck is wise not to critique the Church, as it usually tells The Faithful to spurn anyone who does criticize it…

    I think the Church will swap sides with the snows…

    At any rate, with contraception use in the 90% range despite a direct Papal Decree, the followers don’t follow as much as they used to do…

    @GallopingCamel:

    Or “The New Road To Serfdom” ;-)

    BTW, on a news story last night was that as unemployment benefits ran out, millions were being put on disability for “mental stress issues”… Man, I gotta learn how to work that system… (At least as I’m now unemployed, I’m not paying for it ;-)

    I suspect a lot of Greeks are going to be learning how to “make do” real soon…

    ( I grew up in a family that was all about how to ‘make do’ and I can live on nearly no income, if needed. It’s surprisingly easy. I’ve also seen folks who can’t cook food unless it comes in a package labeled “Burger King”… Shared a house with a guy once who needed help heating canned ravioli. Making a meat and mayo sandwich was about his limit…)

    At any rate, when your economy is largely based on shipping and tourism, it’s a bad idea to be having riots…

    BTW, saw a clip of a Rio Tinto mine in Australia using Autonomous Trucks. The whole pit had ONE human in it (he was running the large shovel).

    That tech is now a ‘done deal’, so you can bet it will be rapidly going global. They have an autonomous train in the works too. They have a 1/2 dozen folks in an office 1200 km away with monitors to make sure nothing does bad things, though…

    So, what’s the difference between 1200 km and India? Not Much.

    So anyone who drives a mining truck or train can figure his job is going to a robot, monitored by some guys in Hyderbad Real Soon Now.

    That’s what happens when Unions strike too often, raise wages too high, and put too much ‘social welfare’ into the paychecks. Just eliminate the paycheck…

    I suspect the ‘push’ to a ‘smart roadway’ has a lot less to do with traffic jams and a lot more to do with a ‘preparation for autonomous long haul trucking’… but that’s still a decade or so way, I’m sure…

    Also you can figure that autonomous combines, ploughs, tractors, etc. are going to displace farm workers. (After Caesar Chavez unionized California Grape Pickers, some folks converted to non-grape crops, and now we have automated grape picking machines…) The retail industry wants ‘RFID tags’ in everything so they can cut the checkout clerks. It’s a short step from there to having bins pre-loaded with goods, shipped into country from China, placed on the floor by drones that just move display-boxes at 2 am…

    Rioting about things and striking is going to lose it’s ‘punch’ when a whole lot of folks have no economic import…

  23. That story about folks being able to obtain disability benefits when their unemploment checks ran out may be highly significant.

    This kind of abuse can gobble up huge amounts of money it is not reined in.

  24. cm says:

    Hi e.m.
    I run a Gardening business(thats my excuse ;-) and my front garden looks like a pharmacopia.Once you start looking for DMT you start to find it everywhere. Phalaris Arundinacea is the students favourite just now for DMT and a few years ago it was being touted as the plant to clean up contaminated soil.(never did hear how the trials turned out)I grew Morning Glories (Kniolas Black) from seed to seed in my front garden this year after 5 years of trying(they usually get to a metre tall then rot),ive got about a pound of seed in the fridge from them that i know for sure aren’t coated with anything but my tastebuds stopped my curiosity years ago,they’ll be getting planted up and sold.(this year i’ll be trying to grow “flying saucers”)..My favourite houseplant (been growing them for 10 years) are Mimosa Pudica plants and they’re DMT producing too but once you’ve grown them and stroked the leaves a few times then you won’t want to chop up the roots.I once sold 200 of them at a car boot sale in 4 hours.Everybody loves them.
    I have several candidate plants for Soma as a hallucinogen but endogenous production of chemicals like DMT(especially in the Pineal Gland) is a more interesting area for me..
    Erowid is a good site for information about all drugs ( i smile when i read about the experiences of coffee on people trying it for the first time.I’ve always drunk coffee for as long as i can remember so i can’t see the wood for the trees ,so to speak.Then i think of the old “Coffee Houses” in old London .”Coffee Houses” like “Jonathan’s Coffee House” where the modern stock market originated.They were all high on coffee..lol ..)..
    I was wondering what you thought of the meteor glass being rubbed on sheepskin idea.That’s a new one for me.Would glass react as he says it would?
    Anybody got some meteor glass and a sheepskin they could lend me?i’ve got a bucket of water and a rock. :-)

  25. E.M.Smith says:

    @cm:

    You can get various jumping / flowing and the occasional spark out of dust that is electrostatically charged (glass or not). But it mostly ought to just cause silicosis of the lungs if you were around it much…

    While the argument that the ‘fights in the sky’ and the historical descriptions of the gods looks like a reasonable fit to reality; the notion that powdered glass is the drug in question seems wrong to me. (Unless it was tainted with heavy metals and gave you heavy metal poisoning..)

    I’d be more inclined to think it was some other plant… Folks from ‘the stone age’ were very familiar with a lot of rock dusts. I have trouble imagining them being impressed with anther one.

    Then again, rumor is that the Muslims worship a bit of stone from a meteor impact long ago too. Oh, and there is a known ‘green glass’ deposit in the Sahara that is believed to be from a meteor strike / event.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4779482.stm

    The heat from this impact may be responsible for the extensive field of “Desert Glass”, yellow-green silica glass fragments found on the desert surface between the giant dunes of the Great Sand Sea in southwestern Egypt.

    So if you want some, it’s still laying out there, in quantity…

    http://perigeezero.org/treatise/Enigmas/silica/libyan_desert_glass/index.html

    has a nice map picture…

  26. Jason Calley says:

    @ cm and E.M.
    Cm, thanks for the link to the interesting soma (and other) info. I was puzzled also by the idea that some sort of meteoric glass was an ingredient in soma. I will not claim to be an expert on meteoric glass, but I do, in fact, have a collection that has some valuable pieces, and have been on a few hunts out in the field looking for samples.
    Very briefly, any available meteoric glass would likely be in one of two broad types: either impact glass, or tektite. Impact glass (for example, “Darwin glass” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darwin_glass ) is a fairly well explained product of local rocks being melted by a local meteor impact. Crash, bang! Impact glass! Impact glass is usually full of dirt, debris and bubbles, and while high in SiO, contains other minerals as well. Not too much mystery. Not so with tektites! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tektite Tektites are somewhere above 99% pure SiO, essentially 0% water, and few or small bubbles. They also have rather obvious melt marks that seem to be from high speed travel through the atmosphere. The purity and lack of bubbles effectively rules out impact as being the immediate cause of tektite formation. You may posit (and most scientists do) that an impact melted rocks and dirt and simultaneously blasted them above the atmosphere to re-enter as tektites. This explains the aerodynamic melt lines, but the purity and lack of bubbles are problematic. Anyone who figures out how to get all the little bubbles out of a mass of very viscous glass (especially in free fall!) during the short time between meteoric impact and falling to Earth, can probably make a million dollars by selling the process to glass makers.) Quite simply, while there are many lines of evidence that point toward an impact explanation for tektites, there is no known way for an impact to produce such a purity of SiO and a lack of bubbles. So, what caused tektites? No one knows. An alternate theory is that lunar volcanoes spat molten rock into space (and a hydrogen gas powered lunar volcano could theoretically reach lunar escape velocity) and the already pure SiO fell to Earth. No one knows. A friend of mine once did electron-microscopy on tektite slices. He claimed to have found nanobacteria in them. I don’t believe it… but no one knows! There are other mysteries… The Muong-Nongs which have tektite-like glass but have dirt (not just rock) inclusions… One of the things which I have determined is that no matter what you think tektites are or where they came from, there is almost always at least one or two exceptions!
    As for E.M.’s Libyan Desert Glass, it certainly looks like a tektite, but the color is a clear straw color unlike all other tektites. Of course there are those pesky moldavites which have a clear green color. Experts disagree whether Desert Glass is an impactite or a tektite. No one knows. (By the way, a bit of a brag here…I have a wonderful 500 gram specimen of Desert Glass, marvelously clear and nice fluting of the stone. Market value is in the range of $5 per gram. I paid three dollars total for it. Bought it from a professional mineralogist and museum curator who was not as knowledgeable as he thought he was. So much for the unfailing competence of authorities!)
    This site: http://www.tektitesource.com/ has some great info and pictures of all types of glass. Note that they have a category called Tibetanites. http://www.tektitesource.com/Tibetan_tektites.html This is still controversial, but I first heard about these stones some 14 years ago which chatting with some Tibetan Buddhists. The verbal descriptions sounded like tektites, and the important part (to me!) was that there was a myth behind them. I was told that a certain Monk had battled a sky dragon and that in the course of the battle these stones had rained down. Wow! An indigenous story that links possible tektites with an eyewitness account of a fall, all within relatively recent times! Wish I could tell you more, but that is as close as I can get to any kind of glass production near India and near recent time.

    Back to soma. One of the things that caught my attention was one of the names for the soma base, “the eye of Vrtra”. I was reminded of a certain class of Australite, the “flanged buttons”. Look at the pictures here: http://www.tektitesource.com/flangedbuttons.html Not cheap, and as far as I know, chemically the same as any other form of Australian tektite. Still, they do look like eyes! I am unaware of any other tektite strewn fields with similar flanged buttons, but I have not looked closely.
    So… if you want some tektites, they are not hard to find, at least not hard unless you are looking for some particular variety, like Georgiaites, or the flanged buttons. By far the most common tektite is the Indochinite. There are gobs of them on eBay and they do not cost much at all – five or ten dollars perhaps. Here is a pretty one: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Best-Meteorite-INDOCHINITE-TEKTITE-76-Grams-Impactite-/370503428844?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_2&hash=item5643b9aaec

    Buy one. Grind it up. Rub it on sheep skin. See what happens!

    As for any mind altering chemicals of either impact glass or tektites, I honestly cannot think of how that would be possible – but my lack of an idea does not mean that there is nothing there. The darn stuff is just about as inert as anything you could find.

    I wonder… are there any natural sources of lithium available to ancient India? The soma stone is described: “Soma was often found on stones and in water and was brought ceremoniously to the place of yadnya. It was available in various colours such as blue, green, red, and black.” While there are meteoric glasses in both green and black, I do not know of any reds or blues. Now, look at the various stones which contain lithium: http://www.google.com/search?q=lithium+stones&hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=g90&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&prmd=imvns&source=lnms&tbm=isch&ei=86JGT8e2GMOhtweAiP2lDg&sa=X&oi=mode_link&ct=mode&cd=2&ved=0CA4Q_AUoAQ&biw=1046&bih=730 They come in all colors.

    Remember the quote: “Soma used to run astray making a lot of noise and emitting (Jyotis) sparks of light, as it fell into water.” Now watch this video of lithium in water: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRKK6pliejs
    And, of course, lithium salts are one of the oldest of the modern psychotropic drugs. I think some mineral of lithium has perhaps a better fit as a base for soma than meteoric glasses.

  27. Jason Calley says:

    Hmmm… None of the meteoric glasses have any lithium to speak of, but the C1 chondrite meteorites have at least a higher level of lithium than expected from comparison to solar abundances. Has anyone ever heard of a meteorite with high lithium content? Maybe even metalic lithium or lithium carbonates?

  28. P.G. Sharrow says:

    “Soma” black stones from areas of of the upper Punjab. Em,… Very rare, bought them from traveling traders………. Black tar opium? maybe extended with dirt or clay. Wouldn’t be the first time that drug traders extended their product, gave it a special name with a special story.
    Opium and hashish were among the first crops ever cultivated and were grown in this area. pg

  29. Jason Calley says:

    @ P.G. “Black tar opium? maybe extended with dirt or clay. Wouldn’t be the first time that drug traders extended their product, gave it a special name with a special story.”

    Ha! I like the way you think… :)

  30. E.M.Smith says:

    OK, you’ve got me thinking…

    Could it be so simple? Mix the ‘magic plant juice’ with some powdered “heaven rain solids” and market? Hmmm….

    @Jason Calley:

    There is another “type” of glass that is postulated to be the source of the green glass. An “air burst” melting the surface sands. The power of an airburst, such as Tunguska, is about like a nuclear explosion and you get the same results…

    So imagine a flash melted SiO2 mass under extreme pressure. I think the air bubbles would be forced out. (or into solution)

    So, no impact and no ejection. Just intense radiative heating and pressure. Then suddenly back to ambient pressure and radiative heating done. Just like under nuke tests were similar glasses form..

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trinitite

    Per Lithium:

    As I understand it, we only get lithium in very special places where slow evaporation concentrates it from rain washed mountains. Not the kind of separation process likely to happen in space.

    So while I could see a lithium salt glass as a possible, I don’t see how the stuff would concentrate in space rocks.

    BTW, always liked the water in Lithia Park Oregon ;-)

  31. Jason Calley says:

    @ E.M.
    “So imagine a flash melted SiO2 mass under extreme pressure. I think the air bubbles would be forced out. (or into solution)
    So, no impact and no ejection. Just intense radiative heating and pressure. Then suddenly back to ambient pressure and radiative heating done. Just like under nuke tests were similar glasses form..”

    Well….It does seem reasonable… at first! :) But in the real world, it does not seem to happen that way! Look at this piece of trinitite —
    Trinitite: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Trinitite_from_Trinity_Site.jpg
    and now look at this piece of tektite –
    Moldavite: http://www.bookofgems.com/wp-content/uploads/wpsc/product_images/moldavite-4.jpg

    My initial reaction when I heard of the “missing bubbles” problem was that it couldn’t be THAT difficult to produce a fast glass with few bubbles. Maybe some acceleration, plus some heat, plus some, uh, I dunno… it must have a simple explanation! However, the more I looked in to it, the more difficult it became to imagine a way to get rid of them. Molten glass is so viscous that the d$#@d bubbles will not migrate out of the mass fast enough. In addition, the smaller the bubbles are, the more slowly they move. If you try pressuring the glass with shock waves, the bubbles may compress, but they still do not move out fast. As soon as the over-pressure is gone, the bubbles spring back. If you could put the molten glass in a high gravity field (or accelerate) the bubbles would move faster – but still not fast enough to be gotten rid of during either a impact, a high altitude flash or an atmospheric reentry. I was being quite honest when I said “Anyone who figures out how to get all the little bubbles out of a mass of very viscous glass (especially in free fall!) during the short time between meteoric impact and falling to Earth, can probably make a million dollars by selling the process to glass makers.” Commercial glass makers could use such a process to great advantage.

    The bubble problem is one of those simple sounding things that just gets worse the longer you think on it. Luckily (for me!), you, E.M., consistently come up with some remarkably insightful ideas on all manner of subjects. I would go so far as to say that if anyone can come up with a solution, it would be you — but this is a tough one.

    OK, darn it, you have me thinking about this subject again! One last guess. Maybe meteoric glass is a non-Newtonian fluid and its viscosity drops dramatically under certain (insert wild hand waving here) extreme states of (not yet observed in the lab or during nuclear tests) pressure and/or temperature. Or something… :)

  32. P.G. Sharrow says:

    At one time. while hiking the crest of Eagle Peak, I found a curious incrustation on the old rocks along the high points. Clear glass like “deposits” on top of old basaltic stones. Actually glass like material boiled out of the rock by lightning strikes. pg

  33. E.M.Smith says:

    @Jason:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Trinitite-detail2.jpg

    Looks like it has little gas in the top layers. Then again, it’s hard to tell if tiny bubbles might be in it.

    Perhaps the answer is even simpler.

    What would happen if, instead of over a bed of gas infused sand, a “nuke like” asteroid impact happened over a bed of solid rock… Now you get the flash ‘pressure fusion’, but without any time for gas to diffuse IN…

    Don’t know what all kinds of ‘glass’ can be made from the various kinds of solid rocks in the world, but there’s a lot of different kinds of rocks and some of them ought to make nice glass…

    Perhaps even those nice Basalts like P.G. Sharrow described in lighting strikes… (neat, that…)

  34. Pascvaks says:

    FWIW – (from the Peanut Gallery, no harm intended;-)
    Explosions have three key pressure phases: 1.) very high, 2.) very low, 3.) very high.
    The missing ‘critical’ chemical components to make it happen, found in only certain types of impactors/bursts would be added to the mix by it, not the ground right? Maybe a type of rock with ‘x’% h2o, etc.?

    Might the answer to the riddle be in the sum of the parts, and not just in the temp. and pressure of the burst? We don’t find this everywhere, right? Just in certain locations?

  35. Jason Calley says:

    @ P.G. “Clear glass like “deposits” on top of old basaltic stones. Actually glass like material boiled out of the rock by lightning strikes. ”

    I have seen worm shaped fulgurites from lightning in dirt, but never seen one on bare stone. Very neat! Reminded me of the ancient stone forts with fused rock walls. http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Vitrified_Forts There have been lots of explanations for those melted rocks, and lightning has been proposed as a solution more than once, though I am not convinced.

    @ E.M. and Pascvaks
    Maybe (as you are both implying) everyone is just taking the wrong approach and there is some factor, something odd here, that we are leaving out. OK, tektites are rare in that they only appear in certain specific places around the globe, maybe a half dozen good locations over the last 30 million or so years…This means that whatever the cause is, it does not have to be something that happens for most impacts, but only during some unusual circumstance. They pretty clearly have traveled through the air at great velocity, and were in a molten or softened state at the time. They are very pure glass and have almost no bubbles or water. They are believed to be associated with an impact site in the general neighborhood. (By the way, the Georgia tektites (which are very rare — even for tektites!) are believed to be from the impact that formed Chesapeake Bay.) Ok….Ok…

    One more theory!

    Consider a comet in a grazing or at least close orbit around the Sun. Over a period of time, with each close solar passage, the volatiles cook out, leaving a mass of rock and debris. Suppose this comet happens to have a high percentage of SiO, or suppose that the other minerals there are at least more volatile than SiO, and hence cook out, sublimate, or are dense enough to separate out from the SiO. Every time the comet swings by the Sun, the rocks heat and melt together, slowly annealing over and over for a period of millennia. Any bubbles in the glassy material have not just seconds or even minutes to diffuse out, but days or weeks at a time — depending on how long the comet remains hot on its surface before retreating to deep space. This process is repeated many times. Eventually, the comet swings close to Earth, and as it is approaching us it passes the Roche limit and begins to shed the loose material on its surface. Even closer and the comet itself begins to break up. As the comet (which may be relatively small by now, having been baked for centuries and now partly disassembled) enters the atmosphere, the small bits flying along in proximity slow more quickly and drop in a strewn field near — but not symmetrically around — the final impact of the main body. The small bits, mostly glasses with a long history of heating, melting and reheating, are ablated, remelted and take on aerodynamic lines as they fall toward the surface. The largest lumps are still molten when they reach the ground and incorporate local dirt (The Muong-Nong tektites) before they cool.

    This scenario may seem unlikely — and it is! On the other hand, we are looking for a scenario that only happens once every few million years. This explains the purity, the lack of water, the lack of bubbles, the aerodynamic flow lines, and the association with impact sites. It also explains the very odd Muong-Nongs. How could this be tested? For a normal meteor strike (at any but a very shallow impact angle) debris is explosively projected in all directions. For this scenario, the tektite strewn field would most likely be slightly uprange of the impact crater. This might be worth checking…hmmmm.

  36. P.G. Sharrow says:

    Another strange observation, Summer before last, I was out in one of our gardens and spotted small deposits on things and the ground. it appeared to be white or clear material that had fallen like “warm” snow flakes or actually snow puff balls. Close examination looked like very small beads (1/16″ and smaller) as well as fiber. These puff balls must have been up to 1/2 in diameter judging by the resultant deposits and were scattered over about a 50 by 100 foot area. Not much material over all, just enough to notice. It did not evaporate or melt over several days but did disappear due to wind and weather. It was “glass like” pg

  37. E.M.Smith says:

    @P.G. Sharrow:

    And it was not a plant fibre? Any volcanoes up wind? :-)

  38. Scarlet Pumpernickel says:

    http://fukushima-diary.com/2012/02/black-substance-found-in-chiba/

    [ So they found a bit of black fluff with very low radiation levels. Doesn't seem to mean much and has no context. BTW "black substance" is about as common and generic as "white substance", and about as useful a bit of description... I have a load of "black substance" under the shingles on my roof, and more holding up the rims of my car... Perhaps you could do the bit of "digging" that finds if someone has identified any other properties for this stuff, or assigned any meaning or significance? As it stands, it's just one guy in Japan putting his paranoia on a web page. -E.M.Smith ]

  39. P.G. Sharrow says:

    @EMSmith: I examined the material closely with a X10 lope that I had at hand. It did not appear to be vegetable or animal. It came from above moving north to south. An oval of deposits about 100 feet long and 50 feet wide, that appeared to be clear glass like, with fibers. I could only see one set of deposits, but this was on the edge of brush and trees to the west so I have no idea how unique it was. I have never observed this before. pg

  40. E.M.Smith says:

    @P.G. Sharrow:

    Then my guess would be a incoming space rock melted and had a ‘steam explosion’ like event making it into “fluff” that solidified and drifted to earth.

    Not too hard to imagine, really. One end of the energy curve is ‘melts by hangs together as blobs of glass like stuff’ other end of the energy curve is ‘massive explosion fireball’. In between is ‘melts and deforms into tiny bits of different physical consistencies’ from sand / pebbles to ‘fluff’… Might be very rare, but over the course of 5 billion years, some rare stuff is going to happen..

  41. Pascvaks says:

    PG-
    I have a feeling NASA might knock on your door any minute, with all the “junk” there is up there trickleing down about us it could have been originally something very TS. On the other hand, it could have fallen off something ~6mi up that was due to land at LAX or SEA but kinda fell off accidentally. The size of the impact area is curious too. (Bet Hollywood has already started production and you won’t get a penny;-)

  42. P.G. Sharrow says:

    I agree, It could be most anything. We are under the direct air path of LAX to SEA. I haven’t seen any strange creatures, and as to strange people, I have been accused of being one of the strangest around. 8-) pg

  43. Jason Calley says:

    @ E.M.
    “Might be very rare, but over the course of 5 billion years, some rare stuff is going to happen..”

    :)

    Darn! I wish I had said that!

  44. Jason Calley says:

    @ P.G. There have been similar reports before of strange fibers, so-called “angel hair.” http://www.google.com/search?q=sky+fall+angel+hair+fibers&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

    The famous Charles Fort (from whom the term “fortean” comes) wrote about it as far back as 1919 in his book “The Book of the Damned.”

    A more recent conjecture about it is here: http://chemtrailsnorthnz.wordpress.com/2010/02/04/polymer-fibers-rained-from-the-sky-in-stratford/

    While I have no explanation about the older falls, the recent ones have occasionally been credited to military experiments with anti-radar chaff.

  45. P.G. Sharrow says:

    @Jason; as the material did not sublimate in several days and it was very small blobs and I saw no angels (ufos’). I don’t think it was “angel hair”. It could have been partly melted fiber glass from space debris, or meteor dust. pg Interesting links!

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