Sunday, March 13, 2011

Where is the Ship?


~ Herman Melville

Of Note: After the ship in Moby-Dick was rammed by a sperm whale, these famous lines were uttered in disbelief by the ship's captain. Similar lines have probably been repeated over and over by the people of Japan, who have been upended by the cataclysmic 8.9 earthquake and resultant tsunami. Thousands of pictures of the devastation are available on-line. One by one they show the impact of nature's forces upon man-made structures, many which are totally demolished. The debris is piled up in mountains of destruction as onlookers stare in dismay. Japan has been strengthening its defenses for another big earthquake following Kobe in 1995. Much had been accomplished such as beefed up warning systems, public education and buildings. But nothing could prepare a country for one of the largest tremblers in history accompanied by a tsunami created so close to land that those on shore had no warning of the impending catastrophe. Our hearts, thoughts, energy and prayers go out to the people of Japan during the coming months of recovery and rebuilding. It is at times like this that we realize how connected we really are.

Today's Weather Report: It is another warm day at 34 degrees Fahrenheit though thick clouds envelope the sky. On days like this, the snow melts slowly but steadily. When it gets thinner, one rain can take most of it out. On another note, NASA reported that Earth actually sped up by 1.6 microseconds because of a shift in Earth's mass following the mega-quake in Japan. Interestingly, the larger quake in Sumatra in 2004 caused a 6.8 microsecond shortening of the rotation. A microsecond is one-millionth of a second; so, we are not talking great amounts here, only enough to keep a scientist at NASA busy.

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