Rain records, North Korea and the USS Enterprise

Michael Raffety

4-17-2017

March wasn’t as rainy as it usually is. Often it is referred to as a March Miracle. This year the Mountain Democrat only recorded 3.02 inches in March.

Nevertheless it boosted the total rain for the year to 59.40 inches, putting it in the top nine of rain years, with three months left to go before the rain year ends June 30. This is the 144th year of rainfall statistics compiled by the Mountain Democrat and PG&E.

PG&E abruptly stopped recording its weather stats in 2011.

The Mountain Democrat follows the National Weather Service definition of a rain year starting July 1. Water project managers use the U.S. Geological Survey’s hydrologic year that begins Oct. 1 and ends Sept. 30. The State Water Quality Control Board follows the latter water year, and therefore has different years it calls record water years and is more prone to call a year a drought when in the foothills we would merely call it a low rain year.

In El Dorado County the state gets its rain data from Pacific House. For a hint of what’s happening at Pacific House I look for George Osborne’s rain gauge. Osborne lives in the upper reaches of Camino’s Audubon Hills subdivision. As of April 7 he had recorded 80.92 inches of rain.

. . .

The administration diverted the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson from a port of call in Australia to the Sea of Japan off the Korean Peninsula. All aircraft carriers are nuclear powered. When I was in the Navy there was only one nuclear powered carrier – the USS Enterprise. It was inactivated Dec. 1, 2012, and decommissioned the same day my daughter gave birth, Feb. 3, 2017.

The Enterprise was the only aircraft carrier to have two nuclear power plants. I happened to bring up the Enterprise at the dinner table I was sitting at for the American Legion’s monthly dinner and meeting. That’s when I learned from someone who seemed personally knowledgeable who remarked that the Enterprise could go fast enough to outrun its destroyer escorts. Maximum speed was pretty fast, fast enough that I don’t think it would be wise for me to put it in writing.

. . .

I don’t know if the carrier group is going to do anything but look menacing. One of the most effective deterrents was when President George W. Bush cut off North Korea from banking. Bush later eased off the banking ban. The banking ban ought to be re-imposed. Even though North Korea has an isolated Internet, it has been able to reach out to the outside world with thievery and mayhem. I wrote in an earlier column about North Korea using Swift, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications, to try to steal $1 billion from Bangladesh’s Swift account at the New York Fed. It got away with $81 million. The Hermit Kingdom is also believed to have stolen money from Ecuador.

The April 11 Wall Street Journal reported that the state-owned Union Bank of India was infected with malware that allowed theft of $171 million. Investigators have linked the hacking modus operandi to the Bangladesh theft, and prosecutors are targeting North Korea. India blocked most of the transfer last July and recovered all money transferred to other countries within 24 hours. In recent months cyber attacks have targeted banks in Mexico, Poland, Great Britain and the U.S. Cyber experts have tagged North Korea for some of these. Remember that North Korea hacked and ruined the computers at Sony Pictures over a slapstick spoof of Kim Jong Un.

This is how the Hermit Kingdom makes its living – bank heists and counterfeit money, along with nuclear weapons and missile sales. The U.S. needs to disrupt North Korea’s hackers and its Internet.

. . .

The Enterprise has a long history beginning with a Revolutionary war sailing vessel on Lake Champlain. It was burned July 5, 1775, to prevent its capture by the British. Benedict Arnold commanded that navy and succeeded in preventing the British from using Lake Champlain to conquer New York State.

The more famous Enterprise was the schooner used in the first Barbary Pirates War. The first Enterprise carrier, CV-6, was built in 1938. It became the most decorated ship from World War II. The next Enterprise will be CVN-80, a Gerald Ford-class carrier due to begin construction next year and delivery due in 2025.

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