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Mississippi Closed Again

The BBC reports on the latest closure:

The US Coast Guard has closed a five-mile stretch of the swollen Mississippi River after three barges sank.

The barges had been pulled by tug boats when they broke loose near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, officials said. A fourth barge broke loose but was captured.

No injuries or pollution was reported, officials said.

The river has been experiencing record flooding in recent weeks, but officials said they were unsure if that contributed to the accident on Friday.

The high water has made navigating the river, one of America’s most trafficked, hazardous.

The river is filled with debris and the fast-moving current has been complicated by powerful eddies and white caps.

It was reported in other sources that the barges were carrying corn.

If a loose barge slammed into a levee or floodwall and breached it, the situation could get nasty very quickly.

May 20, 2011   Comments Off on Mississippi Closed Again

Did He Mean ‘Raptor’?

Raptor F-22

Saturday is Armed Forces Day in the US. I wonder if they misheard someone talking about an F-22 Raptor coming to a local base and thought they said “Rapture”. I’ve made that mistake myself.

It is supposed to happen at 6PM local time on the 21st, so that would have occurring on the Kamchatka Peninsula at Midnight CDT, followed by New Zealand at 1AM CDT.

Probably because I’m suspicious by nature, it occurs to me that this would be a good time for a lot of fundies to disappear with the church treasury and have the congregation accept that they were “raptured”.

May 20, 2011   4 Comments

Flood Update

Dr Masters dives into the numbers: Mississippi River flood of 2011 sets all-time flow record, but has crested

The great Mississippi River flood of 2011 crested yesterday and today, and the volume of water being pushed toward the Gulf of Mexico is the largest ever recorded on the Mississippi, said Bob Anderson, a spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers for the Mississippi Valley Division. “It’s never been this high; it’s never had this much water,” he said. “There’s just a tremendous amount of strain on these levees.” The Mississippi crested yesterday at Vicksburg, Mississippi, reaching 57.06′. This exceeded the previous all-time record of 56.2′, set during the great flood of 1927. The river crested at Natchez, Mississippi early this morning, and is now falling. The flood height at Natchez was also the greatest on record–61.91′, nearly three feet higher than the previous record height of 58′, set in 1937.

The flow of the Mississippi River past the Old River Control Structure near Simmesport, Louisiana reached its all-time highest volume on record Thursday, when the flow rate hit 2.3 million cubic feet per second (cfs). The flow of Niagara Falls at normal water levels is 100,000 cfs, so the Mississippi’s flow was 23 times that of Niagara Falls.

Dr Masters noted that South Louisiana has been in drought conditions over this past winter, so the land will be soaking up a lot of the water in the spillways, and the levees are stronger than they were in 1927 when they had been saturated by a wet winter. The current data indicates that opening the Morganza Spillway has lowered the level downstream by 1 to 3 feet.

On the Times-Picayune link they have pictures of sandbagging to protect roads and buildings from back-flow flooding around Morgan City, and the rescue of osprey chicks and eggs in nests that would be flooded.

The flow down the Atchafalaya is making crawfishers happier, as the local water levels, low from the drought, have reduced their harvest, but the shrimpers and crabbers worry that their prey will be flushed out to the Gulf. Along with the wildlife pushed into the Gulf, a lot people hope the flow will help to clean oil that was deposited by the Well from Hell out of the marshes.

May 20, 2011   Comments Off on Flood Update

The Ignorant Will Always Be With Us

The BBC reports that the ‘Rapture’ apocalypse prediction sparks atheist reaction

US atheists are to hold parties in response to an evangelical broadcaster’s prediction that Saturday will be “judgement day”.

The Rapture After Party in North Carolina – “the best damned party in NC” – is among the planned events.

Harold Camping, 89, predicts that Jesus Christ will return to earth on Saturday and true believers will be swept up, or “raptured”, to heaven.

He has used broadcasts and billboards to publicise his ideas.

He says biblical texts indicate that a giant earthquake on Saturday will mark the start of the world’s destruction, and that by 21 October all non-believers will be dead.

Mr Camping has predicted an apocalypse once before, in 1994, though followers now say that only referred to an intermediary stage.

On Sunday the followers will discover that it is a “twelve-step program’.

It is possible that it was already attempted but there weren’t 200 million suitable candidates, so it was called off.

Why would G*d schedule a major project for His only day off?

May 20, 2011   2 Comments

Friday Cat Blogging

Tonto’s Kitten Too

Friday Cat Blogging

Cheese?

[Editor: Tonto’s kitten yesterday sitting outside my Mother’s kitchen.]

Friday Ark

May 20, 2011   11 Comments