Sunday, November 13, 2011

Science and trash

I  had to go to the store for some vittles this evening, so I took a short side trip to one of my favorite spots along the Ohio River on the way. I was looking at various things when I noticed the waves breaking on shore near me. The wind was coming diagonally from the river, toward me with the dropoff in front of me.

As I stood there, I watched the waves pushed by the wind until they grew higher and broke. Then I remembered how a wave in water will move until it comes to a spot where the depth of the water is less than the amplitude of the wave. When that happens, the wave breaks. So even though the water was muddy, I could locate the dropoff at this spot by watching the waves.

 And while I was there, I looked at some of the litter in the water. You can tell a lot about the people who frequent a spot by the litter they leave behind. For example, on the road where I live, people drink a lot of Wendy's soft drinks, bottled water and Bud Light. At this spot on the river, they forget the Wendy's and the water and drink plenty of alcohol while they fish, although some litterbugs enjoy local soft drink refreshments.

Three things in the news

The Marietta, Ohio, area is getting a couple of new river gauges. These will measure more than river depth. They'll also measure velocity and volume of flow.


Is turbulence from the hydroelectric plant at the McAlpine Locks and Dam causing severe shoreline erosion at Clarksville, Ind.? Some locals think so. They do know they don't have the money to fix the problem.


Here's a piece on what happens to local businesses when communities have to do without bridges they've come to rely on. It's in the Courier-Journal's opinion section.