American Elephants

We Had a Brief Cloudburst, and the Sun is Peeking Through Clouds by The Elephant's Child


We had a brief cloudburst a little while ago, and now the sun is back out. I started wondering about the word “cloudburst,” wondering if it was an ordinary term or a localism. It is indeed an ordinary term, and I found this brief time-lapse video of a cloudburst over a lake in Austria, taken by a well prepared photographer who captured the moment. “Cloudburst” is also a choral work by Eric Whittaker, a movie – apparently about two elderly lesbians, and large numbers of outdoor equipment pieces ranging from jackets and wearing apparel to tents and backpacks. Who knew? If you have a little time to spare, wondering can lead you down all sorts of interesting side roads.

I have experienced many cloudbursts, but the timelapse video is a marvel. Experiencing a cloudburst will never be the same.

“The Day the Dinosaurs Died” by The Elephant's Child

Recommended Reading:

The New Yorker magazine has a fascinating, but long, story today titled “The Day the Dinosaurs Died” with the subhead “A young paleontologist may have discovered a record of the most significant event in the history of life on Earth”.

If, on a certain evening about sixty-­six million years ago, you had stood somewhere in North America and looked up at the sky, you would have soon made out what appeared to be a star. If you watched for an hour or two, the star would have seemed to grow in brightness, although it barely moved. That’s because it was not a star but an asteroid, and it was headed directly for Earth at about forty-five thousand miles an hour. Sixty hours later, the asteroid hit. The air in front was compressed and violently heated, and it blasted a hole through the atmosphere, generating a supersonic shock wave. The asteroid struck a shallow sea where the Yucatán peninsula is today. In that moment, the Cretaceous period ended and the Paleogene period began.

If you can make the time, you will find the article deeply rewarding, Open the link and save it, you’ll be glad you did.

I Really Don’t Know Clouds At All by The Elephant's Child

I learned something new to me. from a comment from Richard Lindzen, MIT Professor of Meteorology, emeritus. The upper level cirrus clouds have a greenhouse effect comparable to water vapor but are mostly ice, not liquid. The upper level cirrus are called Spissatus clouds and are the highest clouds in the atmosphere, forming in the higher tropopause, where most of the water vapor freezes out, or even in the lower stratosphere. Unlike most cirrus clouds, which are generally thin and wispy, Spissatus clouds are dense and opaque, blocking sunlight. They are often found at the top of thunderheads and, due to the shape formed by high altitude winds where they are blocked from rising further, are called anvil clouds.

They are formed at the tropopause because it is there that  thermal inversion occurs – rather than atmosphere being colder with increasing altitude, the atmosphere starts being warmer with increasing altitude.

The tropopause with its temperature inversion separates the troposphere from the stratosphere. The warming of the stratosphere with increasing altitude is from ozone created from oxygen by ultraviolet sunlight. Ozone is not an important greenhouse gas below the stratosphere.

Lindzen has written and produced evidence of what is called the “iris hypothesis.” The testable hypothesis states that increasing temperatures in the tropics, particularly increasing sea surface temperatures (seas cover about 75% of the tropics), will reduce cirrus clouds, reducing the greenhouse effect of these clouds. Independently, Roy Spencer, et al. have used satellite data to support the iris hypothesis. The Climate Establishment strongly disagrees, but there have been additional papers and evidence supporting the hypothesis using satellite observations.

For the whole story, go here

Learning a Bit about CO² and Mass Hysteria by The Elephant's Child

William Happer is one of our most renowned  and esteemed physicists, a professor emeritus from Princeton University. He decidedly does not agree with the current panic about the horrors of “climate change.”He says, and explains why CO², carbon dioxide, doesn’t have much of anything to do with warming, and we really need more of it — not less. CO² is food for plants. The slight increase we have had is greening the earth. You can see it from space.

This conversation with Dr. Happer is completely fascinating and worth your time. Share it with your kids and friends and family.

You have surely heard the current crop of Democrat candidates hoping to run for the presidency against Donald Trump, speaking out on the notion that they will work to save us from the horrors of climate change and only disagreeing on how long we have left before it is all over. Green New Deal, they all signed right on.

Yes, I know that Nancy Pelosi wants sixteen year-olds to vote, but one would expect better from grownups who think they should be president. Yes, in the heat of a campaign and trying to raise money, they should have some responsibility for saying stupid things.

For those who are sure that 400 ppm represents the upper limits of what we can tolerate in the atmosphere, greenhouses pump in extra CO² to reach about 1,000 ppm to help their seedlings grow. The floors of greenhouses are not littered with the corpses of nurserymen.

We are in a CO² famine.  We don’t have enough.

All the Democrats Have to Do Is Not Be Crazy by The Elephant's Child

And they simply cannot manage it. I am quite sure that none of this bunch have ever read anything about climate change, nor questioned what they have apparently been told. There is Democrat approved knowledge, and there are the “deniers”– which is the rest of us. Because we have been labelled “deniers”, nothing we say can be believed, so they refuse to consider the very odd chance that they might be wrong. Look at them today. The Mueller Report has been turned over to Secretary Barr with the notice that there are no further indictments, and that is simply unacceptable. Of course Trump is guilty, they just didn’t find the right evidence. Congress will investigate, and find him guilty. (Congress has no authority to investigate anything, their job is oversight and legislation – that’s all.)

Climate Change is the greatest threat to the world ever, but they have no interest in the fact that in the last 40 years the earth has warmed only about 2.2º F.  Probably they have never heard that fact, or if so, dismissed it immediately as obviously untrue. Or they regard posing as the ones who will save us from catastrophe as the perfect campaign message. I think they believe it.

But they seem to believe that getting rid of the Electoral College is a good idea, without the slightest understanding of why we have such a Constitutional requirement. It would be fine if our elections were  always  decided by New York, New Jersey and California because those other states don’t matter anyway. Reforming the Constitution so 16 year olds can vote? Fine! I raised 3 kids who were all once 16, and I’d be more inclined to raise the voting age.

They want open borders, more Democrat voters, O’Rourke wants to tear down the existing border wall in El Paso.  They also want to impeach Brett Kavanaugh for being a conservative justice appointed by Trump, I guess.

All they have to do is not be crazy, and they simply cannot manage it.

What Progressives Should Know About Trump Voters by The Elephant's Child

Victor Davis Hanson has a particularly interesting column today at CNN, of all places.  It is titled “What progressives should know about Trump Voters.” CNN may just be the perfect place for that.

1. Voters appreciate that the economy is currently experiencing near record-low peacetime unemployment, record-low minority unemployment, and virtual 3% annualized GDP growth. Interest and inflation rates remain low. Workers’ wages increased after years of stagnation. The US is now the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas. And gasoline prices remain affordable. The President continues to redress asymmetrical trade with China, as well as with former NAFTA partners and Europe. He jawbones companies to curb offshoring and outsourcing. The current economic recovery and low consumer prices have uplifted millions of middle-class Americans who appreciate the upswing.

2. Trump does not exist in a vacuum. Many supporters turned off by some of his antics are still far more appalled by an emerging radical neo-socialist Democratic agenda. If the alternative to Trump is a disturbing tolerance among some Democrats for anti-Semitism, the Green New Deal, reparations, a permissive approach to abortion even very late in pregnancy, a wealth tax, a 70-90% top income tax rate, the abolition of ICE, open borders, and Medicare for all, Trump’s record between 2017-20 will seem moderate and preferable. Progressives do not fully appreciate how the hysterics and media coverage of the Kavanaugh hearings, the Covington teenagers and the Jussie Smollett psychodrama turned off half the country. Such incidents and their reportage confirmed suspicions of cultural bias, media distortions, and an absence of fair play and reciprocity.

Do read the whole thing. You’ll be glad you did. Ignore CNN’s cute inserts.

Mt. Popocatepetl Erupted Monday Night about 9:30 by The Elephant's Child


Mt. Popocatépetl is one of the most active volcanoes in the world, and only 43 miles away from Mexico City. Approximately 25 million people live within a 60 mile radius of the crater. So when the mountain does something, everyone sits up and takes notice. On Monday night at 9:38 PM a massive explosion sent a column of volcanic ash almost a mile into the sky. The explosion was loud enough to shake doors and windows in the city of Puebla.

The mountain has been increasingly active in recent months, and authorities are currently preparing for the worse case scenarios. They have drafted a special evacuation plan for locals in case there is a more violent eruption.

Scientists say that the volcano is capable of producing a catastrophic eruption. Popocatépetl is considered the most dangerous volcano in North America in terms of explosive activity and threat to populations. The current moderate scale can switch fairly quickly to a large, catastrophic Plinian eruption, the largest and most violent of all volcanic eruptions.

Wikipedia defines a Plinian eruption (or Vesuvian eruption) as similar to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, which destroyed the ancient Roman cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii. Such eruptions are marked by columns of volcanic debris and hot gases ejected high into the stratosphere, the second layer of Earth’s atmosphere. Key characteristics are the ejection of large amounts of pumice and powerful continuous gas-driven eruptions. Short eruptions can end in less than a day, longer events can take several days or even months. The amount of magma erupted can be so large that it depletes the magma chamber below and causes the top of the volcano to collapse resulting in a caldera. A disaster that could potentially kill millions.

Popocatépetl had a dramatic effect on the ancient Aztecs. Giant mud flows covered entire Aztec cities and some were so large they buried entire pyramids in super-heated mud. We haven’t seen anything like that in modern times, the mountain had been dormant for a very long time before becoming active again in the 1990s.

Remember that our West Coast from Alaska and the Aleutians all the way down through Chilé is part of the “Ring of Fire,” with Mt. St. Helens which did erupt in 1980, Many of our other mountains are also dormant volcanoes – Mt. Rainier, Oregon’s Mt. Hood, to mention the more famous ones.

We need to keep a close eye on this one. (ht: Zero Hedge)

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