Friday, April 16, 2010

Pressure Schmessure

Recently I have pondered and drifted within the thought waves on the topic of volcanoes and their impact on everyday life. Normally one thinks of mount St. Helens or Krakatoa, inland or island, these vast mounds bring on a new level to the "Don't build on top of water" saying. Water or no water, lava is not exactly much better.

Consider every natural disaster movie you have ever seen, I am talking from Dante's Peak, (Which even James Bond could have stopped) to 2012, especially the last one. First of all you have John Cusack (had it been Downy Jr, we would Iron Man our way through the crisis) flying around in various plane throughout areas where there is clearly more than few particles of volcanic ash on its way into the atmosphere, which by the way is really impressive when you consider the force needed). But nowhere in the film does his plane go down.

Riddle me this. Would it not be just plain fair (no pun intended) to perhaps portay this film in a way slightly more realistic. Take what is happening throughout northern Europe as of yesterday. Left and right flights are not only being cancelled but airspace itself if closed off tighter than post 9/11 White House. No commercial traffice despite Norway being way far from Iceland. Modern radar and meteological reports which could aid in the navigation of some flights around the ash cloud are available. By all means I am not saying we should take air safety likely. But when not even the rescue helicopters can go out flying or the low level ambulance choppers, then we got a problem. But maybe 2012 isn't wrong. They were smart enough to create boats, but ofcourse they foresaw the shifting of land mass ultimately causing tsunamis, so why not. But coastal ferries have seen a massive passenger surge since yesterday, as well as busses and trains. It's a jungle out there.

But if we are seeing these kinds restrictions, especially in the prevailing climate, why not pour more research funds into developing engines that could operate in harsh in environments? I might be getting a bit ahead of myself, but best case scenario we get choppers and planes that can operate in sandstorms. Also, come doomsday apocalypse, we could airlift the lucky few (I foresee that the genetically superior will survive, much as Darwin predicted) without the fuss of all this volcanic ash getting in our way. Also, it should have occured to the good folks at JPL or NASA that eventually we might run into a habitable planet but with less than friendly atmosphere. Wouldn't it be find and dandy to have some sort of craft capable of thrusting through those little ash flakes.