I had dinner at an Indian restaurant today. It was yummy. In a related story, India and Pakistan are going to blow each other up.
In similarly cheerful news, suicide bombers will eventually attack the U.S., Al Qaeda terrorists are hoping to blow up a bunch of apartment buildings, and some Palestinians were planning to destroy Israel’s tallest buildings, but were foiled. Hey, at least they were foiled, right? Yeah, but remember what happened the last time terrorists tried and failed to bring down a couple of big buildings? Yeah. These f**kers are persistent.
Alas, we live in a depressing world. But here’s something to be happy about: hurricane season is almost underway! Okay, maybe you don’t find that uplifting, but for a weather fanatic like me, it means that six months of Weather Channel-watching excitement are right around the corner. And best of all, this year’s list of hurricane names includes Bertha! I’ve been hit by two consecutive Berthas, in 1990 (while vacationing on Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island) and in 1996 (at home in Connecticut). They recycle the names every six years, you see. So that means it’s time for another Bertha!
Anyway, it should be fun. Let’s just hope nobody gets hurt. I like big, beautiful hurricanes that stay out to sea!!! The season begins June 1. :)
The shock wave from Saturday’s X-class solar flare rushed past Earth at 9:50 PM Pacific time Monday, and contrary to my previous statement that it probably “won’t produce a big aurora storm,” a strong display of Northern lights is now underway! Check out this satellite map to see how far south the “auroral oval” is stretching — all across the upper Great Plains.
For the very latest auroral satellite images, click here. For a chart of the “Kp Index” (the higher the numbers, the more intense the storm), click here. For the latest news, visit SpaceWeather.com!
Well, it looks like yesterday big solar flare won’t produce a big aurora storm. The flare was on the Sun’s western limb, so the shock wave it produced is likely to deliver only a “glancing blow” to Earth, according to SpaceWeather.com. Whatever Northern lights we do get will probably happen Monday or Tuesday.
In the mean time, an S3-class radiation storm is in progress! One of the things such storms do is, they create “noise” in satellite images, which you can see in the animation above. (Another example.) See how it looks like there’s about a thousand comets moving in all directions? And notice how those “comets” mysteriously appeared at the same exact time the shock wave happened? Well, guess what? They’re not comets — they’re just noise, caused by the high levels of radiation. But don’t worry, there’s no danger to humans (although if you’re flying in an airplane at high latitudes, you might get the equivalent of about one chest x-ray worth of radiation).
In other news, it turns out the Northern lights over the weekend were visible from Southern California — but not with the naked eye. You had to have a camera set on long exposure and facing north. (Wouldn’t have worked for me anyway. The only “Northern lights” you can see from USC are the lights of downtown L.A., which is due north of us.) Here’s an image from San Diego:
Okay, first all, it’s “tremor,” not “temblor.” Temblor is a stupid word. Like, do you honestly meet your friend on the street and say, “Dude, that was one hell of a temblor?” Of course not, because it’s STUPID!!! Don’t even get me started.
Secondly, here is some more local coverage from the Plattsburgh, NY area.
Finally — and this has nothing to do with the earthquake — those of you from Newington may be interested to know that they’re demolishing the old Mrs. Pips building!
Another solar flare! It happened at around 6:50 PM Pacific time. This one is a powerful X-class flare, and it is already causing an S2 (moderate) radiation storm on Earth! But it’s unclear whether another Coronal Mass Ejection (the things that produce Northern Lights) is headed toward Earth. If it is, it would get here in 2-3 days. Stay tuned to SpaceWeather.com for the very latest!
Wow! This one is from Wisconsin. More aurora images from last night: click here!
Above is the CNN map of the epicenter. Here is a map of the earthquake’s effects, based on people’s reports of how much shaking they felt. Here is a similar map showing what people felt in Canada. And here is a list of aftershocks.
Oh, and just in case you were wondering, I have experienced two earthquakes during my time in Southern California, one of which was literally about a hundred times stronger than your stupid Northeast earthquake. So nyah. :)
My first quake, the really big one, was the Hector Mine earthquake on October 16, 1999, less than two months into my freshman year at USC. That one woke me up at around 3:00 AM, whereupon I immediately jumped across the room, turned on my camcorder and yelled, “Earthquake! Earthquake!” (The camera missed the shaking, but I did get footage of the electricity flashing on and off. Of course, that could be any summer day in California…) That quake was 7.1 on the Richter scale — very big — but its epicenter was quite far away, way out in the desert, and it did very little damage.
My second earthquake occured on September 9, 2001. It was a Sunday afternoon, and I was sitting in the basement of Doheny Library — which had only just reopened after being closed for two years while undergoing, of all things, an earthquake retrofit — when all of a sudden, the bookstacks started to shake, the overhead pipes and lights started swinging back and forth, and the ground very definitely shook. This quake was only a 4.2 (which, because the Richter scale is logarithmic, means it was almost 1,000 times weaker than the Hector Mine quake), but its epicenter was much closer to USC — in the Beverly Hills/West Hollywood area — so the shaking was almost as strong. For me personally, it was much scarier, since I was all alone in a basement surrounded by large metal objects. I haven’t set foot in the basement of Doheny Library since. :) (Although, tragically, the earthquake was by no means the scariest thing that would happen that week. About 36 hours later, the Sept. 11 attacks took place).
Local coverage from the Press-Republican newspaper of upstate New York, where the earthquake was centered.
Earthquakes on the East Coast??? What is this?!? I’m supposed to be the one feeling the earth move under my feet! :) But there was indeed a magnitude 5.1 earthquake this morning, not in Southern California like usual, but in Plattsburg, New York. It was felt throughout the Northeast, and it woke up my parents in Newington, Connecticut. Their conversation reportedly went as follows:
D: “What’s that?”
M: “What’s what?”
D: “The bed is shaking. And the mirror. I hear noises. Mah.”
M: “Settle down.”
D: “It’s either an earthquake, or the house is falling down from the termites.”
M: “Settle down. Balf (the quarry down the street) is just blasting again.”
The quake was felt from the Buffalo area (where Becky is from) to Boston, and as far north as Ontario, Canada. Here’s an Associated Press article about it, and here’s a local article from Connecticut’s NBC affiliate. Oh, and here’s the latest from the U.S. Geological Survey, including seismograph readings.
Here are some quotes from the Fark.com discussion board:
“I felt it here in Boston this morning.. Thought I was nuts till I got a msg from a friend of mine who felt it too.. My comp desk swayed for awhile and I felt the building shake.. thought I was just crazy though..”
“It woke my up in Hoboken, NJ. Pretty strong considering it was at 6:50am and i was out cold.”
“wow. i felt it, and i didn’t believe my own body. i live in cambridge, ma, and there was a slight shaking for a few seconds (i probably only noticed because i was sitting really still, and my roommates monitor made a creaking noise). i thought i had just had a muscle spasm or something, but i guess my first asumption was right. spooky.”
“I live about 20 miles from the epicenter. It was a pretty impressive way to wake up.”
“The entire western seaboard is laughing at you. That’s like farting after eating Taco Bell to them”
“I felt that sucker in Albany, NY. Took me a little while to realize that it wasn’t my washing machine that was shaking the house.”
“I’m in the Philly suburbs and it woke me up. My cats got pretty upset as well.”
“The end is near.”
“wrong coast for earthquakes. confused. need booze.”
“Ashcroft said that there was a a terror threat against New England. I didn’t realize that Al Qaida could control earthquakes.”
“An earthquake on 4/20, it must be a sign i tells ya! either that, or god was smiting me for last night’s actions. lol. I sure wish it had happened while i was awake smoking. just isn’t the same if you sleep through it (fortunately i have been in many earthquakes so i can pretend i was awake)”
“Sorry fellas - I had one too many sausage and pepper sandwiches last night. I certainly didn’t intend to wake up the entire northeast with my *minor* gastrointestinal difficulties.”
“i go to school across the lake and the earthquake woke us all up. i thought a truck had ran into the building”
“Didn’t feel it here. Admittedly, I live on the other side of the Atlantic ;0)”
“I live here in Rochester NY and it woke me up…I wasn’t sure if it was real or not or if I was just dreaming. Then I was scared something blew up. I have an uncle that lives in Plattsburg! I wonder if he’s ok…”
“That was quite the wake-up call… I live in Plattsburgh, I was called in to work (the TV station), probably will be stuck here until the wee hours reporting every cracked foundation in the county…”
“nothing wakes me up and that motherfarkin’ earthquake did.! i live in canton NY, bout 50 miles away…i wrote it off as either base explosions or mine demolitions until i signed on the computer this am.”
“Route 9N, near Clintonville, saw one of its lanes crack and slide over 5 yards. It visually looks like flood damage. Obviously traffic in that area isn’t very intense, but it’ll require some kind of temporary fix to make two-way traffic run over one lane at that spot. There’s also a bridge in the Town of Plattsburgh that’s been deemed unsafe for traffic, more little cracks like such will probably roll in over the day”
“everytime i leave the northeast to go to northern california there’s an earthquake in the new york area. coincidence?”
“As a Californian, may I just say…
“Note to self: do not visit New York before the apocalypse.”
Click here for more.
In other news, click here for local coverage from the area where the tragic Amtrak crash took place on Thursday. And just in case you were wondering what Friday’s Miami Herald front page looked like, well, wonder no more:
Correction: Solar storm is still ongoing!!! If you are in a northern state, go outside and look north!!!
The solar shock wave (technically known as a Coronal Mass Ejection, or CME) hit at almost the exact moment I was posting the news (below) that it was on its way! It wasn’t too severe though. Check out a satellite image of Northern Hemisphere auroras at 1:16 AM PDT, or a photograph of the Northern lights over North Dakota at 2:45 AM PDT, or simply check out the very latest from SpaceWeather.com.
Check SpaceWeather.com for the latest news, or click here for up-to-date satellite views of aurora activity. (If the “Activity Lvl” is in double-digits, and/or the “Power” is in triple-digits, we’re in business.)