A Short Re-Post On Red Sprites And Blue Jets: Cosmic Origins Of Lightning?

I’m a non-scientist, so this is probably partially understood, somewhat accurate, and certainly dated:

Here is a well-done video from the Sprites Project at the University of Alaska:

During what is normally a cloud to ground lightning strike during a thunderstorm, there is occasionally a discharge of energy above the cloud, high up in the atmosphere.  These phenomenae are called blue jets, red sprites, and elves.  They are faint, require a dark background against which to view them, and also require that you be far enough away to see the storm from a distance (preferably from aircraft or a mountain overlooking a plain).

From Christopher Paul Barrington-Leigh’s abstract here, found at the Conjugate Sprites Project (where I got most of this information) page:

“Sprites are highly structured discharges lasting 5 to 100 ms and extending from 40 to 85 km altitude which result from intense electric fields following a major redistribution of electric charge in the troposphere — usually a positive cloud-to-ground return stroke.”

The Runaway Breakdown thesis here’s a quote from wikipedia by Nikolai Lehtinen:

“In the upper atmosphere, cosmic rays striking air molecules within thunderstorms can supply the relativistic electrons which trigger a breakdown in “runaway” mode. The breakdown region is a conductive plasma many tens of meters long, and it can supply the “seed” which triggers a lightning flash.”

An interesting possibility…

Related On This Site: You can get Walter Lewin’s Lectures at MIT for free:  Repost: From MIT OpenCourseWare: Walter Lewin’s Lecture On Lightning

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Via NPR: In Vivian, South Dakota-The Largest Hailstone Ever Recorded?

Full audio here.

The previous record was 7 in in diameter, and fell to the ground in Aurora, Nebraska in 2003.  This is not quite official yet, but is measuring 8 in in diameter and weighing in at 1 lb 15 oz, and was perhaps as large as 11 in before it melted to measured size.

Here’s a graphic on hail formation, and some more information here.  It takes a tremendous amount of lift to keep stones that big aloft.

Also On This Site:  Hurricanes By Popular DemandTornadoes! Some LinksThe Greensburg Tornado on Doppler Radar

A Short Post On Red Sprites And Blue Jets: Cosmic Origins Of Lightning?

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From The NY Times: ‘Pakistan Aids Insurgency In Afghanistan, Reports Suggest’

Full piece here.

As of now, it’s not conclusive (part of the Wikileaks dump).  We’ve known that Pakistan has been playing both ends, but just how much support they give to the extremists on their side of the border might be surprising…and, of course, we still need Pakistan’s cooperation.

Addition:  Obama hasn’t exactly been drumming up European support, which is vital.   The White House says the leak puts national security at risk, which it very well may do.

Addition:  Stewart Baker argues that it’s irresponsible and it’s unethical (same old news), and it’s a vain attempt to have us pull out or claim the injustice of the war.

Another Addition: Is the aim here somewhat similar to the NY Times Mineral Piece?  Eventually, the base over on the left may force Obama to its own contradictions: involve yourself in the affairs of other nations according to your moral obligations, but war is bad, so are corporations, America is seeking blood for oil...From Foreign Policy: ‘Afghanistan Has $1 Trillion In Untapped Mineral Resources?’

Also On This Site: Fareed Zakaria points out that terrorism and the Pakistani state have a close relationship: Fareed Zakaria At Newsweek: ‘Terrorism’s Supermarket’Fareed Zakaria Via FareedZakaria.com: ‘The Real Failed State Risk

Yes, they’ve been playing us for a while (it may be in their political interest to do so): Dexter Filkins In The NY Times: The Long Road To Chaos In Pakistan

Ebrahim Moosa At Bloggingheads Discusses Islamic Reform

Are we headed toward 19th century geo-politics?:  Obama’s Decision On Missile Defense And A Quote From Robert Kagan’s: ‘The Return Of History And The End Of Dreams’ From Foreign Affairs: ‘The Geography Of Chinese Power’

Do we try and invest in global institutions as flawed as they are?:  Daniel Deudney On YouTube Responding to Robert Kagan: Liberal Democracy Vs. Autocracy

by Ilyasansri

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Via An Emailer: Some Criticism Of Leo Strauss?

A recent book with some criticism of Leo Strauss passed along by an emailer:

How would Straussians reconcile using the logic of Nietzsche (the eternal recurrence and the will to power) to get around…well…Nietzsche…and back to the Greeks, or to the Straussian reason/ revelation distinction.  Has this Nietzschean interpretation of the Greeks led to an unnecessary esotericism in Strauss?  This seems to be the main argument against some of Strauss’ thinking that I could find: he’s not owning up to his debt to Nietzsche.

I’m attracted to the idea that certain interpreters of Strauss also find appealing:  to provide an alternative to the project of reason and its dangers.  Maybe one could return to Plato and to Natural Law and Natural Right thinkers and restore a conversation that could prevent painting us into the corners that old Europe has painted itself into, and a way out from under value speak and excessive relativism, and importing the most toxic European heritage.  I find Strauss’ fact/value distinction and tools to challenge historicism quite compelling as well.

I also don’t necessarily count myself among those who would use Strauss (or Strauss via Nietzsche) to justify one’s religious beliefs directly because I’m more an agnostic if anything. Here’s Dinesh D’Souza taking that route (using Nietzsche to defend his religious beliefs) in a debate against Daniel Dennett:

I’m aware I haven’t touched on the depths of the work here.  Your thoughts and comments are welcome.

Also On This Site:  Harry Jaffa At The Claremont Institute: ‘Leo Strauss, the Bible, and Political Philosophy’…Here’s Nietzsche scholar J.P. Stern on Nietzsche’s anti-Christian, anti-secular morality (Kant, utilitarians), anti-democratic, and anti-Greek (except the “heroic” Greek) biases…From Wikipedia’s Page On Leo Strauss: A Few Quotes:  From YouTube: Leo Strauss On The Meno-More On The Fact/Value Distinction?

Dinesh D’Souza And Daniel Dennett at Tufts University: Nietzsche’s Prophesy…

What are some dangers of the projects of reason in the wake of the Enlightenment: A Few Thoughts On Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts Of Liberty”

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Repost-Tunku Varadarajan At The Daily Beast: ‘The Skeptic’s Guide To Copenhagen’

Full post here.  (A-Z).

“I don’t believe it’s a conspiracy, or that it’s made up, or that there aren’t plenty of informed individuals who believe it entirely apolitically. However I also believe that the left desperately want it to be true, and would be crushed if some miraculous evidence came to light that disproved it beyond question.”

Worth a look.  It’s entirely reasonable to be skeptical of the foolish idealism and re-sentiment being directed toward government action and economic regulation.

Related On This Site:  Bjorn Lomborg saw this coming a while ago, pricking the mighty Al Gore (who is moving beyond satire):  From The WSJ-A Heated Exchange: Al Gore Confronts His Critics

From Watts Up With That: Richard Lindzen On Positive Climate Feedback

From Chris Colose: Lindzen On Climate Feedback

Andrew Revkin In The NY Times: Global Warming Moderation From Bloggingheads: On Freeman Dyson’s Global Warming Heresy…From The WSJ-A Heated Exchange: Al Gore Confronts His Critics…From The Literary Review–Weather Channel Green Ideology: Founder John Coleman Upset.

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Fareed Zakaria Via FareedZakaria.com: ‘The Real Failed State Risk’

Full article here.

“As the scholar Ken Menkhaus has pointed out, global terrorism seems to profit less from failed states and more from weak ones, like Pakistan, where some element of the regime is actively assisting the terrorists. After all, there are many drastically failed states (Burma, Congo, Haiti) that pose no global terrorist threat.”

So, be ready to not engage to the point of nation-building:

“The idea is to watch the situation carefully for signs of real global terrorism—which so far are limited. Al-Shabab’s “links” with Al Qaeda seem to be mostly rhetoric on both sides. But if they become real and deadly, be willing to strike.

Also On This Site:  Zakaria points out that terrorism and the Pakistani state have a close relationship: Fareed Zakaria At Newsweek: ‘Terrorism’s Supermarket’

From March 27th, 2009 At WhiteHouse.Gov: Remarks By The President On A New Strategy For Afghanistan And PakistanRepost-From Michael Yon: ‘The Battle For Kandahar’From Commonweal: Andrew Bacevich “The War We Can’t Win: Afghanistan And The Limits Of American Power”

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From The DOD Website: ‘National Guard to Deploy Troops to Mexican Border’

Full piece here.

“The citizen-soldiers and -airmen will serve alongside federal agents for one year as an augmentation force. The troops will work to prevent illegal immigration and drug trafficking north of the border, as well as to counter weapons and cash smuggling going south, Alan Bersin, CBP commissioner, said today at a Pentagon news conference.”

Perhaps not too big of a deal, for now.

I would point out that there are rational safety and economic reasons that people join the drug gangs:  they can have protection (for a while) and they can make money (even, and perhaps for some, especially if, it’s dirty).  Greed and fear, the survival instinct, murder, cunning and the naked desire for power rule in daily operation.

What is our national interest in helping Mexico develop a better educational system…a stronger economy…a more representative government with more equality of opportunity with the resources they already have?

How should, and would we even pursue such goals (keeping in mind how our ideas motivate us by using military force and soft power in other parts of the world, by using international institutions and alone, by using direct diplomacy or not)?

We have a long, shared border, and thousands upon thousands of daily interactions near and across it.  Obama’s too far left on this for me, and I don’t like the poitics of it.  I have little faith in immigration reform as he’s (kind of, and for many political reasons) proposing.

Related On This Site:  Repost-Immigration: Will A Wall Work? From Commonweal: Andrew Bacevich “The War We Can’t Win: Afghanistan And The Limits Of American Power” Reno Man Takes Down Mexican Flag With Army Knife

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