Clearing the Fog
in the
War of Words


  logomachy--1. A dispute about words. 2. A dispute carried on in words only; a battle of words.
logomachon--1. One who argues about words. 2. A word warrior.



The Masters of Bugga-boo lose one

Whew! It looks like that asteroid won’t hit in 2029. Fortunately, new data were uncovered in old observations before some senator could start a Federal program centered in his state or hold hearings blaming Donald Rumsfeld. (h/t to Jerry Pournelle)

Of course, since the probability of a collision was no more than 2.7% with the initial data, it’s no big improvement, so there is NO REASON TO GET TOO COCKY. The Masters of Bugga-boo still have lots of horrible things in store for us, from the evils of outsourcing to global warming nonsense.

Some of this urge toward hysteria drove the headline writer of "Tsunami risk here is remote, scientists say", but the article is interesting, if a bit off-kilter in its explanation of the mechanics of tsunamis (this page is good on the generation of the tsunami, and this one has a clear explanation of the hydrodynamics, with just enough math to be satisfying). Philadelphia is too far inland to be affected by even an extraordinary tsunami, but the article goes on to consider ever-more remote possibilities of an Atlantic coast tsunami caused by geophysical disturbances. No mention of a meteorite striking the Atlantic.

I think they missed something, though.

Philadelphia lies on the flood plains of two tidal rivers. A tsunami would reach a few hundred feet inland from the Jersey Shore. But what happens at the 15-mile wide mouth of the Delaware Bay? Would the tsunami create a bore that would sweep up the 103 miles to the Philadelphia/Camden waterfronts?

Not that I’m worried. I live five miles away from the river, on the last outcropping of the Piedmont Plateau, 100 feet above the city.



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