Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Links To Stuff I've Been Reading

I haven't been feeling well lately and haven't felt much like blogging, but I've been reading some interesting things I'd like to------as Rod Serling used to say on The Twilight Zone-----submit for your consideration:

• The Greensburg, KS tornado of May 4, 2007 was a F5 monster that destroyed that unfortunate town. It was also just one of several violent storms in Oklahoma and Kansas that evening. It now seems as if those storms were part of an extraordinarily rare meteorological event-----a cluster of "inland cyclones" and "super tornadoes"------that caused the parent thunderstorms to develop eyewalls, much like hurricanes, and the Greensburg tornado to reach a width of four miles on the ground! That link is to a discussion on the Stormtrack.org website; it's often detailed, and not easy, reading but is a fascinating look at the same phenomenon that may well have produced the great 1925 Tri-State Tornado. (It now seems, based upon the data gathered from the Greensburg tornado, that the Tri-State Tornado was probably a single tornado rather than a series of them.) Tornadoes are produced by super-cell thunderstorms, and it now appears on rare occasions that super tornadoes may be produced by super super-cell thunderstorms! As one of the participants in the Stormtrack discussion asks, can you imagine what a storm like this would do if it hit a populated area like Kansas City, Oklahoma City, or Dallas?

• As if that's not enough to worry about, there has been a swarm of earthquakes under the caldera of the Yellowstone supervolcano. Let's face it; we're all doomed.

• A web site called Strange Maps is worth everyone's attention!

• Don't look now, but the government of Mexico is coming apart at the seams and could collapse at any moment, producing widespread chaos and mega-problems for the United States. Think I'm kidding? The cause is the war between Mexican drug cartels and the wobbly, post-PRI Mexican government, and the Mexican government is currently losing. The Los Angeles Times is covering this situation very well. Visit that link, read the stories, ponder how long a border we share with Mexico, further ponder how open and undefended it is, and then shudder. President Obama's first major foreign policy crisis may not be in the Middle East or Russia, but instead on our southern doorstep.

• I'm so old that I remember when Caroline Kennedy used to be Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg. Behind her Senate bid is less a commitment to public service than an apparent desire to frustrate the senatorial ambitions of a former "associate member" of the extended Kennedy political clan.