Wednesday Reads: Pole Reversal, Merging Tsunamis and Malicious Joy of Epic Proportions

Good Morning, there is new information about the Tsunami that struck Japan nine months ago. ‘Merging tsunami’ amplified Japan carnage

The massive tsunami generated by the March 2011 earthquake off the coast of northeastern Japan was a “merging tsunami” — a type of tsunami long thought to exist, but seen now for the first time, scientists report.

The magnitude-9.0 Tohoku-Oki temblor, the fifth-most powerful quake ever recorded, triggered a tsunami that doubled in intensity over rugged ocean ridges, amplifying its destructive power at landfall, as seen in data from NASA and European radar satellites that captured at least two wave fronts that day.

The fronts merged to form a single, double-high wave far out at sea. This wave was capable of traveling long distances without losing power. Ocean ridges and undersea mountain chains pushed the waves together along certain directions from the tsunami’s origin.

The data from the merging tsunami is helping scientist discover why a massive wave can cause so much destruction in one area, yet leave other areas relatively unscathed.

“It was a one-in-10-million chance that we were able to observe this double wave with satellites,” said study team member Y. Tony Song, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., who presented with team member C.K. Shum of The Ohio State University.


The researchers think ridges and undersea mountain chains on the ocean floor deflected parts of the initial tsunami wave away from each other to form independent jets shooting off in different directions, each with its own wave front.


Wave heights from the Japanese earthquake are displayed here.

The sea floor topography nudges tsunami waves in varying directions and can make its destruction appear random. For that reason, hazard maps that try to predict where tsunamis will strike rely on sub-sea topography. Previously, these maps considered only topography near a particular shoreline. This study suggests scientists may be able to create maps that take into account all undersea topography, even sub-sea ridges and mountains far from shore.

Let’s stick with Japan’s Tsunami a bit more…there has been some new articles about Fukushima lately. Dakinikat posted some updates the other day, at Mother Jones they have gathered a round-up of new information. There may be some items you have missed. Fukushima Fallout | Mother Jones

  • The Tokyo Electric Power Company estimates that of 45 tons of radioactive wastewater that leaked from the plant, some 40 gallons (150 liters)  leaked into the Pacific Ocean in recent days, reports the New Zealand Herald.
  • The Japanese milk-powder company Meiji, whose factory lies within 200 miles (320 kilometers) of the Fukushima plant, recalled 400,000 cans of baby formula after discovering 30.8 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilo in the product, reports the BBC. This level is considered within the safety range, though infants and children are more susceptible than adults to lower levels of exposure, and eating radiation is worse than external exposure. Until now, Meiji had been checking waterborne but not airborne radioactivity levels near their factory, reports the New York Times—hence the “new” findings.

Give that MoJo link a go and see a few more disturbing news items on the status of Fukushima nine months after the earthquake and tsunami.

Oh, and since the word fallout is fresh in your mind, did you hear the latest about Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona? Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio Failed To Investigate Over 400 Sex Crimes, Including Molestations Of Undocumented Children | ThinkProgress

The AP reports that, over a three-year period ending in 2007, Arpaio “inadequately investigated” or in some instances didn’t even work more than 400 sex-crimes reported to his office. The cases “include dozens of alleged child molestations.”

In El Mirage, Arizona, where Arpaio provided contract services, he failed to follow through on at least 32 reported child molestations — with some victims as young as 2. Many of the children were undocumented immigrants. According to an El Mirage detective, Arpaio’s people essentially “put their feet on the desk, and that was that”

El Mirage Detective Jerry Laird, who reviewed some the investigations, learned from a summary of 50 to 75 cases files he picked up from Arpaio’s office that an overwhelming majority of them hadn’t been worked. That meant there were no follow-up reports, no collection of additional forensic evidence and zero effort made after the initial report of the crime was taken.

Of course, the fallout from this latest outrage is making a few headlines in the left leaning blogosphere. Arizona Outrage at Latest Sheriff Arpaio Fiasco, Calls for Resignation « SpeakEasy

In truth, reports on Arpaio’s extraordinary incompetence and oversight on sexual abuse cases have been well-documented for months — an ABC15 investigation earlier in the spring noted that “children who had the courage to come forward and say they were molested, raped or abused were simply ignored by Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office detectives.”

As part of a groundswell of outrage, U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) called for Arpaio’s immediate resignation in a released statement today:

“This nothing-to-see-here attitude is the worst kind of unaccountable arrogance, and Mr. Arpaio needs to step down before any more damage is done to public confidence in our law enforcement and justice system,” Grijalva said. “The picture emerging — no follow-up, no investigation, no prosecution, no justice and a shield of silence after the fact — is not how we conduct law enforcement in this country. Enforcing laws against violent crime, whatever a victim’s legal status, is mandatory and not something we leave to individual communities as an open question. Selective enforcement undermines respect for our brave legal officers and is rightly not tolerated by the public.

“Mr. Arpaio might love headline-grabbing crackdowns and theatrical media appearances, but when it comes to the everyday work of keeping people safe, he seems to have lost interest some time ago. He should give the affected families a sense that justice is finally being done by taking the honorable route and resigning now.”

Arpaio is facing a federal court hearing on racial profiling and civil rights abuses…

Fox News is silent, a quick search on their website shows zero news reports about this extreme example of Arpaio’s continued racially motivated abuses. I know the lack of media coverage on this should not be such a shock, but we are talking over 400 sexual assault and abuse cases that were ignored specifically due to racism.

Moving on, because I am so inflamed about the Arpaio stuff, that I fear my fingers will melt the keys on the laptop as I type my disgust.

This year marks the last reunion for Pearl Harbor veterans in Hawaii…70 years since the attack, and many people who experienced it first hand are gone… Fewer Veterans to Remember Pearl Harbor Day –

Hugh Gentry/Reuters

Emerie Aresenaul, front, with other Pearl Harbor survivors.

For more than half a century, members of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association gathered here every Dec. 7 to commemorate the attack by the Japanese that drew the United States into World War II. Others stayed closer to home for more intimate regional chapter ceremonies, sharing memories of a day they still remember in searing detail.

But no more. The 70th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack will be the last one marked by the survivors’ association. With a concession to the reality of time — of age, of deteriorating health and death — the association will disband on Dec. 31.

“We had no choice,” said William H. Eckel, 89, who was once the director of the Fourth Division of the survivors’ association, interviewed by telephone from Texas. “Wives and family members have been trying to keep it operating, but they just can’t do it. People are winding up in nursing homes and intensive care places.”

Harry R. Kerr, the director of the Southeast chapter, said there weren’t enough survivors left to keep the organization running. “We just ran out of gas, that’s what it amounted to,” he said from his home in Atlanta, after deciding not to come this year. “We felt we ran a good course for 70 years. Fought a good fight. We have no place to recruit people anymore: Dec. 7 only happened on one day in 1941.”

The fact that this moment was inevitable has made this no less a difficult year for the survivors, some of whom are concerned that the event that defined their lives will soon be just another chapter in a history book, with no one left to go to schools and Rotary Club luncheons to offer a firsthand testimony of that day. As it is, speaking engagements by survivors like Mr. Kerr — who said he would miss church services on Sunday to commemorate the attack — can be discouraging affairs.

This reminded me of the The Civil War, and the moving images that were filmed of the reunions at Gettysburg. Here is the New York times article commemorating the last reunion of the Blue and Gray… at the 75th Anniversary of the Battle at Gettysburg. At the end of this post I’ve embedded a few videos that show film of the 75th  Anniversary Reunion of Gettysburg. The last one has the only recorded rebel yell…it is fascinating stuff. (Nope, does not sound like the Duke Boys at all, yeeeehaw.)

Two links left for y’all, some have heard about 2012 and the idea of the magnetic poles reversing in a rapid manner, causing chaos and destruction. The end of the world, unless you are lucky enough to get a seat on one of the “arks.” But scientist are saying that  Magnetic pole reversal not a sign of doomsday | Space | EarthSky

Scientists understand that Earth’s magnetic field has flipped its polarity many times over the millennia. In other words, if you were alive about 800,000 years ago, and facing what we call north with a magnetic compass in your hand, the needle would point to ‘south.’

A schematic diagram of Earth’s interior and the movement of magnetic north from 1900 to 1996. The outer core is the source of the geomagnetic field. Graphic Credit: Dixon Rohr / NASA

This is because a magnetic compass is calibrated based on Earth’s poles. The N-S markings of a compass would be 180 degrees wrong if the polarity of today’s magnetic field were reversed. Many doomsday theorists have tried to take this natural geological occurrence and suggest it could lead to Earth’s destruction. But would there be any dramatic effects? The answer, from the geologic and fossil records we have from hundreds of past magnetic polarity reversals, seems to be ‘no.’

This is a very meaty post, so the best thing to do is just click the link and read the rest of the article.

Alrighty then…we have come to the part about the malicious joy of epic proportions.

The Germans have a word for it, Schadenfreude.

Here is my take on it, you all have seen Antiques Roadshow…yes? Well it all started in England, and as an example of the kind of twisted humor the British are known for, the fans of the show in England don’t watch it for the high value finds some people have lying around their attics. They watch it for the gotcha moment, when someone has a priceless armoire, that would have been worth millions, if only they didn’t refinish it and take all that “ugly” patina off.  I put the ugly in quotation marks, because the malicious joy only gets better when it is revealed that the person knew they were going on Antiques Roadshow and refinished the item specifically to make it look nicer and worth more money.

So, in Japan this week, there was a chain reaction car pile up that makes my sadistic laugh bellow at the crash’s magnificence…

Video: Huge Ferrari pileup is world’s most expensive crash – Autoblog UK

No less than eight Ferraris were involved in a supercar pileup that could very well be the most expensive in history, in car damage terms.

A Lamborghini Diablo, a Nissan GT-R and three Mercs were involved in the bizarre smash on the Chugoku Expressway, south-west Japan, this weekend.

Only cuts and bruises are reported, but the damage is estimated at 3.9 million US dollars.

The accident was completely avoidable, it seems one driver got cocky and tried to overtake another vehicle…he lost control on the wet road (Yes, it was not the best of conditions anyway…) and slammed into the barrier, causing the car to bounce back into the traffic of luxury cars.

Picture gallery is at the link.

Well that is it, be sure to check out the videos below and have a wonderful Wednesday!