Tuesday, June 21, 2005

The Time Travel Dilemma

Time travel is one of my favorite subjects. Now it seems that a new twist in the possibilities has been announced. Time travel has now been theorized to be possible, except that one cannot change the past. I first read the news at About.com in the Paranormal section with this article from NewScientist.com.
Then, another article from BBC News was listed in MSN’s Alan Boyle’s Cosmic Log. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4097258.stm This announcement, if it could be proven, ruins many good science fiction books, stories, and movies. So much for the good old days when dreams and imagination were not the truths of reality. What will happen when there is nothing left that scientists cannot “prove” in some way? What will become of our tales? What will become of us? Will the classic SF become nothing more than ridiculous humor?

More Cover-ups?

I recently watched the National Geographic program “Megalightning.” As the title indicates, the show covered newly discovered lightning above the clouds which have been named Sprites. This lightning was first believed to be shooting up into space from large storms on earth below. However, upon further inspection, Sprites were discovered to be firing down in a multitude of filaments and, as the atmosphere becomes heavier, the filaments intertwine into one massive bolt into the clouds. This results in a POSITIVE lightning bolt.

Most lightning is negatively charged. Passenger jets fly above the clouds and are designed to withstand an average negative-charge lightning strike. However, according to the NG story, the positive charge lightning is up to 10 times stronger than negative lightning and commercial planes have no protection from this type of strike. Therefore, according to the story, a lightning strike from a positive bolt would result in the destruction of the plane. This may account for some of the “mysterious” plane crashes in the past.

The question was raised regarding the shuttles. The hull of the shuttle is not as thick as that of a commercial airliner, therefore, a positive lightning strike could and would be just a deadly. It seems though that NASA disregarded the information presented to them from the scientific teams investigating megalightning. The teams concluded that megalightning strikes with odds of one in one hundred. To me, that sounded like pretty good odds of being struck, but apparently NASA didn’t think so. The teams findings were also backed by a former Cold War agent who developed and used equipment that was designed to listen for and locate atomic or nuclear blasts (testing) from other nations around the world—particularly our mortal enemy—the USSR (Russia). Using a modified version, this former government employee was able to detect the sub-audible sounds made by Sprites. Since thunder is the sound of lightning, Sprites HAD to have a sound. In the program, the sound—a low “thump” sort of sound (to me)—was played.

This low “thump” was to be heard again later in a much more sinister context.

In a horrid twist of irony, the shuttle Columbia was testing for megalightning. As the shuttle descended to earth, a man in San Fransisco was snapping photos of the entry. Within seconds, he heard of the shuttle disaster. Upon examining his photos, a purple bolt intersected with the shuttle trail and an obvious illumination appeared to the shuttle itself. The amateur photographer went to the media, which in turn released an article the next day. NASA was all over this! They sent an agent to confiscate all of the photos and the camera for investigation.

Well, as with all things government, there was an official determination. I remember that first was the excuse that the camera was defective. When the camera company retaliated by saying that their camera had no such defects, the story quickly changed. The purple squiggle was now caused by the photographer wiggling the camera when he took the picture. (After the shuttle’s demise, I remember there was speculation that equipment for this testing was exposed and attracted the lightning. This is probably not true in any way. But, who knows?) I am including a link here http://www.thunderbolts.info/tpod/2005/arch05/050223columbia.htm of an article from Thunderbolts.info which has the SF photographer's photo for you to see.

Here’s the clincher. The former Cold War agent ran a tape of the shuttle’s return through his equipment. Just seconds before the explosion, a low “thump” very similar (in fact, I would say the same) to that of a Sprite could be heard. The tape then went on to include the audible grumble of Columbia exploding.

So, I have to ask (or do I?) if this is just another one of our illustrious government’s cover-ups? Did the San Francisco photographer capture the true culprit to Columbia’s destruction? Did coincidence play a mighty hand in showing us mere mortals that the heavens are filled with things that we are still unable to fathom or care to wholly admit?

My answer here is yes to all of the above.

If you have the opportunity to do so, watch "Megalightning" on the National Geographic channel and make your own opinions. Let me know what you think.

Monday, June 20, 2005


I remember my grandmother telling me, “Don’t be two-faced.” That meant to not say one thing and do another. However, this article has nothing to do with that. First, from KOIN.com. http://www.koin.com/news.asp?RECORD_KEY[news]=ID&ID%5Bnews%5D=3072
Then, from KATU.com. http://www.katu.com/news/story.asp?ID=77861

A kitten with two faces! How horrible is that? How will it know which way to go? How will its vision be affected?

My thoughts wander first to the effects of nature on this poor creature. Is this simply a birth defect, or is this the result of something more overlooked such as contamination by water or air? I thought of other recent anomalies posted in the news from around the world. There was a two-headed turtle that I read about, and there have been numerous reports of two-headed or multi-legged frogs all across the globe. Radiation and continual waste dumping in streams and rivers are known to have had a significant effect on wildlife. But what about humans? Will there soon be photos posted of two-faced babies? My guess is probably not. That would be too horrific to see and face and ultimately admit to. Besides, I don’t think the Bush administration would want the public to know—at least not right away. It would become a rare birth defect, I’m certain.

Cover-ups. Ya got to love ‘em.

Tsunamis and Rivers

When the recent earthquake rang out from the ocean offshore of California, my first question to my husband was, "What is the effect on the river is there is a tsunami?" Since we live and I work next to the Columbia River between Washington and Oregon in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge, I thought the question was a legitamate one. My husband, however, found the question ridiculous. "We live too far up the river," he said. "And the water would need to make it past the dam." (He is referring to the Bonneville Dam.) He scoffed at me for asking such a question.

But I didn't think his dismissal was valid, so I went in search of the truth. Click this link http://www.uow.edu.au/science/eesc/research/Various%20research/tsunami/q_a_tsun.html to read what I learned, first of all, about tsunamis from the University of Wollongong, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

What I found most interesting was this passage: "Tsunami treat rivers exactly like long harbours. When a tsunami gets into a tidal river or estuary where water depths can still be tens of meters deep, the wave can travel easily up the river to the tidal limits or beyond. Along some coasts, tide limits may be tens of kilometers upriver, and residents living along the riverbanks may be totally unaware that a threat from tsunami exists. If the river is deep and can allow the penetration of the wave upstream, the height of a long wave can rapidly amplify where depths shoal or the river narrows. At these locations water can spill over levees and banks, flooding any lowlying topography. NOAA is likewise aware of these facts and in its publication Tsunami! The Great Waves warns, "Stay away from rivers and streams that lead to the ocean as you would stay away from the beach and ocean if there is a tsunami."

For clarification, NOAA is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. I think they would definitely know the results of tsunamis on rivers. Therefore, I will take it that the Columbia River could be affected by a tsunami.

I presented my findings to my husband. Although I must admit that the wave would probably not make it past the Bonneville Dam, there still could be some repercussions felt. Our home is 200 hundred feet above the river, so I think we would be safe there. However, I work right next to the river. Without knowing what could happen at the dam, I would not want to stay at the office. Call me chicken, but it is better to be safe than sorry...or worse.

Answering Myself

I found the answer to my questions posed by...myself. With regard to the series of earthquakes in and off the shores of California, it seems that it IS just a lot of media hype. Check this link to MSN's Alan Boyle's Cosmic Log http://msnbc.msn.com/id/3217961/ which explains that the four earthquakes were not the prelude to "The Big One." So, the media will just have to lick their lips on another juicy tale, and mapmakers will have to wait for another day.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Just checking...

I thought that I had better post something. I've been too busy to get to it, but I have a few moments to jot a thought (or two). Well, I have been wondering about all the news regarding the earthquakes in California. Since Sunday, as the reports have it, there have been three. The first, on Sunday, was 5.2. The second on Wednesday was a 7.0, and now today there was a 5.3. I have to wonder if this is normal for California, or if this is all just media hype since the big tsunami in the Indian Ocean. Or, maybe this is the prelude to "The Big One" that will change our western shoreline. Without living there, I cannot comment. I like to think that it is just media hype--or at least I HOPE it is.

Thursday, June 02, 2005


Time's really flown by me. It's June, and I realized I never posted in May. Well, here I am. Although I have no Cursed Corners today, I will say that I have four stories being reviewed for publication. Hopefully, something will pan out. I need to get myself in gear and get to actively writing again. Can't publish what I don't write. I started to write a novel, but I just couldn't stick with it. I get bored too easily with the vastness of the words. However, I should apply the daily word count to my short stories. I would probably achieve a lot of stories in a short period of time if I did. So, I guess I will quit taking all of these courses and focus on the writing for a while. I'll start posting here again, too.