My thought precisely

Something from the El Hierro blog. …

Originally posted by Boris Behncke from the INGV-Osservatorio Etneo, Catania:

A few remarks on the paragraph “Why?” posted on 14 December 2011.

Why are there no helicopter flights and research ships any more in the eruption area? The answer is very simple: because they cost A LOT OF MONEY. And since the eruption does not appear to be very dangerous, no one is interested in spending money now, in the midst of a massive economic crisis.

As an employee of the institution responsible for the monitoring of the Italian volcanoes – the INGV – we haven’t seen much helicopter support during the past few years, even this year with a lot of activity at Etna and Stromboli going on. Unless there’s proof that it’s very dangerous, you’ll not see a lot of funding for such, these days.

Why aren't the webcams functioning?

Those responsible are either not getting paid or they are not interested, or both.

Where is the data they do have?

In the case of the Italian INGV, the Italian Civil Defense wants the data first-hand. That’s all it is produced for. Scientists at the IGN and at the INGV, have to think twice about what to do about their data.

Promotion depends on scientific publications – “publish or perish” is the motto, and that does not mean publication on a free web site for the satisfaction of some volcano enthusiasts but publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

So they save the best data and information for scientific publications, which takes a long time to go through review and editorial processes and nearly always require high fees for the download of an article of a journal’s web site. [At something like £30 a pop if you aren't affiliated with a college thus having secret data of your own. MM.]

Unless we see something dramatic and visibly threatening, we’ll have to content ourselves with what is offered, which – after all – is still a tremendous amount of information in near real-time compared to what the media offered to me when I got interested in volcanoes back in 1973.

That's true. In 1973 computers were just flashing lights and beeping noises on Sci-Fi B movies. British films hadn't even got that far. Sci-fi space ships on British media were phone boxes and space suits were motorcycle helmets.

Rocket ship cabins had goldfish bowls with lampshades on for steering them. And monsters were egg boxes draped around shopping trolleys with toilet plungers and bicycle pumps for arms and light bulbs for eyes.

10 year later, computers came to the desk or somewhere near by. They had discs the size of LPs and they got wiped on the electric train-ride home.

10 years later they were toys or very expensive work stations.

10 years later I found out how to access weather charts.

10 years later I finally began putting it all together. Maybe. I am certainly a lot of the way there.

2 years to go. <that's a forecast. :~|
Boris Behncke from the INGV-Osservatorio Etneo, Catania

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One thought on “My thought precisely

  1. On the other hand, news blackouts in Britain concern political/military controversy. It's much the same in the USA but concerns poll raatings and presidential conspiracies.It couldn't possibly be controlled by Big Oil in smaller countries and lesser domains could it?It's odd that a ship parked right on top of the volcano just when everything went dark, including the sun.A very large ore -oil carrier would expect to make use of the Arctic routes to pump out its bilges in secret. This would have saved the local Liberies a fortune if it wasn't going that way often enough.I wonder if we won't be seeing more of them turning up in the area.

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