Category: Earth and cosmos

green issues, geology, geography, space, astronomy


storm doris

Above the Words of Wisdom header in the sidebar is sometimes put the ‘occasional pithy observation’ and the one this morning asked whether Doris might possibly disrupt the by-elections, also today.

Distant Relative [of, though not currently residing in these fair isles] asked about Doris and I answered that it was the 80mph wind currently ripping through our neighbourhood.

Dearieme opined: “80 mph is a pretty ordinary winter blow, isn’t it? They’d probably call it a ‘breeze’ on Shetland.”

That’s true, although it is still counted as Beaufort Force 12, [a picture of such above left and below].

Looking out of the various windows of my exposed abode, one comes up against the ‘sailor’s exaggeration syndrome’ [cf. the fisherman’s length of fish syndrome].… More here ...

South Africa [2]

contrast sa

Perceptions or reality? This is the issue we’re grappling with on South Africa. Hard to argue with a South African who says he was able to walk about Joburg with impunity decades ago, kept to safe areas after dark a couple of decades ago and today would not venture out unless necessary.

Hard to argue because how would you or I know unless we’d lived there?… More here ...

Californication [2]

Donald gives them rain and what do the ingrates do with it?

The engineers had to reduce the flow over the spillway to keep the top half from eroding away itself and undermining the integrity of the reservoir. But this inability to shed water from the reservoir faster than it flowed in from the recent rainstorm meant that the reservoir overflowed for the first time in its 48 year history.

Starting Saturday morning, water started spilling over the “emergency spillway,” which is actually just a 1,700 foot long lip of the lake that empties out onto a mountainside, kind of like the edge of your bathtub. The purpose of the Emergency Spillway is to drain the lake before it overflows the earthen dam itself, which could erode the dam on it’s less hardened down river side, which could conceivably lead to various other bad things, ultimately resulting in, more or less, no more Sacramento.

More here ...

Californication [1]

garlic farm

One for the vampires

Christopher Ranch, which grows garlic on 5,000 acres in Gilroy, Calif., announced recently that it would hike pay for farmworkers from $11 an hour to $13 hour this year, or 18%, and then to $15 in 2018. That’s four years earlier than what’s required by California’s schedule for minimum wage increases.

“I knew it would help a little bit, but I had no idea that it would solve our labor problem,” Christopher said.


# All this will do is raise the price of fresh vegetables. Don’t you know how much it costs to feed a family of four?

# You hit another reason why its hard to get seasonal labour these days. Hardly anyone provides on-farm accommodation any more.

# I suspect one of the reasons is that farmers are nervous about having illegals on their property. Much easier for the government to do an immigration raid on a farm if they know illegals are staying there as well as working there.

More here ...


When is an island not an island?


This was not the first time the island had appeared in this patch of ocean. The island was first reported to have broke surface during the First Punic War, in the 3rd century BC, and since then it has appeared and disappeared four or five times. It made a brief appearance again in 1863, caused by fresh eruption, before sinking back into the sea.

Since then, Ferdinandea island or Graham island, has been lying 8 meters below the sea level —within scrapping distance of a ship’s hull. Ships know to avoid it, but to those unfamiliar with the waters, the sunken island may appear as a hidden threat. In 1987, an American pilot on the way to bomb Libya mistook the submerged peak to be a submarine, and dropped depth charges on it.

Just love those submerged islands.… More here ...