+' Rolla Peace Newsletter, August 29, 2017

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Rolla Peace News

August 29, 2017


Dear Friends:

          In this newsletter is:

3. THE MISFIT MATHEMATICIAN (Tom's column, http://tomsager.org)
          a) Zika Virus: We Dodged A Bullet
          b) Hurricane Harvey: But This One Got Us
          c) Our Indigestible Sun



We vigil for peace in front of the Rolla Post Office THIS THURSDAY, AUGUST 31, 2017, (and all subsequent Thursdays until peace is established) from Noon to 1:00 PM. Please try to join us. The temperature is predicted to be in the high 70s. If you do not feel comfortable standing with us in front of the Post Office, please consider driving by and showing your support for our message by honking your horn and flashing a peace sign.


On August 21, President Trump gave a speech outlining his plans for Afghanistan: War, war, and more war. Many of the same people who criticized him for his words concerning the violence in Charlottesville, and the rally in Phoenix, praised him in glowing terms for his words of war.

Isn't it interesting how, whenever a politician needs a boost to his popularity (ego), all he has to do is promote war, and people are all over him again. Apparently, war is “presidential” while peace is not. It's also interesting that of all the countries we have invaded, bombed, manipulated, etc., not one of them is inhabited largely by “white” people.

Trump obviously has some clever people around him, notwithstanding the highly-visible nut cases. With one short speech, he has managed to distract a large number of Americans from his miserable response to the alt-right violence, and at the same time smoke-screening his loss of face with North Korea. One difference, of course, is that Trump didn't write the speech.

If you'd like to read or watch Trump's speech in its entirety, here's a link.

Please do read Brian Terrell's insightful essay on the connections between war, violence, and racism. He quotes from Trump's speech: “...[those] who slaughter innocent people will find no glory in this life or the next. They are nothing but thugs and criminals and predators, and that's right—losers.” This may come true in ways that Trump and his fellow war-mongers did not intend.

3. THE MISFIT MATHEMATICIAN (Tom's column, http://tomsager.org)
          a) Zika Virus: We Dodged A Bullet
          b) Hurricane Harvey: But This One Got Us
          c) Our Indigestible Sun


The Zika epidemic which raged through the Americas last year and caused severe brain damage in thousands of fetuses has plummeted to almost nothing. Epidemiologists believe that through exposure to the virus, enough people have acquired an immunity that the zika virus is no longer able to spread easily among the population. However, don't write off the zika virus. It may flare up into an epidemic again in the future. Like its cousins that cause chikungunya and dengue, zika flare-ups may be very difficult to predict.


As of Tuesday evening, Hurricane Harvey still rages off the coast of Texas dumping prodigious quantities of water on Southeast Texas. Some locations in and around Houston have received over 50 inches of rain. Harvey already holds the record for dumping more water on the continental United States than any hurricane in recorded history, and is expected to continue bringing rain and flooding to Texas and Louisiana for at least two more days.

Many are asking if global warming is among the causes of Hurricane Harvey. Well, of course. Hurricanes feed off warm ocean waters and the waters of the Gulf are warmer now than they have been in the past, even the deeper waters of the gulf, which typically churn to the surface as a result of hurricane winds, have warmed. Sea levels are higher too. And the warm air above the Gulf holds more moisture than cooler air. All three factors lead to increased precipitation and flooding.

And lets not forget that all the money used in our wars of choice could have gone instead toward building a more flood-resistant infrastructure.

And watch out for pollution. Lots of hidden pollution will come to the surface during the floods, and with all those oil refineries and chemical plants — it may be best to write off much of Houston as a Superfund Site.

As bad as the flooding from Hurricane Harvey is, it could be far worse. 1,200 have died recently from flooding in South Asia.

Catastrophic flooding like this may have become the “new normal.”


I hope you all got out to watch the solar eclipse last Monday. Helen and I drove up to Vichy to get into the band of totality.

I posted a slide show of the eclipse with images unlike anything you are likely to have seen.

Having read parts of the Poetic Edda a few months ago, I thought about using an image for the wolf that “in monster's guise was soon to steal the sun from the sky” (Voluspo 40), but opted for the dragon image, because the line from Alberto Sánchez Argüello's Mi amigo el dragón seemed to fit so perfectly.

With Hurricane Harvey following on the heels of the eclipse, I can't get over how prophetic the lines from the Poetic Edda that I quoted a few months ago seem:
“Dark grows the sun, and in summer soon
Come mighty storms: Would you know yet more?” (Voluspo 41)

Perhaps this is somewhat frivolous; but a little frivolity is necessary to keep one's sanity. As Hamza Yusuf has stated: “We are living in a time that's so extreme that if it doesn't drive you mad, you are not sane.”


Rolla Peace News is distributed by email once a week on Tuesday evenings (except on rare occasions) and is posted on the web at http://tomsager.org (click on Grassroots Rolla: top of rightmost column).

If you don't wish to get notices of peace events in the Rolla area, let me know and I'll take you off this list.

If you want to be added to this list, let me know.

Wage peace,

helenm (at) fidnet.com