But I ran across this today, and given my proclivity to take any opportunity to point out how pathetically stupid some of our fellow human beings are it warranted an airing . . . no pun intended.
I’ve been reading a lot about meteorology as it pertains to the mechanics of weather. Nothing too heavy but I like to get a look under the hood of things sometimes. Now, I can write the following and to most people it will be obvious: Weather is not only affected by, but also caused by a host of factors. Pretty basic, right?
Mountains affect air flow, vertically and horizontally; moisture in air causes condensation, thus snow, rain, hail, etc; temperature differences create pressure differences, and those pressure differences drive winds; ocean currents affect weather patterns; Earth’s rotation has an affect on pressures and winds, something known as the Coriolis Effect. Nothing super fancy there, and when you stop and think about them they make sense.
I don’t think it unfair to say most everyone has heard of El Niño or El Niña. Here’s some info from NOAA’s site (the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration):
El Niño is characterized by unusually warm ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific, as opposed to La Niña, which characterized by unusually cold ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific. El Niño is an oscillation (think of water in the bath tub when it sloshes back and forth) of the ocean-atmosphere system in the tropical Pacific having important consequences for weather around the globe.
Among these consequences are increased rainfall across the southern tier of the US and in Peru, which has caused destructive flooding, and drought in the West Pacific, sometimes associated with devastating brush fires in Australia.
You get the point. These two anomalies of our planet’s weather system can wreak havoc.
I would also bet that most people (before today I probably would have said “all” people) know that it is called El Niño. As it turns out, not so.
This little story doesn’t come from some bygone generation, so the excuse of “modern technological advances” can’t be used. This happened back in December 1997. This story is taken from the book Freaks of the Storms by Randy Cerveny. The story was reported by a reporter named Buck Wolf for an ABC News affiliate in California.
There was a 74-year-old “retired Nay seaman with the unfortunate name Al Nino. During the 1997 wet El Niño winter many people called Nino’s home, apparently holding him personally responsible for the rainy weather.
I know. I know. It sounds incredibly made up. Nobody’s that stupid, right? Sadly, this is a true story. Yes, there’s more.
Nino said that he tried to be polite to the callers but that he really didn’t understand why people would think the much maligned weather phenomenon would have its own telephone number. (Touchè, Al!) Nino’s strangest phone call was from a man who held Nino responsible for his daughters’s loss of virginity, because she was unable to get home one night after a major rainstorm. “I said I was sorry, although I assured him I didn’t have anything to do with it.”
Wow. I’m at a loss for words.
How do people of that particular strain of stupidity actually get through life? It’s a damn good thing the brain stem controls involuntary functions, like, oh, breathing. What amazes me more is these same morons figured out how to use a telephone. We can put people into earth orbit upon a space station but we can’t convince our own species that intelligence is in it’s best interest. As I have pointed out before we often reward stupidity, hell, we celebrate it!
Albert Einstein said it best: “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.” You can bet your last breath the latter is true.