Friday, August 31, 2012

Hurricane Station Identification and test Pattern 8/31/2012 (4)


Friday  August 31, 2012

Official U.S.Navy Photograph

NEWS FLASH: Russia to Develop Naval Equivalent of U.S. Aegis Defense System

Source:  MOSCOW, August 31 (RIA Novosti)


 Naval Professionals will understand how important this development is. If you are not familiar with the Aegis System we suggest that you read up on it, this is major. We will try to find and post some basic information on the system for you right here. If successsful this move by the Bear could be a game changer.

For a basic backgrounder click here:  

Even the national media is starting to pick up the story. Here is the Washington Post's take on the story: 

Check the NEW SERVICE for additional maritime security developments we are tracking today. 


SWWBO and I are still in Montgomery, Alabama. The storm finally passed over New Orleans and now we are awaiting word on whether or not we have a standing home to go back to and if it has electricity. Its no fun living in temperatures well over 90 degrees F with inoperative air conditioning. But at least there is light at the end of the tunnel for life on the lam in surprisingly interesting and scenic Montgomery. Soon it will be back to the daily grind plus the post storm clean up. I'm over due now for Annapolis, and it looks like I'll be a bit longer on that chore.

Meanwhile time and tide wait for no man, one of the first lessons you learn in any maritime trade right along with Murphy's law. So here we go........

Today take a few extra moments and listen to the story of the Star Spangled Banner   (part1)       (part 2)

Click Above For The Story Of The National Anthem, be sure to watch both parts 1 and 2. The ending is mind blowing!

So get let's down to the day's work. Scroll Down.


USS Queen City.jpg

 Being a former pilot on the lower Mississippi and the author of a book on inland navigation rights, I pride my self on my ability to determine that a body of water is or was commercially navigable in a single glance. Of course SWWBO (She Who Would Be Obeyed)  thinks its just another indication I've "gone around the bend". SWWBO really doesn't appreciate me. But that's OK. Think about it. The readers of VOGUE voted Sean Connery( the actor famous for his portrayals of British Secret Agent 007) to be "The Sexiest Man in the World" the year he turned 70. Hell, I'm only 64, when I'm full grown I could be dangerous! We've been married 40 years, next year I'm sure she'll start to like me, if not then maybe when I'm full grown and all the other women in the world are crazy about me. Anyway SWWBO and I were eating and drinking, OK mostly drinking, down at the Maxwell Club on the Air Force Base. It got to be sort of a dare to prove my "one eyed assertion" that Montgomery had been a big cotton port. So we blew a big part of the afternoon off on a quest.

 We went to the Alabama State Archive. This place is the Library of Congress of the South with a bit of the Smithsonian thrown in for good measure. I knew if there were records, artifacts or photos that could prove my "one eyed assertion". They'd be there. What a difference between Washington DC and Montgomery, Alabama. At Washington official buildings you just about have to disrobe and endure a strip search to enter. At Montgomery I'd rate the Capitol Building and the Archive right up there with any of the great Washington edifices for both architecture and contents. But there are no crowds and you are met by a docent who just says "Hello, what are you looking for. So I told him, proof that Montgomery was once a big river port. In an instant he led me to a friendly lady who had me fill in some forms and then I was whisked into the heart of the collection, where in about five minutes flat I was looking at ancient glass negative photos of the old Montgomery waterfront lined with class A river steamers. BINGO! What a delightful place. I authored nine books that are in the card catalogue of the U.S. Supreme Court Law Library and I was refused admission to the library  because I was not admitted to the practice of law in the District of Columbia. In Montgomery I was made a card carrying researcher for free upon showing my out of state drivers license. No wonder Alabama succeeded from the union they are absolutely nothing like the people on the Potomac, really they should do it again, the cultural gulf is insurmountable.. 

 So I won my bet and SWBWO had to be the designated driver as we motored off to attend happy hour at the Maxwell Club. I was in there hoisting rum and cokes like it was 1967 again when SWBWO had her revenge. Shoving her wrist watch under my nose she reminded me that  I" hadn't done jack for work all day" and didn't I know that "work is the curse of the drinking class". I was then led by the ear out of the Officer's Club. That's how I came to be here in the motel lobby at 9  PM trying to write a blog . Meanwhile SWWBO is back in the room with total control of a bottle of white wine and giggling like a school girl. I can't wait to be full grown.

Daiwa D-Shock 170 Yards 8 Line 6 1/2-Feet Fibreglass Spin Combo (Medium)


Navy SEAL In Bin Laden Raid, Condemns Those Who Politicize Raid: 'Shame On Them'

File:US Navy SEALs insignia.png

 The hyper-link above will take you to a Huffington Post article and a 60 Minutes Video where you can get the story of the the author of NO EASY DAY straight from the SEAL's mouth. We think that politics played a role in diminishing the intelligence value of the mission, we don't care if it was a kill mission or not, and we think it's just peachy keen that Bin Laden is dead. This is probably the point where we stop following the story. But if you want it all, the whole book, it's for sale now, just click on the link below and you are at the point of sale for both book and Kindle versions..

Product Details

Product DetailsProduct Details                                               


Yachts luxury

The American Admiralty Books On Line Boat Show is being built even as you read this ! Coming to this site October 5-8, 2012; the show that pushes the marine design and concept envelope. You won't see this stuff in Annapolis or Monaco. No airline ticket needed, no cost of admission, no hotel expenses. If you have a "mouse" you have a ticket!

Click On The Book Cover Icons Above To explore the Envelopes We Are Going To Push

Previously posted last winter

The Namazu Film Festival
[item image] 

 Namazu the mythological Giant catfish of ancient Japan whose wiggling was credited with causing earthquakes and tsunamis is the name we have adopted for our on going discussions of climate change. The most immediate effect of climate change that must be dealt with in the maritime sector is of course the opening of the High Arctic to navigation. Departing a bit from our usually laser sharp focus on things maritime we said that we'd open the Namazu discussions to other changes like food security that may not appear so maritime in nature, yet it is grain exports that provide a little less than half of the cargoes for the American towboat and barge industry. Its a connected world and waterborne transport does a lot of the connection.

 The other thing that makes the Namazu School a different type of climate change forum is that we aren't concerned with the source of climate change. The entire series began with a guest blog posting describing the Namazu legend and the many ways that climate can change radically, suddenly, and without any input from man. While we debate the present situation surrounding our own influence on climate through our industrial, and transportation, and domestic consumption activities solar flares, a wide spread outbreak of vulcanism, axis wobble, ocean current changes or any combination of these and other elements can generate a massive global climate change over night. The Namazu school notes that this has happened before in the earth,s past, all of the climate change elements still exist in nature, so it can happen again. What we have been soliciting comment on is the measures that governments national, regional, and local should take to mitigate the effects of a radical and unexpected climate change. We want to focus on this vice the present arguments over what to do to reduce any effects that human activity may be having on climate change. If we are successful in neutralizing our own effects on the atmosphere, that doesn't eliminate the probability of climate change, and it can be sudden, radical and dangerous and caused by cosmic forces over which we have no control. 

 The Namazu School started back in March of 2012 when the blog was just starting up. There have been a few postings on the subject since but many of our visitors have missed the previous postings so we repeat our basic focus again here. The previous postings are up, if interested, scroll through the postings starting in March 2012 and look for "Oceanography, Climate Change". Meanwhile to fuel discussion below we present a number of videos on climate change and security in face of climate change , especially rapid, massive, change that we can do nothing about.

 To get through the NAMAZU selections with the least amount of unnecessary roaming click on the hyper-links below and at the end of the video click on the return arrow in the upper left corner of the YouTube tool bar. That will bring you right back here where you can click on the next video in the series.

First a look at the science behind current debate over the effects of our carbon foot print: The presenter at least touches on some of the other causes of climate change but is not focused on how rapid and violent these cosmic and natural causes can be.

Our next selection features a World bank figure on agriculture and climate change. It is obvious from the presentation that the speaker believes that a carbon emissions driven climate change is underway. His suggestions for dealing with its effects on agriculture are based on the idea that the worse effects are still a decade or more away. His suggestions all involve voluntary actions by industrialized nations to self limit carbon emissions and to set up funds to compensate poorer agricultural nations. Such "cures" have nothing to do with the what the NAMAZU school is seeking in the way of food security comments. By contrast with the speaker in this video we are looking for the type of measures that would keep urban populations from starving to death in the face of virtually over night massive climate change. We are asking what we should do if orbit, or axis change, or massive vulcanism, solar flares, a meteor strike, or any of dozens of other causes and combinations of causes confront us , with our need to feed massive urban populations. THIS VIDEO IS AN EXAMPLE OF THE TYPE OF CIVIL READINESS DISCUSSIONS THAT ARE GOING ON NOW, NOT THE TYPE WE WANT TO START. YOU WILL NOTE THAT THE SPEAKER COMES FROM A POSITION THAT ASSUMES THAT TREND IS FUTURE AND THAT WE ARE HEADED FOR A MAN CAUSED GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE OF UNKNOWN PROPORTIONS OVER A PERIOD OF DECADES. The Namazu School seeks your comments on what we should be doing acting on the assumption that climate change can and does happen, often suddenly and from causes that we can't control. We simply are not about the usual debate. But here is an example of the typical thinking today on civil preparedness for climate change.

Here is an example of the type of technology that could help secure urban food supplies in the event of sudden climate change.

If our little "film festival" has clarified your idea of what the "Namazu school is all about and how it differs from today's climate change discussions let us have your comments on what governments, corporations, and individuals should be doing to create a world less susceptible to damage by sudden, drastic climate change. Comment on any related subject such as food security, transportation, communications, or the economy. But remember our focus is not on the current debate but on what to do to build a less vulnerable world in the face of the one uncontested fact; climate change happens, often suddenly, and we are not the only potential cause. We could conceivably emerge from the present situation in a much cleaner world and still face extinction as a species from any one or a combination of cosmic (such as solar flare activity or meteor strike), or natural (such as vulcanism) climate change causes. If you find another forum where this discussion is taking place please alert us via the comments section. Welcome to the NAMAZU SCHOOL!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Hurricane Station ID and Test Pattern 8/30/2012 (4)


Thursday  August 30, 2012

Official U.S.Navy Photograph





GIBRALTAR: RGP in manhunt after night of Strait smuggling incidents 

Five suspected drug smugglers eluded a major police manhunt late Tuesday night after landing their speedboat on Eastern Beach following a chase at sea.
The Royal Gibraltar Police drafted in assistance from HM Customs, the Gibraltar Defence Police and the Royal Gibraltar Regiment, but the night-long search proved fruitless.-More in the News Section about a night of clandestine maritime activity in the vicinity of Gibraltar.

Part of Northern Fleet Has departed the MED. for home waters. More details in NEWS SECTION

Isaac made it to New Orleans today but seems in no hurry to get out of town. 
The billions the Feds spent on the new ring levee system seemed money well spent. In town there were some sustained winds in the 60 to 80 mph grouping, and a few gusts to 100 mph. Some downtown high rises lost windows. Elsewhere there was roof damage, but the flooding was localized and generated by the excessive rain water, more than the pumps could keep up with. So far the tidal surge that engulfed New Orleans during Katrina has been held back by the new levee system. The system is 132 miles in circular length and encloses New Orleans proper, the more inhabited parts of  St.Bernard and Jefferson Parishes. So far, so good but this big ugly sucker is taking its own sweet time squatting over the city. It will be some time tonight before it moves past on its way inland.

 Outside the ring levee system the devastation is Katrina style, but the numbers ruined and rendered homeless far fewer. Of course I'm writing like I was actually there. Actuall,y I just had lunch at the Maxwell Club at Maxwell Air Force Base here in Montgomery , Alabama about 400 mile from the storm center. But you knew that. I'm going to have to stay here about three days longer than anticipated because of the slow speed of advance of the storm. For me its a minor expense and a major inconvenience. For all those young families with children and budgets who evacuated it is probably an expense that is more than minor, and they aren't sharing a motel room as a couple, they have a family packed in there. Since the public officials felt confident in the levees, evacuation was mandated only for certain areas outside of the ring levee system. What that means to all those families who decided to evacuate from inside the ring levee system is that there will be no FEMA funds for evacuation expenses, and there were no shelters. When we count the costs of a storm like this the loss to young families on a budget is never counted in the economic loss attributed to the storm. 

 So I'm here in Montgomery for at least another day and night. Since the storm, now down graded to a tropical storm, is still in town I still have no idea what shape my house is in. I have no idea what I'm going back to. In terms of the business of the AAB and its parent AAIS  I hope I'm going back to an  intact work station. Other wise I'll be limited to what I can do with a lap top and I-phone for a while and I'll be distracted by massive clean up chores. But that's for another day. Meanwhile I was able to pretty well keep up today. The News Service is functional, all special pages are up and running , and we have another NamazuSchool orientated posting or two for you. So to begin.......


Clck here for the StarSpangledBanner :

Scroll Down To See What's Posted Today. Be sure to check the NEWS SERVICE it was a busy late evening for the headline service. As always things are happening out there on the wet side of the levee, whether or not the regular media is watching

Namazu School Discussion:

A Dragon Boat Race Somewhere other than Montgomery, Alabama


 I'm still in Montgomery, Alabama about one hundred miles up the Alabama River from the Gulf of Mexico. In another century this river front town shipped cotton to tide water by steamboat on the Alabama River. Today only pleasure boats, commercial excursion boats, and of all things, dragon boats ply the river. I had a nice look at what appeared to me to be the dragon boat mooring. It had some thought provoking features. The dock portion was a floating dock in a slack water slip. It is the nature of floating docks that they can adjust to the limits of the scope of their moorings to fluctuating water levels. The potential belaying points for the dragon boats included steel poles that extended well above the highest points that the dock could reach straining on its moorings. Clearly in run away high water conditions where even the floating dock might be submerged, the boats would stay in place if secured by the eye of a line onto these poles. So here was a simple small craft mooring engineered to handle a more than 30 foot fluctuation in water level.

 Down here on the Gulf Coast we are used to dealing with only two tides per day, one up and one down with only about a foot and half difference between the two. Our design of port facilities reflects this reality. The same is true to a greater or lesser degree in other ports on the East Coast where they have a little more tidal fluctuation, but still the design parameters of port infrastructure reflect meeting the minimal present hydrographic requirements. What happens if a sudden climatic change causes sudden large changes in sea level? Would having just a few key facilities in these placid ports meet the design parameters of a Bay of Fundy facility insure at least some immediate port capacity the day after such a major climate change event? Would this be cheap insurance? But who pays for it, which facilities should meet this requirement, who decides that? We aren't proposing answers we are asking  you the reader....what do you think? 
Naval Interest: Navy Seals:


File:US Navy SEALs insignia.png

"U.S.Navy SEALS Reveal The Truth Of The Osama Bin Laden Take Down",Or Do They?


 Last Week we provided a link for you to a story by someone named Mark Ferris. We were able to confirm that the author he wrote about, one Chuck Pfarrer, was a former Navy SEAL and that he based his book on a claimed interview with actual SEAL team members who participated in the take down of Osama Bin Laden. 


A few Days later we learned that an actual member of the relevant SEAL Team has published a book titled "NO EASY DAY" in which he "sets the record straight".  Pfarrer's book SEAL TARGET GERONIMO was based on the idea that Bin Laden offered armed resistance and was shot in self defense by the SEAL team. National net work news is now reporting that the author of NO EASY DAY  views the take down as more of an execution. If that is true then the parties behind SEAL TARGET GERONIMO would not have the case they try to make against the President. 

 The on line article, and  the book SEAL TARGET GERONIMO indicates that the relevant SEAL Team wants the record made straight because they feel that the President and the administration inaccurately portrayed it as a "kill mission", published inaccurate facts, and released the news way too soon destroying most of the value of the intelligence gained in the raid. The actual team members book, NO EASY DAY is now out and being read by the Media and being discussed. Unfortunately due to the operational tempo problems caused by the storm, we haven't read the book, so we can't comment. 

 If the Bin Laden take down was a "kill mission" we ignored a golden intelligence opportunity. If it wasn't, and Bin Laden's death was an unavoidable operational requirement caused by his own reaction, it still is true that the timing of the announcement destroyed much of the intelligence value of the mission. All we can do at this point is suggest that you read both books. They are both on the shelves at Amazon now and linked below. Let us know via a comment what you think.


Update August 28,2014: There is really nothing to add to this two year old post. The situation is utterly unchanged. If you are responsible for voyage planning you must consider piracy a real risk today. Because of the fluid nature of the situation with real progress on suppression appears nil. We provide links to multiple sources of piracy information for voyage planning in our News & Intelligence Section.  

Naval/Merchant Marine Interest Piracy

pirate flag skull and bones clip art


 The indicators are really a mixed bag in the recent news. This is why we carry the Pirate Daily Update in our News Section. We almost hesitate to put any pirate news into our daily blog postings. We are thinking of pretty much ignoring specific pirate headlines in our News Section Headline Service. It is getting to be just too routine and after all it is in our Pirate Activity Daily Report at the top of the Headline Service.  More problematic is the conflict in piracy reporting. Within the last month we have carried links to analytical articles by different "experts" who maintain that the piracy problem is slackening. We almost linked one today via "News Flash ALERT" here on the station identification, but that seemed confusing in light of the fact that within the hour, two more major pirate attacks were reported in the world's media. 

 Pirates seem to amuse and interest the general media, but the conventional non maritime media seems pretty clueless when it comes to analyzing what's going on and what's important to shipping professionals. We think the time has come for us to stop reacting to media piracy reports and state our position on piracy and what commercial maritime professionals should do about it. Our opinion on what naval professionals should do about piracy is simple and politically incorrect. That's why no government is going to follow our advice and the piracy problem will continue indefinitely. Our advice to commercial mariners and yachtsmen is more detailed and may be followed without asking anyone "may I", unless you decide to carry fire arms.

Here is our editorial policy on pirate stories and our advice on piracy to commercial and recreational deep sea mariners.

Editorial Policy: Piracy is real and all too uncommon. Few individual instances are all that news worthy. We will continue to link to the daily piracy update, but we will break into the blog postings with individual pirate incident reports only when the attack is indicative of new and novel activity and areas. We will focus on developing more useful links for incorporating piracy security into your voyage planning in our News Service and Navigation pages.

  • Piracy is real, violent, and growing globally even if some former "hot spots" seem to have entered a quiet period. Anti Piracy security measures should be a routine part of STCW mandated voyage planning.
  • The first step in such voyage planning is to determine your level of risk at each point in the voyage. While piracy can and does happen anywhere, our daily up date and other official and unofficial services can give you an excellent idea of whether or not your voyage track takes you across any area of heightened risk.
  • If you will cross an area of hightened risk it is time to consult with the ship owner, insurance interests, and legal counsel about whether or not to arm any part of the ship's company, or hire armed security at particular points in the voyage. 
  • Whether or not you have armed security the next step is to plan heightened security and repulsion measures for the threatened parts of your passage. You need to know if there is any naval protection available in the area you are concerned with and how to communicate with these services.
 The bottom line ladies and gentlemen is that if you are not including serious piracy preventative security measures and repulsion measure in your voyage planning, you are not doing a professional job of voyage planning. 

 For our part we will seek additional piracy information links for you for inclusion in our News Section and in the Navigation  Section to use as voyage planning tools. As much as we have found that pirate stories increase our general traffic in the blog postings, we are not serving our professional mariner visitors by devoting so much ink to pirate activities in the blogsphere. We hate it when we find ourselves acting like the general media. It's not that we are incapable of pandering, its just that when we catch ourselves we don't want it to be business as usual.

U.S.Merchant Marine Shop Hats, Shirts, Jackets, Watches, Jewelry, Decorations, Etc.
Product DetailsProduct DetailsProduct Details

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Hurricane station ID 8/29/2012  (2)


Wednesday  August 29, 2012

Official U.S.Navy Photograph


 As I write the this Isaac is an 80mph hurricane, slow moving and dropping water and increasing winds all over the Central Gulf Coast but the weakly defined eye is almost exactly over the mouth of the Mississippi River and shows every indication of slowly climbing right up the Mississippi and passing over New Orleans on the anniversary of Katrina. Wind gusts could exceed 100 mph.  Here in Montgomery , Alabama over 300 miles to the north east the skies are partly cloudy and and the winds calm. The cloud cover has changed, and we did get a little rain shower. We are seeing the outer most bands of this Texas sized storm. We anticipate having electricity and telephone lines throughout the storms passage, assuming the storm track stays pretty much as predicted. We are minus some important resources, but believe we will be able to keep the watch through the storm. Please keep checking in.

Get your day started right with the National Anthem by American Idol finalist Jessica Sanchez :

The Balance of Power in the Taiwan Strait is about to Change. China Building new Type 052 D  Destroyer. Two of the hulls are under construction for this guided missile destroyer, ten are thought to be on order. This is a major departure from China's previous naval acquisition methods. Coupled with their new Aircraft Carrier, a task force seems to be forming.

China breaks the ice on northern sea route:

Last week, the Chinese icebreaker Xue Long anchored in the Icelandic harbor of Skarfabakki after covering the 15,000km distance from Qingdao harbor in six weeks.

All special pages are up, News Service is up, Recent headlines include but are not limited to:

US, Southeast Asian navies begin annual joint exercises:

Pirates hijack Greek-owned tanker off Togo:

Our Postings continue to explore the storm, its effects on ports and maritime commerce,  lessons for the "Namazu school, and...notice the new headlines the apparent end of the slow down in pirate activity reported two weeks ago. Whether or not we can can get them all posted as the storm closes in is another story. But we are not and never will ignore what is going on world wide in the maritime sectors. Just remember that our news service and "special pages" are our primary tools for reporting events to you and aiding in your research. 
Storm Filing from Montgomery:


File:Flag of Montgomery, Alabama.svg

 A maritime career, any maritime career can bring some memorable moments, some have nothing to do  with the maritime World, or do they. There was sunshine this morning and "She Who Would Be Obeyed" (SWWBO) was restless and I just couldn't face a morning of trying to write with the motel room TV blasting in my ear with all the latest storm news. The storm news indicated that there would be no rapid return home, the slow moving storm would take two days to pass over the city and if we wanted to come home to air conditioning and lights we'd have to wait beyond that for power to be restored, assuming all of the optimistic predictions actually come true and we have a home to go to at all. So I decided to go have a look at the city's waterfront and get the SWWBO out for some air.

 The Alabama River looked quite capable of supporting barge traffic though I was told that most of it had disappeared and the city docks were now a park like "River Walk" with two regular vessel customers. There was the little paddle wheel excursion boat, maybe 400 passenger capacity, and the big surprise, a small fleet of Dragon Boats which race under paddle a few times a year. We were fortunate to get to watch a small practice by part of a single crew. 

 Then we signed up for one of those trolley tours of the historic downtown.The "Trolley " was one of those Trolley replica diesel buses that almost every historic town in America runs through whatever passes for a historic district. But this one proved to be a time machine and magic bus. We saw the beautiful state capitol, and the Alabama State Archives, "The Smithsonian of Alabama" We saw the Hank Williams Museum, The place where the telegram that launched the Confederacy was sent, the Rosa Parks Museum, all very interesting. Montgomery is both the birth place of the Confederate States of America, and the starting point of the American Civil Rights Movement. History comes full circle here. But what happened on this tour was mind blowing. Things were swimming along about as expected after we passed the church where Martin Luther King had preached, then we passed his house ,and then we experienced something you can only experience in Montgomery.

 A few doors down from the King home, the driver stopped at a nicely kept modest home where a little old lady was sitting in a rocker on the porch. The driver told us how one of the famed Tuskegee Airmen, some of the first military aviators of African American descent to be commissioned back in WWII, used to live there. The driver referred to him as "Mr. Harris". It seems "Mr. Harris" had been injured in the line of duty and was medically retired from either the Army Air Corps or its successor, the U.S. Air Force. He was probably "Capt. Harris" out at Maxwell Air Base which he had access to including officer club access , as a retired officer. The driver  had told us about the bomb that had exploded on Dr. King's front porch, and the stresses that the King family were under at the time. The driver told us how "Mr. Harris" would take Dr. King and no doubt occasionally his family out to the Air base, where once through the gates they were safe from those seeking to take their lives. Additionally they were exposed to a semblance of an integrated society. I have to believe that these respites from stress, and the vision of airmen living and working together with African Americans in all positions from the lowest ranks to the commissioned officer corps must have helped Dr. King envision  his "dream"., The integrated Air Force, even if imperfectly at the time had to be a powerful convincer that an integrated larger society could be achieved.  "Capt Harris" who made history himself nurtured the future and it became history. But one has to wonder how many people outside of Montgomery have ever heard this story.

  Since "Mr. Harris" was a World War II veteran and suffering from disabling physical injury no one would expect that he would still be alive. Then the driver confirmed that "Mr. Harris had died a couple of decades ago. "But the lady sitting out there on the porch is his widow who still lives there with two of her grand daughters". I was thunder struck once I realized that I was looking at a real living witness and participant to human history of cosmic consequenceI started waving to her through the bus window, after a few movements she looked towards me and waived back!  How many times do you come into even that much direct contact with living history? I've served on every coast of the United States, up and down the Mississippi, on parts of three oceans, and visited many of the garden spots and hell holes of the world. But until I had to move my maritime blog activities and other writing chores in the face of a storm engulfing a major port, Montgomery was just a wide spot in the road between New Orleans and Annapolis. From now on it is burned into my memory as the place where I exchanged greetings with a living historic figure. No Montgomery ain't Las Vegas, but at least one visit here ought to be on every American's bucket list. 


Namazu School: Threatened Ports


New Orleans is Not the Only Port that is Low in Terms of Sea Level. Hurricanes Tend to Destroy Them One at a Time and We do tend to Rebuild. But a Large Enough Meteor Strike could wipe Out All of the Low Elevation Ports on a Single Coast at Once and Instantly. What Should We Do to Mitigate Against that Eventuality?

File:Songkhla Sea Port.jpg
New Orleans isn't the only port barely above sea level and sea level is increasing

 What should we do? In some ways the fact that  sea level is in fact slowly rising may help us to be willing to finance the changes that we must make to mitigate the damages that will occur the day when   sea level changes over night such as in the wake of a meteor strike. In America perhaps an earlier civilization may have left us a hint. The Mississippi Valley was once peopled by a civilization that we call the Mound Builders who fostered urban developments of as many as 50,000 people at a time when a big town in Europe had about 15,000 people.  The Mound Builders did this in a major flood plain. Their large wooden public buildings of real consequence to their society were all built atop large rubble mounds that were elevated well above all remembered over flows of the Great River. Certainly the lesson of Katrina ought to be that levees and pumping stations not with standing we ought to elevate police and fire stations, public libraries, hospitals, and old folks homes on such mounds. Some how the water always eventually gets into even the best ring levee system. In the port itself perhaps the most expensive infrastructure that can be so elevated, should be, and what can not, we may have to ask ourselves if we shouldn't shift to floating docks and similar port infrastructure. Namazu School thinking accepts that sudden dramatic climate change can mean sudden dramatic sea level change. The Namazu School also accepts that while the threat may not be immediate it is real. The question is not will it happen but when. So at a very minimum we ought to be thinking, discussing, and writing about what to do to mitigate the damages on that day. Houston, Galveston, Tampa, Charleston, New York are just a few of the ports that would be wiped out by a change in sea level of just a few feet. It is almost as though the periodic ruin of New Orleans is a lesson and warning to us to do the necessary there and everywhere else to assure that we have working ports the day after the next sudden and dramatic climate change throws a monkey wrench into human history.

 So here is where we'd like to begin with our Namazu School dialogue with our readers. Send us you thoughts as a E-mail, or comment, or even guest blog on what we need to do to make our low  ports impervious to sea level change. Any and all ideas welcome. Think about the ports as both working ports and as cities that support the port workers. Both have to remain habitable and functional even if the sea were to rise 30 feet over night, the geological record assures us that it has happened in the past. Science today can even discern the cause for at least some of these past events.These causes are still viable cosmic forces. It absolutely will happen again, its not a question of will it happen, its a question of when.


Here is another previous post on the Namazu School and how we apply it to actual events and concerns. We reprint here for your reconsideration ,or for your first exposure to the concept. We are trying to reprint the postings that led to the Namazu School in a compressed time. The posts were originally so spread out that it is difficult to imagine that daily readers who joined us only recently would have picked up on this string of blogs as a coherent chain of thought. We want you to join the discussion so these reprints are an attempt to bring our latest daily readers up to date. A blog should have visitors, and visitors are more than readers, this is a two way form of communication.


File:Namazu-e - Kashima controls namazu.jpg

Kashima Controls NAMAZU

 Yesterday we reported that a floating "slick" of volcanic pumice roughly the size of Belgium was observed in the ocean off of New Zealand. After observation by the New Zealand Navy, scientists determined that the positively buoyant rock particles did not originate with a recent known on shore volcanic event but must originate from a sub sea volcanic eruption. Namazu you may remember is the name of the giant mythological Japanese catfish associated with coastal earthquakes and tsunamis. Kashima is the minor god who controls Namazu with a rock, but occasionally lets his guard down, the giant fish wiggles and Japan experiences earth quakes and tsunamis. Your basic pagan god has never been all that reliable. 

 We introduced our readers to Namazu a while back in a discussion of climate change that described all of the natural ways that climate can change suddenly and drastically. Earth axis wobble, orbital drift, sun spots, volcanic activity, meteor strikes, and ocean current changes and any number of combinations of these elements have caused sudden and drastic climate change here on the home planet and all of the Kashima types on the planet collectively failed to stop the Namazu like consequences. So we named our school of climate change after the great catfish. Our school of discussion is not focused on the current debate of are we or are we not causing climate change with our carbon emissions. We are soliciting ideas on what to do  to be ready as a society, particularly an urban society, when not if, sudden and drastic climate change overtakes us.

 The "pumice slick" found by the New Zealand Navy recently measured 250 nautical miles long by about 30 nautical miles wide , or roughly 10,000 square miles (26,000 square kilometers) . The material is basically white and refracts light, looking much like ice when observed upon a calm sea.. The undersea volcano blast that produced it must have been enormous. 

 Now consider what could happen if several under sea blasts of similar magnitude happened in close proximity to a few major Mt. St. Helen type shore side eruptions. Ash would enter the atmosphere in sufficient quantity to refract a great deal of sunlight back into space, while mirror like reflectors in the form of these pumice slicks the size of nation states reflected even more radiant energy out; you'd have sudden catastrophic cooling.  Probably for several years whole crop belts would fail to yield the expected crops. What should we have done to prepare for such an event? How do we extricate these large urban populations from a food chain that is global in length? That is the subject of the Namazu school. 

 On this occasion of the appearance of the pumice slick the size of Belgium we ask our readers again to send us comments with anything that you would like to add to the discussion of how do we prepare for sudden drastic climate change. This sudden change has happened in the past, and can happen at any time without warning. Blame it on sun spots, volcanic activity, solar flares or the wiggles of good old Namazu, it's going to happen again; and the Kashima and all the Kashima's men will never put Humpty Dumpty together again. We need to be ready. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hurricane Station Identification and Test Pattern


Tuesday August 28, 2012

Official U.S.Navy Photograph


 It is hard to concentrate with a 300 pound gorilla in the room. His name is Isaac but our worst fear down here is that he will act like his sister Katrina. As we explained on Sunday you can call me "Og". Isaac is roughly the size of Texas. Personally, like most people I'd fit in a six foot by two and a half foot pine box. So I don't argue with Texas sized Isacc because we all know what those pine boxes are used for. So I'm on the run with my wife hiding from the brute while he has his way with our house. Being on the run seems strange after long service in the Coast Guard, we normally head toward storms and fires. But that's not my job anymore and if I want to make less work for those whose job it is, my duty is to get out of the way. We won't know until we get into it how well we can keep this up while on the run. We just have to try and see what happens. It is at times like this that we really appreciate our daily readers I'd hate to think I'd go to all the effort of trying only to be writing to myself. So lets start.


Click here for The Star Spangled banner by Slash:

We don't know how much we'll be able to cover today but if you want to follow live the close approach of a Texas sized storm to the largest bulk commodities port in the world click here: 

 and then if you don't mind scroll down every now and then and see if we were able to add anything.  We were able to post a description of our trip, our reasoning for Why the Port of New Orleans is worth saving and lessons relative to all this in terms of our much mentioned but under discussed Namazu School. Thanks for checking on us we are now 150 miles inland and maybe 80 feet above sea level. We don't know if we are out of the storm's path but we are in a much safer place than yesterday. Thanks for checking in on us.


Russian fleet to visit Japanese naval base


Ice island twice as big as Manhattan breaks off Greenland glacier

Post 1 August 28, 2012

Og On The Lam Progress Report:
A Pleasant Surprise At Montgomery, Alabama.


And An Epiphany

Og and "She Who Would be Obeyed" (SWWBO) managed to get on the road ahead of the rush as mandatory hurricane evacuations were ordered for parts of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, and Jefferson Parishes. We made it past New Orleans East and over to Mississippi with nothing worse than ordinary week day traffic. Cruising along at the speed limit with the radio tuned to the high power AM channel that was blasting out the storm news we could hear the evacuation traffic breaking out behind us but we had the jump on the crowd and had a pleasant ride into Montgomery, Alabama where we had a much coveted motel reservation. Montgomery was a town that I simply passed through or spent the night in some Interstate national chain motel on my frequent 22 hour runs between Annapolis, MD and New Orleans, LA. I noticed the new car plants on the outskirts and thought that it was pretty cool that anyone was making cars in the Deep South. During most of my youth when the "late unpleasantness" which we then called "the War of Northern Aggression" wasn't even a hundred years in our cultural rear view mirrors it was well known that the Yankee government in Washington did all in its power to keep manufacturing out of the South. They weren't after all about to let us have the makings of a cannon plant. That sentiment on both sides pretty much died out with my Grandparents generation. The south is attracting quite a bit of manufacturing in this "post industrial era". Other than that observation, I hadn't given Montgomery a second thought.

 I selected Montgomery simply because it was about 150 miles east of the pitifully inaccurately predicted storm center and just about 100 miles straight inland from the beach at Pensacola, FL. It was reachable from New Orleans by all Interstate highways in excellent repair and if necessary could just be reached by one tank of gas in our Honda Civic. The other less gas miserly vehicle has been left to its fate in our driveway. Also the city is about 80 to 100 feet above sea level.  It is unsettling  to be a refugee with only an insured home and insured vehicle and several tons of uninsured stuff at risk, with no real risk to income or medical benefits, etc.. Its expensive to do it in style as we are doing, imagine the strain of doing this as a young family with children and pets and tight budget.

 There is no assurance that you will only have to do this once a year if you live on the Gulf Coast. It is unsettling for us because in our sixties we find ourselves cut off from our usual sources of medical care and out of contact with family and friends all of whom make individual decisions on when, where , and how to evacuate. The problem is no one owns a big multi-generational house on high ground that could accommodate the entire extended tribe and withstand Force 3 Hurricane Winds. Also, no one is rich enough to spring for all of the evacuation expenses of several families some with as many as 5 kids in the style to which they would like to become accustomed. So its every nuclear family for themselves. She Who Would Be Obeyed (SWWBO) and I just slink out early because we can and there really isn't anything else you can do in the face of a natural force the size of Texas, and packing all of the kinetic energy of an atom bomb. We are usually resigned to hunkering down and  spending several rainy nights in the best motel room we can come up with at a safe distance for the storms coming ashore point. We really didn't expect much from Montgomery this being a hurricane evacuation trip and all.

 Well, we're here and pleased to report that in fact Montgomery is a pleasant state capitol with a vibrant downtown and River Walk with a nice excursion boat called the HARRIOTT II named for the first commercial steamboat to carry cotton out of Montgomery on the Alabama river down to Mobile on the Gulf for export. But the waterfront here isn't just a backdrop for a steamboat replica, they even hold dragon boat races here. This town that hosts plants owned by global enterprises is way more cosmopolitan than I ever imagined. The landscaping is Old south with a touch of tropicality with various palm trees and plantains in the landscaping, it is after all only about 100 miles north of Pensacola beaches. This is a state capitol with a large population of legal professionals and the types of watering holes and eateries it takes to support that particular brand of Yuppie, the kind of joints that in fact we all like. So being on the lam sucks, being uncertain about the future of your largest single investment sucks. Wondering how your adult children are doing in the face of the beast sucks.

 But if you have to be a refugee, I could think of far worse places to be than Montgomery and I have been in far worse places under far worse circumstances. Having said all that the circumstances do come with some real short comings for someone who is supposed to be spending 8 hours a day on research and writing. First,  I'm confined to some pretty small quarters with SWWBO for the duration. She views my work as "playing with your computer.". We both of course are anxious about what is happening in our home town and the TV is on constantly tuned to news and weather about two feet from my ear where I'm trying to draft my postings. Six hours was spent on driving and most of last night and the hours between 0500 and 0900 CST spent packing up vital papers and some changes of cloths  and my minimal computer gear for blogging on the fly. It is all very distracting. But, in undergoing this experience I am seeing an opportunity to develop a theme for the week.

SWWBO and  I are going through a more comfortable version of a literal affliction that more than a million other storm refugees are going through , many without the resources we enjoy. This is a minor climatic bubble, a heat bubble to be specific that disrupts our usual climatic norms in the short term on an irregular but anticipated basis. These storms come in cycles, sometimes we get a relatively quiet period of twenty years. Then we experience periods of up to five years when the tropics hiccup the heat bubbles that hit our Gulf shores with high winds, rough seas, and tidal surges and send millions scrambling for cover, thousands homeless, and often more than a few dead. All of this from a well known, even expected weather event that is just part of an annual cycle (hurricane season June through November) which increases and decreases on a cyclic basis.

  Now imagine the upheaval from a real dramatic and almost instant climate change that changes entire crop belts, and dramatically affects the world's food and natural fiber supplies. These are the events that come not from a more active hurricane season, or a record blizzard. These are the type of real climate changes that can come from planetary orbit irregularities, axis wobble, solar flares, heavy volcanism, comet and meteor strikes and all sorts of combinations of these events. These are the events that we built the NAMAZU SCHOOL around.

 The NAMAZU SCHOOL is so far just a collection of widely separated blog postings on these sudden and potentially dramatic naturally generated climate changes. The NAMAZU School isn't about the changes that may be occurring because of our own carbon foot print, and may or may not be reversible by our own actions. The NAMAZU School reminds us the dinosaurs died out almost over night, probably due to climate change caused by a giant meteor strike. Something similar has been associated with the woolly mammoths. The questions that the Namazu school wants to discuss are, what are the measures that governments, and industry, and individuals should take to reduce the possibility of human extinction in the event of the next cosmic climatic event. We of course are especially interested in what needs to be done in the maritime sectors. A related question that seems appropriate at the moment may be; should certain cities be abandoned as simply uninhabitable based on increasing frequency of disaster and vulnerability to a major climate change event? Perhaps it is time to bring the widely scattered NAMAZU posts together and address some of the questions. Our goal is to generate comments and hopefully a guest blog or two. After all what the people of the Gulf's major ports are experiencing this week are nothing compared to what will happen with a three foot rise in sea level , not the one that takes a century or more to get here because of green house gases emissions, the one that happens over night because of a meteor strike or similar event.

 Lets start with perhaps the most immediate question. Should we abandon New Orleans?



 Photos Wikipedia Commons
EDITOR's Note: 2/23/2015: This was written as Johnas Presbyter and his wife were evacuating New Orleans a couple of years ago in the face of a threatening hurricane. The question was first proposed after Katrina and frankly is sometimes posed even by natives and residents. The answer of course is that America needs a port near the mouth of the river and high ground for a city frankly isn't available. America can't do without the port...but read on as Johnas thinks the question through with his Merchant Marine Officer honed insights.

10/11/2015 Hurricane season is almost over and New Orleans wasn't threatened in 2015. The issues discussed here none the less remain. 
3/21/2019 The 2019 Hurricane season is a little over two months away. everything written here is a valid today as it was in 2015. 

I didn't originate the question. A member of Congress from Illinois did, and not now in the face of the on coming storm, this was back in the days after Katrina. This wasn't his only question, he wanted to know ..."why should we pay for these people to live in paradise?"  Given the fact that Illinois borders the Great Lakes on their north and the Ohio River on the south and exports grain through New Orleans and receives heating oil and gasoline via tank barge from South Louisiana refineries; it seemed a strange question. After all this was out of the mouth of a representative of a state with a major portion of its economy dependent on river trade through New Orleans. Not only that, but this came from a representative of a state that advertises itself as a Great Lakes to the Gulf through way for waterborne commerce in the trade journals.

Did this individual really want to close down his own state's outlet to the sea and waterborne trade advantage? We doubt that he understood his own state's role in U.S. internal waterways trade or the geography of the Mouth of the Mississippi. The key was in his second lament "Why should we pay for these people to live in Paradise?". New Orleans is best known to the typical American for its food, music, Mardi Grais, Spring Fiesta, the Jazz Fest, and eclectic culture, and unique architecture. It is thought of as a tourist town, a resort, an adult play pen. Unfortunately it is also a town that suffered billions of dollars worth of physical damages and the loss of hundreds of lives in twentieth century storms, such as the storm of 1948, Hurricane Betsy, and Hurricane Camille in the 1960s.  It often seemed like at least once a decade in the second half of the twentieth century the Federal Government was being asked to rebuild New Orleans. I may be writing this just before the second request in the twenty first century which has already seen loss of lives in the thousands in New Orleans . Lets hope not but something evil this way comes.

 So why do people live here and what Federal interest is there in maintaining this party town? To answer that you have to realize why the city is here in the first place, why did this place house the first theater, and opera house, and bank in the New World long before the Declaration of Independence was signed in Anglo America. Its simple, the Mississippi river was once the only viable highway for the movement of the treasures of Mid America to the sea. There had to be a city near the mouth of the River and the French knew it. Unfortunately there is no real high ground available to build a city anywhere in the vicinity. However the French found a Tchoitoupitoulas Indian trading village just about where you can find the famed "French Market" today. The site of the "French Market" has been a human trade center for perhaps as much as a thousand years. 

 Another feature of the French Market site was that it was near the end of a short portage that linked the Mississippi with Lake Pontchartrain via what we now call "Bayou St. John". Lake Pontchartrain actually is a bay with a very narrow set of openings to the Gulf. The lake provided an alternative to having to tack a sailing vessel up a long and winding river against a heavy current. The Tchoupitoulas trading village provided a place where cargo canoes, later flat boats, and still later steamers, could bring the commerce of the Mississippi / Ohio / Missouri Valleys almost to tide water where these trade goods could be deposited at what would become New Orleans. With relative ease these cargoes could be hauled the short distance overland for ocean transport to shallow draft sailing ships waiting in Bayou St. John. So the city began as the French settled in with the Tchoupitouclas and began improving the trading village on the "high ground", about 5 to 7 feet above sea level formed by the natural levee of the Mississippi. 

 The city quickly filled out to about a square mile on this small patch of dry land and was surrounded by a defensive wall. The swamp land between Bayou St. John and the City was separated from the city by a wall that ran along what is now called Rampart Street. St. Louis Cemetery No.1 and the "Mortuary Chapel" were the first structures located outside the wall. The population in the river valleys increased as did the trade arriving at New Orleans by flat boat. Sailing rigs improved and astute Captains were able to reach the city front with larger deeper draft vessels than could be moved through the "lake". Then in 1812 Captain Nicholas Roosevelt arrived on the first Mississippi steamboat the "NEW ORLEANS".  Serious two way trade began on the rivers.


So that was all in the Nineteenth Century right, we move stuff to tide water by truck and train right, there is no longer a need for a great river port, right? Well, consider this. The modern towboat and barge industry moves more commerce in a single day than all of the steamboats of the nineteenth century did in the entire century. In terms of costs per ton mile nothing comes close to river barge transport for non time sensitive commodities like grain and oil in bulk. Now, Mobile sits on higher ground, is periodically hit by hurricanes and has never been subjected to the kind of damages that periodically hit New Orleans. With the opening of the long anticipated Tennessee Tombigbe Waterway, Mobile now has barge transportation to the interior including the Mississippi.

 So why not abandon New Orleans? The tows coming to Mobile from the interior are limited by the channel width of the partially artificial water way to a maximum of five barges. Tows of twenty, thirty and even forty or more barges routinely arrive at New Orleans. The efficiency and cost effectiveness of New Orleans as a bulk commodity port is unrivaled in the world. The little walled city quickly needed a larger population of local pilots, longshoremen, steamship agents. checkers, clerks, and the retail, medical, other services to support them. In short, New Orleans developed its culture and traditions and cuisine while supporting a growing base of port workers at the base of the economy. But the town couldn't expand without pushing out into the surrounding marsh which was surrounded by levees and filled, in an evolutionary manner. Urban development spread up and down the river banks on both sides of the river and out into the marshes. Only a small portion of the total conurbation is actually the incorporated city of New Orleans which is simply the historic center of a confederation of cities and unincorporated urban areas such as Metairie, Kenner, Gretna, Harvey and others. 

 The city of New Orleans reached its maximum population within the corporate limits in the 1960s at a little over 600,000 people. Then began a slow fall to pre-Katrina levels of 450,000 people. There is a connection between this pre-Katrina  population fall and the rise of incorporated New Orleans as the highest taxing local authority in Louisiana. After Katrina the population fell again by nearly 200,000. Yet "New Orleans", this "small town" has a Superbowl winning NFL franchise, an NBA team, and triple A baseball team that calls itself a "New Orleans" team but has a stadium in Kenner. The truth is that the actual urbanized area contains about one and half million people. What do they all do, how did such a huge population come to be located in a semitropical swamp?


The answer is on the river. The incorporated "Port of New Orleans" is a state, not a city entity. In its own right it is about the third or fourth largest port in America. But in actuality the river is lined with grain elevators, chemical docks, oil terminals and other bulk facilities from the head of Passes to Baton Rouge , considering both sides of the river there are nearly 440 miles of commercial maritime facilities that if ever considered as a single statistical unit would be the largest port in the   world. That is the largest port in terms of tons of cargo handled, total number of ship's visits, and possibly even total dollar value of cargo despite the relatively low value of bulk commodities measured by the ton compared to container cargoes, some of which also move through "the port".    


Remember the concept of the "Isle of Orleans", the original piece of real estate that Thomas Jefferson wanted to buy? That Isle is the eastern bank of the Mississippi between the river and Lake Pontchartrain as it runs along the river to a bayou miles north of not only New Orleans proper but Kenner linking Lake Murapas, which in turn is connected to Lake Pontchartrain with the Mississippi. At the time America was concerned over its "right of deposit" at New Orleans, meaning the walled city. America occupied the east bank of the Mississippi River down to the area above New Orleans where France, then Spain, then France again owned both sides. By purchasing the east bank down to the sea America would have the internationally recognized right to navigate to and from the sea by what would then be an international river. Thomas Jefferson predicted that the Isle of Orleans would become the greatest port on earth.  If we remember what Jefferson actually meant by the "Isle of Orleans", look past the influence of local politics on port statistics, and really look at the commerce of the Isle of Orleans, Thomas Jefferson was once again right. 


 The cost of abandoning "New Orleans"would be a 1930s style depression in about 18 upriver states and serious economic deprivation in a total of 33 states. Would the nation not fall into a depression if 33 of 50 states were economically depressed to that level? So as a storm the size of Texas approaches to test the last round of Federally funded flood control again the question is being asked, should we abandon New Orleans? If we ever do, we will only have to recreate it from scratch, without the charm. Its there because it has to be, its charming as an accident of history. Why shouldn't the local population pay for everything? Well, they'd have to get the money from somewhere and the only place would from the port use fees. The many states that depend on "the right of deposit" at New Orleans can help keep the port open with single expenditures of tax money when repair is really needed, or pay constantly in higher shipping costs. 

 So how vulnerable is New Orleans to being lost to a sudden rise in sea level, the kind of physical event that comes from a sudden climatic change like those first discussed in the NAMAZU original post. It is very vulnerable, but so is New York. Do we plan to abandon all of our low lying ports in the event of sudden sea level rise? Only if we are ready to let our civilization fall. This is the type of discussion we should be having now. The Namazu school teaches that sudden climate change has happened and will happen again. We must find the ways to insure that such an event doesn't eliminate us not only as a species ,but also as a civilization. The time has come to revisit the Namazu school in these days while we await another onslaught from mother nature against what perhaps is our most important port, a port for which there is no alternative.  


Namazu Essay No.1