Friday, June 13, 2008

A big volcano, an asteroid strike, or nuclear winter - take your pick

This morning when I went out on the front porch, there was a strong acrid smell in the air. So strong that my wife said, "A house must have burned down somewhere near last night". If that had been the case, it wouldn't have surprised either one of us. We live in a neighborhood of homes that, on average, are about a hundred years old. Fires are not that uncommon, though much more common in the winter.

The very strong smell of a recent fire, however, did not emanate from our neighborhood or an adjoining one. As I made the drive into Raleigh, I didn't notice how must haziness there was ahead of me. Not until my wife called me from her office and said, "That smell wasn't from a house. It's from a wildfire over a hundred fifty miles away."

That's when I noticed as I drove along the highway how thick the air was. Fire? It might as well have been down the street.

The same thought leapt into my head as my wife said "This tells you how easily a nuclear winter could screw everything up". I wasn't thinking of nukes myself, but, rather, that huge volcano in the pacific that, if it went, would throw several times the amount of dust and ash in the atmosphere that detonated from Mount St. Helen's. Or how about Yellowstone national park? I saw a program on Discovery that revealed that the ground beneath is unusually active, has blown before, and may blow again soon ("soon" being a relative term--probably not in my lifetime). If it does, the particulate matter that will be flung into the sky will devastate several states and will decimate agriculture in the U.S.

Not to be a pessimist, of course, but it struck both of us how a fire from so away could be smelled and, to some extent, seen so vividly.

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Prior Posts

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Social Security Disability Income - SSDI
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Correct Steps for Filing a Social Security Disability Claim