So Tuesday morning I was trying to juggle several things at once – couple of storms (mostly minor, but wrapping up Hurricane Lidia, which dramatically intensified to a Cat 4 just before landfall near Puerto Vallarta), several major geopolitical crises (the obvious one, and the other obvious one), and an important but minor network security change. Those of you familiar with the intertubes know that such changes often have to be staged, such that changes propagate through the Domain Name System routing tables properly. Well, at 9am I felt fine, by early afternoon I had crashed with high temperature and all the fun stuff that goes with it. There was an error in one of the files, and the web site dropped off line. I felt truly horrible all day Wednesday and Thursday. I didn’t notice the site was offline until yesterday, hopefully everything is back to normal now. I still feel terrible, but am becoming somewhat more functional.
As for Lidia, at least two were killed and there was significant damage. The dramatic intensification was unexpected, but we seem to be seeing that happen more and more. I haven’t analyzed all the data on this one, and I’m concerned the RI detected in some recent storms would have been overlooked historically, and therefore the trend might be an observation bias. But it is worrisome if it’s a real trend, and is one of the possible consequences of climate change that if we in fact seeing, it’s not good news for coastal residents.
Tropical Storm Sean is a fish storm in the Atlantic. There is a wave behind it that NHC has shaded as a red blob of doom on the seven day outlook, while it might become a depression and weak tropical storm it may not be more than that. Time will tell.
On the geopolitical front, major developments in Ukraine. Are we approaching the endgame? Maybe. Wish we could discuss it in a civil forum, especially what role (if any) the US should take. In the Middle East, we’re coming up on the 40th anniversary of the bombing of the US Marine Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon (23 October). I was there, as well as the bombing of the US Embassy six months earlier (18 April), which were the first we heard of a new group calling themselves “Islamic Jihad”, but in reality was a new Iranian affiliated group, Hezbollah or “Party of Allah”. I ran secure communications for some of the diplomatic efforts in the aftermath, essentially living in Israel. So as you might expect I have a few thoughts on the crisis that has exploded in there. Unfortunately, given the full-court media and political press in support of Israel it is virtually impossible to express the complexity of the situation, or what role (if any) the US can play. Certainly the attacks on civilians trigger an overwhelming emotional response, but lashing out and making things worse won’t make it better, it will only set the stage for the next round of atrocities. Only by getting at the underlying reasons for the conflict and addressing them in a fair context will bring peace to the region. Some of those reason are now pretty deeply held hatred and racism, which of course makes it infinitely worse.
So, I’m not holding my breath, and fear it’s going to get a lot worse in the coming weeks.