One of the Library Patrons found the missing issues of the 73 Magazine Category
the 3 issues from 1960
the 1961 issues
the holiday issue from 1976

Thanks a lot!

The Librarian

p.s. I spent most of today (Saturday) working on the Scientific American Collection. Having to check each volume for missing issues and then download and rename those so they all have consistent names. Made it through Volume 3 of the 99 volumes.

Fortunately only a few of the volumes are missing issues so most of that was working out efficient procedures for building the catalog as I go.


I’ve been seeing lots of news stories about how much more destructive hurricanes are today than the ones back say 50 years ago. I think I’ve heard the phrase “the most destructive hurricane since…” at least a hundred times a day, maybe more.

While there’s a clear obvious reason that statement is (in a sense) true the actual reason seems to be overlooked.

That is part of what leads to, I believe, a lot of young people thinking hurricanes are somehow larger and more powerful than they used to be, which of course also lends credence to much of increasingly discredited global warming/climate-change fanaticism.

Look at the images on this site:

This is Topsail Island, a local beach community near here a few miles north of where I live. It is essentially 25 mile long sand bar that’s one of the innumerable barrier islands all along the east coat of Virginia and North Carolina. (Prior to WWII there wasn’t even a bridge to the island and the only access was by boat.)

You can see in the pictures some scattered buildings, a fishing pier and a few other tourist attractions built by locals. It has a very nice beach, good fishing, some good food and back then then population peaked in the summer and dwindled to almost nothing in the winter because back then no one with any real sense thought that living full time on a sandbar was a particularly bright idea.

Jump forward to 2017…

Topsail is now a bedroom community and a year round retirement home for many people increasingly attracting the upscale community. Oprah Winfrey has a very large and nice house on Topsail Island. It is a busy place with three separate communities; North Topsail, Surf City and Topsail Beach.

Think about that… essentially three towns jammed onto a single 25 mile long sandbar each with it’s own Police Department and City Hall (and incidentally different speed limits in each community which, with 3 separate Police Departments and a LOT of tourists in the summer, contributes to city revenues). And no I haven’t been a victim of that but having been in Law Enforcement I’ve seen that phenomenon in many small towns.

When you drive around Topsail today there is very little land upon which has not been built a house, a hotel, a business or is a cleared lot for sale. The houses reach to the very tip on either end of the island and line both the sea side and the inland waterway side. The communities built artificial sand dunes on the sea side anchored with sea grass and other local plants to try to “protect” the residences but they pretty much wash away every time there is a major storm and have to be rebuilt. Perhaps it gives the residence a (false) sense of security to have a tall sand dune between their house and the Atlantic Ocean.

Bottom line is this…

If a hurricane had scoured Topsail clean of buildings back in the middle of last century it wouldn’t been a major disaster simply because there wasn’t much of anything there. Prior to WWII there was virtually nothing. The locals who had piers and a few scattered cabins out there would have been put out but no one would have likely heard of it outside of the local area.

The same major hurricane today would destroy thousands of home, businesses, hotels, streets, water and sewer lines and septic tanks. A major evacuation would have been ordered and news media from around the country would have been here, as they were when Matthew bore down on the island back in 2007.

Construction has continued unabated since 2007 and there are a lot more building 10 years after Matthew. So the next comparable hurricane will, naturally, be more “destructive” then Matthew was.

Are the hurricanes any stronger, the winds blowing any harder than a century ago?

No not particularly.

It’s kind of like the difference between throwing a large rock in the dessert with no one in your line of sight and throwing that same rock on a crowded room.

Is the rock more “destructive” in the crowded room? In the sense that it hit more people and did more damage certainly.

Is it any different from the rock that you threw in the dessert which did no damage? Nope.

So when you hear people going on about how much more “destructive” hurricanes are today than they were 50 years ago or a hundred years ago consider what that actually means… especially when such statements are coming from “journalists” who often have no education in any subject other than “journalism”. Take what they say with an entire 50 lb bag of salt.

The rock (hurricane) isn’t really any larger or stronger. Individual storms vary in size and intensity. Always have, always will.

But every one of those storms that touches land does so in a much more “target rich” environment.

The Librarian


That sunspot that popped off the M-Class and X-Class flares last week, neither of which was large enough to do much damage, gave a parting goodbye just after passing around the curve of the sun.

A significant flare erupted AFTER the sunspot was out of view over the solar horizon from us and just the visible parts were well over an X-8. Apparently, based on the CME studies it may have been in the X-10 up to X-20 range.

Again we were fortunate that it was not pointing our way.

Watching the video you will amazed as you see the shock wave from the flare ripple across the face of the sun itself.

Interesting too to see the scale of the earth against the sun and the flare.


I’m not clear on the timeline here though. This may have been the X8.3 we observed early last week. Apparently though the analysis of the CME suggests it was a lot more powerful than first thought.

The Librarian


So what’s been going on this week?

1. X-Class flare Tuesday (THE CME of which produced Aurora seen as far south as Askansas)
2. M-Class flare the day before
3. Cat-5 hurricane heading relentlessly towards Florida (after another hurricane took a major bite out of Texas)
4. Reports spreading that southern Florida is rapidly running out of gasoline in the midst of a 500,000 person evacuation.
5. Report of proof that the Power grid has been penetrated by and is completely vulnerable to hackers
6. North Korea openly threatening the U.S. with an EMP attack.

That is some heady stuff for folks who are prone to obsess over such dangers.

Personally I’m not that worried or concerned about the actual likelihood of any of them being catastrophic except in the immediate areas affected by the hurricanes.

The flares were eye opening but not serious threats. Texas handled the hurricane in normal Texas fashion. Florida will survive and in time recover as will the Caribbean islands just as they have through hundreds of years of hurricanes.

I suspect most hackers are reluctant to become the #1 target of the every American intelligence, military and law enforcement agency which would hunt them down forever. The story of Bin Laden remains a stark lesson of Retribution.

I suspect the North Korean leader is not long for this world. I suspect someone will remove him from power before much longer, either the Chinese, the South Koreans or most likely someone inside North Korea who is not keen on their country becoming a glass coated nuclear ground zero which would be their fate if they actually successfully carried out a nuclear EMP attack on the U.S.

There are a not insignificant number of nuclear ballistic missile submarines (not to mention nuclear armed carrier forces around the world) which would be unaffected by even the most devastating attack on the U.S. mainland. The retaliation would be fairly comprehensive and total.

So I’m not making any plans to bunker down or prepare for the apocalypse this week.

Yet all of the stories have one thing in common. They all highlight our dependence on power grids, infrastructure and technology that is fragile and prone to failure.

Hurricane coming? Fine. Everyone evacuate. But… apparently not one thought about the area running out of gas when 500,000+ people all fill their cars at once and hit the road.

Major flare in the middle of hurricane season. Hmmm.. no one thought about the fact that such things disrupt GPS systems.

Hackers able to penetrate and control the U.S. grid system? So our continued well being is in the hands of a 14 year old in Nigeria or Ukraine or who knows where because he decided to NOT hit the enter key to take down the grid?

Having been in law Enforcement for a few years I can tell you that (despite what politicians might tell you) the threat of punishment for crimes does not necessarily deter such crimes from taking place.

While I don’t expect any of these threats to bring on the apocalypse in the next few weeks I do expect that most people, as well as government small and large will simply continue to ignore the growing fragility of our infrastructures and our dependence on advanced technology which is itself becoming more and more fragile and prone to failure until such a failure DOES occur.

Oh and lets not forget the Equifax breach of the data of half the population of the U.S.

You would think that all of this would wake up some people who would start to seriously reevaluate our increasingly vulnerable infrastructure and our dependence on increasingly vulnerable technology and decide that it would be wise to take action before a catastrophic event occurs.

Do I have to even say it?

Nah. They won’t.

The Librarian

X 9.3 CLASS FLARE TODAY (Wednesday 9/6)


Sun tossed out an X9.3 class flare today. It’s causing some shortwave and other radio blackouts over parts of Europe and Africa but no other significant effects right now.

There was a pretty spectacular CME or Coronal Mass Ejection which they are still tracking to determine if it’s coming our way and if so when.

Compared to the Carrington Event of 1959 which has been guesstimated to have been about an X15 this current X9.3 is fairly trivial. It “shouldn’t” cause any significant damage but it’s a sobering reminder that the sun is never idle.

If you visit Space Weather look at the image a ways down that shows the size of the Earth compared with the sunspot that just tossed that flare our way.

Right now everyone here along the East Coast of NC is preparing for the possibility of Irma dropping in for a visit after passing through the islands and Florida. Stopped by Lowes hardware to pick up something earlier today and saw 5 people in line with generators… apparently the last 5 generators at that store.

No one around here is panicking or on Red Alert yet but they’re well up into the bright yellow at this point with everyone keeping a close eye on the storm track.

The Islands are being seriously trashed at this point. I’ve seen reports that a few of the islands are completely out of contact with the outside world due tot he damage.

Please keep all the folks down that way in your prayers.

The Librarian


Most people have a built in and unconscious bias that we, the current generations, are smarter, better educated and more innovative than our ancestors.

After all we have cell phones, have sent men to the moon etc., etc. etc.

Turns out that our REALLY distant ancestors back 3700 years ago were not only just as smart as we are but in all likelihood a good bit brighter.


Someone finally translated a 3700 year old Babylonian tablet and it turns out that it is actually a set of Trigonometric tables.

Not only are they an advanced math tool but are actually better than our own. They used a different base system which due to some of the weirdness of math are actually makes the table easier to use, more practical and it produces more accurate results than what we use today.

Who would have figured?

So next time you think about your ancestors and automatically assume an air of superiority… remember the Babylonians.

The Librarian


I’m posting links to two articles i ran across today. Both are worth reading.



Feds start talking about ‘Black Sky’ catastrophe

Both discuss the same issue, the chances of a solar caused EMP that destroys the power grid and everything which relies on it. One dwells more on the actions NOT being taken to ameliorate the effects of such an event.

The other while partially a plug for the someone’s book does point out that the government is spending a lot more money trying to ensure IT’S continuity than it is trying to protect the citizens it is supposed to represent and serve.

I did note in passing through that the second article does point out that in earlier times the local communities and local churches played a much greater role in survival than did the government.

That reinforces one of the common sense facts known to most folks who believe in preparing for emergencies and that is that Community is one of the key elements of long term survival. Your own skills and knowledge may help you get by in the short term but in the long term it is a community of people, sharing common beliefs, values and traditions that makes civilization possible.

No one individual can possess or master all of the skills required for long term self reliance. You can learn a lot and like some of the pioneers you can “get by” for a long time completely on your own. But ultimately to live a life much above the most brutal subsistence level requires the effort of a lot of people mastering a lot of skills and building a commercial and industrial infrastructure which becomes the foundation upon which a growing society relies.

The Librarian


Working on the Scientific American Collection as I have time and am encountering one of the more “fun” parts of the process.

All told the Scientific American Collection from 1845 through 1909 makes up about 3000 separate issues. In a nice logical fashion they are labelled with a Volume and a Number which makes it wonderfully systematic… except for one little problem.

Volume 1 Number 1 was issued in Aug 28 1854.

Volume 1 Number 2 was issued Sep 4, 1845

And so on up until Jul 2, 1859 when the copy issued that day was Volume 1 Number 1 (New Series)

I suppose someone in the scientific publishing community spent the rest of their life chuckling about future generations having to deal with overlapping numbering schemes.

So in the Scientific American Collection there are actually two different issues of Volume 1 Number 1 through
Volume 14 Number 42. One set is the Original Series and one the “New Series”. (Sort of like Star Trek the Original Series and Next Generation) (BTW Picard was a wuss)

Some collection are missing particular issues of the overlapping numbers. Some collections organize by date, some by volume and number.

Then of course the different sources use different file naming conventions so trying to find a volume missing from one collection in a different collection which uses a different naming scheme… an adventure.

Some have every single issue but the file naming males it difficult to assign the correct volume number to the file without opening and checking each file.

So it’s kind of like assembling a jigsaw puzzle from parts of 3 different puzzle versions of the same picture with no guarantee that all of the parts actually exist until you have finished the picture and can look for blank spots.

But making progress.

The Librian