imageEvery morning on the long commute to work (either 23-feet to our “soft room” or the big 135’ commute to the office) I begin with a question that goes something like this:

If I clear my mind, what is the pattern or “thing” that will fall out of my computer that seems like a meme du jour?

This morning the oddly threaded world is talking about electric skies at some volume.

The first item was a story about the Google data center in Belgium that was impacted now by one or two lighting strikes, but four of them.

That struck me as curious:  Lightning doesn’t usually happen that often in close proximity to a single geographical point…except during the most severe of storms.

Then the i-Ching Inbox fired off. 

No, it’s not a piece of software (several readers have asked):  It’s just that when something is going around as a “strong vibe” through the world, the Inbox for email usually tosses in its two cents worth.

Sure enough…

My buddy Gaye of (who has been doing nifty articles featuring water planning for emergencies, like this one) reported that not only was her internet connection down Sunday, but the ham radios were acting up.

OK, we schedule a remedial Skype training session with her for today or tomorrow.  But that’s only the start.

The next i-Ching Inbox note deal is from my oak leaf cluster source warhammer who isd also somehow in the “electric skies” moment:

Here’s a new take on an old topic – I love the common sense that oozes out of this commentary by the Washington Post’s James Woolsy and Peter Pry:


In the game of nukes, it only takes one – and one EMP detonation over east or central North America would expose the U.S. to many other strategic  and just plain survival threats.

The H.E.M.P. (high-altitude electro-magnetic pulse) weapon achieves maximum surface area effects when detonated at an altitude above 19 miles or approximately 100,000 feet altitude.  The higher the detonation, the wider the area of electro-magnetic devastation below. 

Contrary to the graphic in the linked article above, the areas of EMP surface effect are not circular.  Looking down on a U.S. map, if an EMP were detonated over Omaha, Nebraska (the center of the continental U.S.), the area of most damaging effect would look like a large clown nose with a big, wide smile below it.   The ‘nose’ would cover all of N. Dakota, while the edges of the ‘smile’ would run from western Wyoming to east Michigan.  A smaller area within the smile, just below the nose, would produce the most profound effects.  Outside the smile, electronic and communications damage would be severe but not catastrophic.

Compounding the long term EMP ground effects, nuclear material released by the atmospheric blast would also create a mini radiation belt above the earth that would adversely affect all satellite and HF radio communications for years if not decades to come as the ‘cloud’ spanned the glove over time.  Then there’s the radioactive fallout over the entire globe as the bomb debris disperses and gravity ultimately brings it back down to earth and sea.

U.S. missile warning systems should detect a ballistic missile launched on a trajectory over the CONUS.  Without a viable east coast, airborne or space based missile defense system, all U.S. leaders would be able to do is issue a warning, prepare to absorb the attack and issue retaliatory strike orders against the perpetrator, or in this notional case, Iran.  However, Iran could compliment the upper atmospheric H.E.M.P. detonation with a series of air and ground detonated non-nuclear EMP detonations over, say, military installations, power and water distribution hubs, New York city, Washington DC, Chicago, LA, San Fran, etc.   These could be placed on commercial airliners, on trucks, trains, ships or anything that can carry a few hundered pounds in the air, on the land on on the sea.

. . . and then there’s this interesting and totally coincidental add to the Iranian H.E.M.P. angle . . .

Just an aside – a cruise missile could reach 90,000’ if it the fuel system was adjustable for the decreased oxygen environment.  With an ‘afterburner’ stage, it could rapidly ascend to that altitude, but he overall range would be shorter.  U.S. Tomahawk missiles can reportedly traverse around 900 NM or 1036 statute miles.

I personally doubt Iran would launch such an attack alone.  A H.E.M.P. attack would likely have other players with more firepower and much more to gain geo-politically from a deeply wounded U.S. superpower.

Face it – variations on this scenario should scare the scat out of the coolest cat. 

And indeed, it does.

And, of course, that gets me looking for other oddities of lightning:

College student struck by lightning heads back to school

Lightning Strikes Spark Overnight Tulsa, Owasso Fires

Lightning delays US women’s exhibition with Costa Rica

Lightning strike causes house fire in Darien Illinois

And  up on I-25 in Colorado:  A Motorcyclist recovering after crash blamed on lightning.

To me, though, the category capper was the pictures from the International Space Station which capture a phenomena called “sprites” which can go upwards of 62 miles above the earth and occur ov er the top of lightning strikes.

Sound familiar?

It should.  Wikipedia says that 100 km line is important:

The Kármán line, or Karman line, lies at an altitude of 100 kilometres (62 mi) above the Earth‘s sea level, and commonly represents the boundary between the Earth’s atmosphere and outer space.[2] This definition is accepted by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), which is an international standard-setting and record-keeping body for aeronautics and astronautics.

The line is named after Theodore von Kármán (1881–1963), a HungarianAmerican engineer and physicist. He was active primarily in aeronautics and astronautics. He was the first to calculate that around this altitude, the atmosphere becomes too thin to support aeronautical flight, because a vehicle at this altitude would have to travel faster than orbital velocity to derive sufficient aerodynamic lift to support itself (neglecting centrifugal force).[3] There is an abrupt increase in atmospheric temperature and interaction with solar radiation just below the line, which places the line within the greater thermosphere.

The question, then, over the second cup of coffee and thinking about this “electric sky” thing might distill down to this:

Are the data around at the moment a subtle way of telling us that the Electrically Charged Model of the solar system – popular with researchers now being quietly, backed-up by some serious science? 

And even more intriguing:  Is there a correlation between numbers of lightning strikes worldwide in a given period, solar winds and flux and what have you, and the behavior of humans?

And of course that one other thing: 

The Markets.

ETP:  Extensible Thinking Point

Lightning is not really the point of this morning’s column.  Robots is.  But the notion that an “idea hit him like a bolt of lightning” is a common enough phrase.

Since we all inhabit electro-chemical bags of skin and bones, delicately electrically balanced and we are trying to migrate to silicon, the looming question is “How many layers are there?”

And the migration to silicon is going full swing:  I trust you saw where in June, a computer passed the so-called Turing Test which aims to convince over 30% of users that they are interacting with a real human?

We share one layer, and we are building Layer #2, but was there a precursor level?   Layer 0? And how many layers?

If we exist in Layer 1, are building Layer 2, then there may be Layer 0, Layer –1, and the Layer 2 we build may design Layer 3  (or reinvent Layer 1, us).  So consciousness ratchets up?  A kind of grand circularity?

I’m  betting – now that we have gotten layer #2 up and running in beta mode, that there are multiple other layers because when comes to things like this, the Universe doesn’t seem to conveniently stop on whole numbers it its intricacy.

And if we can shove an “approximation of consciousness into a chip” then the odds get really good that an approximation of consciousness has been stuffed into bags of skin and bones.  Us, and that begs the question “How good an approximation are we?”

Further:  Are the commonalities in all the religious books and dogma in the world the software documentation left around from the previous Layer?   Aha!  The Help Menu.

So who did that “stuffing” and was IT, in turn, stuffed by….oh-oh…rabbit hole sighted.

Aging Notes:  Is There Something to “Old Man Strength?”

Here is an intriguing note from reader Wayne:

Hi George,

A thought, shared from a Physical Therapist-arm & hand specialist:

When falling ‘properly’ (e.g.  martial arts), the arm is extended with the forearm during the fall helping take the load on impact.  The main muscle helping here is the triceps muscle, at the back of the arm–not forearm.  This is an automatic, reflex action.  Weakness here can mean a bad fracture in a fall, strength may mean only a strain or sprain or wrist fracture.. The triceps is strengthened by push-ups. (ugh)   One may push from the toes, knees, or pelvis as necessary to start the strengthening process

So if you’re aging,  (I’m not)  it sounds like some form of push-up might be something to toss into your activity mix, along with walking or whatever your favorite flavor of cardio is.

I’ve put this right at the top of my to-do list.  For 2023.  No, this is more important: 2019.

Write when you break even,


End-of-World or Options?
DIRT: "Day Information Residue" Trading