Friday, 13 October 2017

09:21 – Friday the 13th falls on a Friday this month.

It was 55.5F (13C) when I took Colin out at 0625, overcast and drizzling. Barbara is heading for the gym and supermarket.


Until June of this year, news articles about the Yellowstone Supervolcano were pretty much background noise other than on some alt-right sites. Then came the news of a big cluster of small to medium earthquakes in the vicinity, which geologists reassured us were nothing to worry about. Then NASA announced that they planned to drill holes to allow them to cool the magma and reduce the probability of a catastrophic eruption. Or increase it, depending on who you listen to. Then came the news that some scientists are now saying they believe a catastrophic eruption is imminent, not just in geological terms, but on a human timescale. They’re saying an eruption may occur today, or perhaps 50 or 100 years from now. They’ve discovered that processes that precede an eruption and were formerly thought to occur over a period of centuries in fact occur over a period of only years to decades.

I’m starting to see MSM articles like this one on Fox News: Yellowstone supervolcano could blow faster than thought, destroy all of mankind

Leaving aside the hyperbole common to all headline writers, it’s pretty clear that a lot of people in and out of government are getting concerned. I’m not, simply because there’s nothing I can do about it. Depending on the scale and duration of an eruption and the amount of ejecta, such an eruption could range from catastrophic for the continental US and extremely serious for the rest of the Northern Hemisphere to an extinction-level event.

Even a modest eruption–if you can use the word modest in relation to a supervolcano eruption–could cover most of the continental US west of the Mississippi with anything from half an inch to three or four feet of volcanic ash. (Even here in Sparta, we could expect 1 to 3 mm.) The Northern Hemisphere would see another Year Without a Summer, if we were lucky. It could easily be a decade, a century, or more without a summer. The planet’s albedo would increase dramatically, and that would probably trigger the next Ice Age. Even if it didn’t, the grainbowls of the central US and Canada would be out of production for years to decades. Scores of millions of people would die from the immediate effects of the eruption, and the follow-on effects would kill hundreds of millions and possibly billions more.

And that’s assuming a moderate eruption, call it VEI 7.5. One on that scale occurred about 70,000 years ago and resulted in a bottleneck in the human population of the planet. By some estimates, we were down to less than 1,000 individuals remaining alive.

But Yellowstone has the potential to produce a VEI 8+ eruption. Call it 1,000+ cubic kilometers of ejecta. That would be a true extinction-level event, and there’s nothing that can be done to prepare for it. Other than relocating off-planet.

52 thoughts on “Friday, 13 October 2017”

  1. “… there’s nothing that can be done to prepare for it. Other than relocating off-planet.”

    … and, sadly, humankind has dropped the ball on that; all our eggs truly are in one rather fragile basket.

    Sorry, couldn’t think of a third metaphor to mix in.

    Interesting incident in Brussels today – a building evacuated and a handful of people hospitalised because of “noxious gas”. I said to Mr Denis, “I bet someone has mixed bleach with something and produced chlorine….” Seems I was spot on.

  2. Something else that has been off the radar….

    From CDC by way of one of my newsletters:

    The looming flu pandemic

    Last month there was a small swine flu outbreak in Maryland as hundreds of pigs
    in at least three counties tested positive. Worse, more than 40 people contracted
    H3N2v swine flu after visiting the pig exhibits at the three county fairs. Several
    people were hospitalized and several pigs died.

    Incidents like these where influenza is transmitted from animals to people are
    always on the radar for public health ofcials, as they can quickly spread without
    prompt identifcation and containment. Small outbreaks like this one happen
    regularly all over the world and sometimes result in a serious health scare, such as
    the most recent pandemic swine flu in 2009, which resulted in over 12,000 deaths
    in the United States.

    Pandemic influenza cannot be predicted and health offices should review pandemic
    plans regularly and keep them current. The Centers for Disease Control and
    Prevention (CDC) hosts several tools to assist state and local governments including
    a guide for governors and senior state ofcials, funding guidance and national
    standards for state and local planning.

    The CDC also lists federal resources that local planners should be familiar with
    including the “National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza Planning,” “Regulations
    and Laws that May Apply During a Pandemic,” and surveillance, epidemiology,
    laboratory, mitigation and communication information.

    Flu monitoring and surveillance tools on the CDC website include weekly monitoring,
    flu activity maps, interactive surveillance data and vaccine information. This is
    updated regularly for the beneft of public health and health care facilities both
    during the regular flu season as well as a flu pandemic.

    n

    Here is a link to the original pdf, since the links in the article don’t carry thru.

    https://content.govdelivery.com/attachments/USDHSFACIR/2017/10/13/file_attachments/895725/The%2BInfoGram%2B-%2BOctober%2B12%252C%2B2017.pdf

  3. If anyone is interested in a docu-drama about a Yellowstone eruption, I can recommend Supervolcano (2005), which is available on Netflix streaming. I watched it expecting the science to be completely bogus, but in fact they nailed it. I found out later why. The writers checked and rechecked everything from the science to the dialog with actual vulcanologists and then fixed their stuff according to what the experts told them.

  4. Re: flu

    I just saw something the other day that I’d known and somehow forgotten. The Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 killed something like 50 to 100 million people, but most of those who died were killed not by the virus but by bacterial pneumonia.

  5. … and, sadly, humankind has dropped the ball on that; all our eggs truly are in one rather fragile basket

    … and the tail is wagging the dog for what little space program we do have.

  6. It’s been clear since the beginning of the STS program that NASA ate our space program.

  7. “… but most of those who died were killed not by the virus but by bacterial pneumonia.”

    That is really the main cause of all types of Flu deaths. Flu is basically an upper respiratory disease. There is no thing such as “stomach flu”. If you have the shits you have something else, which can be in addition to the flu.

    Flu shots are not very effective by themselves. You also need to get the pneumonia shots. And if you are a senior, 65 and above, you need the high dose flu shot. Even then you are looking at about a 40% efficacy.

    Check your supply of N95/N100 masks. With the recent fires here in the West, supplies are low and prices have soared. Beware of fakes.

    References:
    Flu Shot
    https://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/vaccine/qa_fluzone.htm
    https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/flu/expert-answers/fluzone/faq-20058032

    Pneumonia Shots
    https://www.cdc.gov/features/adult-pneumococcal/index.html
    https://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/news/20150203/seniors-need-2-pneumonia-vaccines-cdc-advisory-panel-says#1

    Senior Vaccinations in General
    https://www.vaccines.gov/who_and_when/seniors/index.html

  8. Ah, pneumonia, what fun. I’m apparently susceptible, having had it at least twice, maybe three times. Viral pneumonia is especially fun, since there’s f* all that you can do about it.

    I get the flu shot religiously every year…

  9. Had pneumonia 4 times one year. I was doing a lot of traveling, under stress, not sleeping well…

    Never got a flu shot. Haven’t had flu in decades.

    n

  10. It’s been clear since the beginning of the STS program that NASA ate our space program.

    The last time we took the tour in Houston, we got the stink eye from the guide when my wife and I kept giggling during the Mars sales pitch.

    He brought that upon himself. We paid extra to see the legacy control room, and, instead, the NASA guy took us to the propoganda presentation in front of Orion room prepping for the first launch of the capsule.

    They aren’t even remotely serious about Mars with SLS/Orion.

  11. WRT Yellowstone:

    “…Yellowstone is one of the best monitored volcanoes in the world, notes Michael Poland, the current Scientist-in-Charge of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory for the U.S. Geological Survey. A variety of sensors and satellites are always looking for changes, and right now, the supervolcano does not seem to pose a threat.

    “We see interesting things all the time … but we haven’t seen anything that would lead us to believe that the sort of magmatic event described by the researchers is happening,” says Poland via email, adding that the research overall is “somewhat preliminary, but quite tantalizing.”

    “For its part, the U.S. Geological Survey puts the rough yearly odds of another massive Yellowstone blast at 1 in 730,000—about the same chance as a catastrophic asteroid collision.”

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/10/yellowstone-supervolcano-erupt-faster-thought-science/

    WRT flu and pneumonia: Just had my annual flu shot on Wednesday; nobody said anything about a super-shot or pneumonia shot, but I’m not 65 yet and one thing I’ve learned from the VA is they don’t tell us anything unless we ask. So many guys out there completely unaware that they entitled to benefits and living in miserable and often painful squalor. My first year up here I had just moved after a lifetime in MA, remarried, bought a house, started a new job (in what turned out to be a “sick” state office building, and my dad died of early-onset Alzheimer’s at age 71. So I caught the flu, then bronchitis and then pneumonia. Very unpleasant.

    WRT to space and settling other planets, etc.; I seriously doubt it. We’re not going anywhere. This is it. Make the best of it.

    Sunny w/blue skies and very windy, with temps around 58 and we’re expecting warmer temps and showers through the weekend and into next week. My new med has not arrived yet and I am working on taxes, VA paperwork, and cleaning up and organizing the office here, which has kinda got neglected. Wife is on downstairs cleanup and will visit her horse this afternoon out in the boondocks to our east. I’m also gonna try a couple of new exercises for chits and giggles, see if there’s any result at all.

  12. I’m also gonna try a couple of new exercises for chits and giggles, see if there’s any result at all.

    Don’t forget to have hot young babes walk on your back. Important note: that kind of massage is totally different than letting people walk all over you.

  13. Then NASA announced that they planned to drill holes to allow them to cool the magma and reduce the probability of a catastrophic eruption.

    Nope. There was a workshop on planetary protection that included supervolcanos in the list of disasters, along with asteroid/comet impacts. They brainstormed ways to prevent a supervolcano from erupting and drilling to siphon off heat was one idea. The side effect was a lot of steam that could generate electricity. The “plan” was no more than one idea from a number of planetary protection schemes. Nobody is going to do this right now.

    The original story is clear. All the rest of the media jumped on this and decided NASA was going to drill near Yellowstone. http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20170817-nasas-ambitious-plan-to-save-earth-from-a-supervolcano

  14. Seriously though, stress can cause health issues. I’d say that the changes in your life, getting out around strangers, ongoing princess drama, not having your wife around, and the tax things are all probably contributing to the onset and worsening of your symptoms. Get the taxes done. You’ll feel SO MUCH better. From experience. Not having that hang over you will be a relief that you really can’t appreciate until it happens.

    n

  15. Ah yes, the “family constellation.” We were learning about this at school recently. Me and my three brothers have the one sister. She’s been a major problem for most of her life so far but a couple of years ago got hit with a nasty cancer and had to have surgery and do the whole chemo thing. Which my youngest brother also had to do.

    Meanwhile, yeah, organizing the tax paperwork and preparing to send it, or have it ready for, the Tax Advocate’s Office and/or a tax lawyer. I anticipate feeling a lot better (temporarily) once I get that done, but will probably feel shitty again when the IRS screws us anyway.

    WRT hot young babes walking on my back? Not a chance around here; they’re all overweight pigs and all burkha’d up now for the brutal cold weather. There were hotties at the school walking around but I’m old enough to be their grampa, and they’re mostly still teenagers, so I guess we can rule them out, eh?

  16. You’re a college dude now, OFD. You should be able to go to the Physical Wellness teacher and get hot babes who’d walk on your back for class credit.

  17. Er, no, wait. That kind of class is probably freshman or sophomore level, meaning the hot babes in the class would still be teenagers. Curses, foiled again!

    BTW, did you notice the microaggression, above? Freshman? Mwa-ha-ha!

  18. So many micro- and macro-aggressions here every day; it’s why I keep coming back! Gives me an adrenaline rush!

    And how would you know there’s a Wellness teacher at the college? Wanna bet there’s someone there for Diversity, too? I have no idea, really; the building where I have all my classes is off by itself and near the President’s house, kinda isolated. No need for me to visit anyplace else there, really, other than one or two visits to the Campus Safety Office to get my student ID and parking sticker. A pain for me to get to with just the cane, previously, too. Took forever, most of it uphill.

    Suction cup balance handholds arrived just now via FedEx and guess what? They don’t fucking work! Won’t stick to any wall so far, a bust for the bathroom and top of the main stairs. Swell. Don’t wanna screw in regular handhold bars if we’re gonna get the VA to pay contractors for professional-level work. Next up will be the toilet support stuff, which is actually the priority. I can sorta manage the shower; getting in is not too bad; getting back out is tricky.

    Getting old can certainly blow.

  19. WRT to space and settling other planets, etc.; I seriously doubt it. We’re not going anywhere. This is it. Make the best of it.

    Some years back, while still milspec, I was at an airport with a small group collecting money to “Send Jane Fonda To The Moon.” Real story. I gave them $10. I still want to send that hag to the Moon.

  20. Suction cup balance handholds arrived just now via FedEx and guess what? They don’t fucking work!

    If you need hand holds in the shower/tub, yes, have a pro do it. Especially drop in shower units. You’ll need long screws to reach anchor points. The suction cups suck ass. Trash them.

  21. Dunno, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with teenage girls, as long as they come equipped with a volume control. I mean, they do provide nice scenery (nothing too NSFW – just a Google search).

    Granted, I have two boys, no girls. The wife feels outnumbered.

  22. Thanks for the inspiration Brad. Around here I’ve always felt outnumbered. A week from tomorrow I gain an SIL (not that he hasn’t been around for the last four years). Still right now it Bridezilla and the Mother of Bridezilla. Thor save me!

  23. Isn’t Mr SteveF due for a teenaged girl in the not-too-distant future?

    Yes, in two years, eight-and-a-half months. But who’s counting. My plans for having a job at the South Pole are in progress. They may be pointless, however, as the brat’s been acting like a teenager for a couple months now.

  24. I have 2 years, 9 months, 7 days. Not counting neither! Her younger brother & sister are there to egg her on.

    She’s already pushing boundaries, which I completely expected. I plan to keep her busy until she turns 18. She shouldn’t have time to be bratty. If she does, it will be on her own time.

    Starting as late as I did, I had time to watch my siblings make their own mistakes and try to learn from them. I’d like to think I haven’t been too far wrong so far. We’ll see.

  25. I’m starting to see MSM articles like this one on Fox News: Yellowstone supervolcano could blow faster than thought, destroy all of mankind

    “Ashfall (Ashfall Trilogy)”
    https://www.amazon.com/Ashfall-Trilogy-Mike-Mullin/dp/1933718749/

    Highly recommended young adult speculative fiction. My favorite genre since that is my mental age according to the wife.

    Whatever you do, stay out of the FEMA camps. They are to be run by low bid government contractors.

  26. Thanks for the inspiration Brad. Around here I’ve always felt outnumbered. A week from tomorrow I gain an SIL (not that he hasn’t been around for the last four years). Still right now it Bridezilla and the Mother of Bridezilla. Thor save me!

    Sounds like this is already a done deal. I hope future SIL has a job !

  27. Sounds like this is already a done deal. I hope future SIL has a job !
    Yes and a good one. So does she. Both have degrees and no student debt. Just bought a $340K house. Daughter moved out in June to new house. I thought even I might have a tough time over that but so far so good. Now if we can all survive this next week.

  28. Sounds like this is already a done deal. I hope future SIL has a job !
    Yes and a good one. So does she. Both have degrees and no student debt. Just bought a $340K house. Daughter moved out in June to new house. I thought even I might have a tough time over that but so far so good. Now if we can all survive this nest week.

    We have a winner ! And good luck on keeping 20-somethings from shacking up in their home.

  29. “WD shows off market-ready MAMR tech for monster hard drives”
    https://techreport.com/news/32682/wd-shows-off-market-ready-mamr-tech-for-monster-hard-drives

    “Western Digital showed off a a prototype hard drive with a potentially revolutionary new energy-assisted magnetic recording technology called microwave-assist magnetic recording (MAMR). The company says the new tech could potentially be ready for market by the end of 2019, and it could allow the manufacture of 40 TB hard drives by 2025. For context, WD is now currently offering 14 TB drives to datacenter customers and 12 TB drives are just entering the general market.”

    Spin Torque Oscillator ?

    I feel like this is an April 1st news release.

  30. “Trump Takes Second Slice Out of Unconstitutional Obamacare Law”
    https://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2017/10/13/trump-takes-second-slice-out-of-unconstitutional-obamacare-law/

    “Trump doesn’t have a single thing to do with the current status of Obamacare or its origins. But if the Democrats are running around saying it’s a mess but they’re not gonna help fix it, why even talk to them? Because the fact of the matter is the Democrats single-handedly designed and built what amounts to a halfway house for socialized medicine. And now it’s on fire. It’s burning down, as per the design. To deny that is to lie.”

    I always thought that the subsidies to the insurance companies and the insurance buyers were unconstitutional. The Constitution is very clear that each Congress must pass a spending bill for ANYTHING to be spent. That is why Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are reauthorized every year.

  31. I always thought that the subsidies to the insurance companies and the insurance buyers were unconstitutional. The Constitution is very clear that each Congress must pass a spending bill for ANYTHING to be spent. That is why Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are reauthorized every year.

    IIRC, an initial pool of subsidy money was authorized, but the Republicans never passed a spending bill for the subsidies beyond the first year. In retrospect, the Democrats obviously thought they would lose seats but be able to return to power in 2013 and pass socialized medicine.

  32. I looked on Amazon for Supervolcano (2005) and they only have Region 2 discs.

    A bit of Google and I finally found a useful torrent after several pages. Some place called “Torrentday”. If you want the the file name of the .torrent, a mix of letters and numbers, or the file (111kb) itself, let me know. Off line as this isn’t my website. Click my name and look for the contact page link near the bottom of the page. I just tried searching on the file name and Google went right to the page.

    It comes as .avi files ready to burn to two CDs. So, I’ll do that and hope the Blu-ray player knows what to do. This assumes I remember how to burn a CD. If not, it plays fine on my PC. But, 24″ screen here compared to 55″ and surround sound in the living room. …

    uTorrent wants me to update. I’m using version 1.82, it’s up to 3.xx and now improved with ads. Yea!!! I’m good, what I have works. 🙂

  33. All I can say today is:

    Thank you President tRump! Thank you for sticking a knife in the back of The Dumbocrats and Libturdians everywhere. It’s hilarious watching them scramble to justify removing The Great tRump with the 25A. Impeachment not working out? lol! More to come. Bust out the Moxie and prets, Deplorables! Commie/SJW/BLM head are going to burst soon.

  34. NASA used to be run by nerds with a cause; now they are run by bureaucrats whose job seems to be validating Mr. Pournelle’s observation about bureaucracies. 🙁

  35. I always thought that the subsidies to the insurance companies and the insurance buyers were unconstitutional.

    Constitution? Are you serious? Are you serious?

  36. http://yournewswire.com/las-vegas-eyewitness-dead/amp/

    Gets muddier and murkier every day. A 28-year-old woman suddenly dies. Yeah, OK. Sure, it happens.

    Would have had to expend several thousand rounds to hit that many people in the time he allegedly took, with most of them missing entirely, of course. And the expended shell casings on the floor, amirite? Not in the pics, they’re not.

    That’s just ONE problem with this whole mess. Many, many others.

  37. If nothing else, the current administration’s various activities and things they say, along with the various MSM responses and relentless attacks, are surely entertaining. And will be until nuke warheads start flying somewhere. But if we’d had Field Marshal Rodham in there, that would have started almost immediately.

  38. Hollyweird is cracking open at it’s pus filled seams. I expect a lot more people will come forward. Corey Feldman, the actor, has talked about Hollyweird pedos for years, himself being abused, and it was all ignored. Perhaps we’ll see multiple suicides. Pills, head shots, off the roof, etc. I hope someone comes forward with some serious shit on BJ and Cankles Klinton and their multiple trips to “pedo island.” A fitting end for two scumbags.

  39. I’m thinking we should let Little Rocket Man nuke Hollyweird and that pedo island (using low-yield battlefield tactical nukes) and maybe neutron devices on Mordor, Manhattan and SF. Then we’ll let bygones be bygones and thank him for the favor.

  40. Mr Atoz, I’d gladly contribute $10 to send that hag to the moon! Best laugh all day…

    Speaking of laughs, this may be old news, but it was new to me a couple days ago and I’ve still got the giggles.

    Q. Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
    A. The rooster.

    Yep, Friday the 13th fell on a Friday this year. Dear old JEP. I wonder how many lives he changed?

  41. I’m thinking we should let Little Rocket Man nuke Hollyweird and that pedo island (using low-yield battlefield tactical nukes) and maybe neutron devices on Mordor, Manhattan and SF. Then we’ll let bygones be bygones and thank him for the favor.

    Add in whichever city prostitutes itself sufficiently to land the Amazon “HQ 2”.

    Kick the whole thing off with a low yield device in the downtown core of Austin during the SXSW bacchanalia. Imagine the Uber “surge” pricing during the 20-30 minutes between the launch detection and impact.

  42. “Welcome to hell Sally-Anne…”

    Indeed. She can meet her late husband there, too.

    “OFD you might find this a familiar tale…”

    Yup. The VA is a huge bureaucracy and people and their problems often fall through the cracks; that guy sounds like he hit the perfect storm of incompetence, inefficiency and neglect. One thing we’ve learned in my little group over the years is that we have to constantly badger and harass them to get even the most basic chit done. It’s not so bad here in Vermont; we have a great medical center and and most of the folks who work for the VA go out of their way to help us, constantly. But other states face major problems; the Manchester, NH site is one nearby example, and the director of our Vermont VA Medical Center was sent there a couple of months ago to fix the mess.

    My hope as a clinical mental health counselor in the near (three years) future is to help guys like Jesse Bird and get them the stuff they need with all due speed. I recognize I’ll be facing a gigantic bureaucracy, however, but am learning how to deal with it. But we’ll see; I have a little problem of my own to fix somehow.

  43. “Kick the whole thing off with a low yield device in the downtown core of Austin during the SXSW bacchanalia.”

    I like the way Mr. Greg thinks. Simultaneous w/downtown Austin, maybe we could also lose core/college Middlebury and Burlap up here.

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