MONSTERS OF THE DEEP, SUPERFICIALITY OF MINDS.
When we do not have a theory about something, we do not tend to see it. The brain is a born theoretician.
And, sometimes, what we ignore can be severely monstrous. An example is the privately owned public fractional reserve banking system, the monster in civilization’s face, devouring it, as no-drama-Obama, and his colleagues keep feeding it, as if it were the world’s sweetest thing.
For many years oceanographers avoided to concentrate on stories of rogue waves. They preferred to dismiss them as tall tales. Drilling platforms, or ships, were not made to resist to giant waves, since they had been dismissed with a flick of a mental switch.
However increasing severe damage, near sinking and disappearances of huge watercrafts after probable encounters with such waves, plus explicit videos, have focused attention on them:
A giant wave threatens a ship in the Bay of Biscay, France.
In February 1933, the US Navy Tanker USS Ramapo ploughed into a Pacific storm en route to Manila from San Diego. The wind howled at an unremitting 60 knots -force 11- for seven days and the wind field stretched from the coast of Asia to New York, producing strong winds over thousands of miles of unobstructed ocean, lifting the sea into huge 15-meter swells.
On the morning of 7 February, the ship encountered a monster. It came from behind, tossing her into a deep trough then lifting her stern-first over a mountain of foamy brine.
The period of the wave was 14.8 seconds and its wavelength was calculated to be 342 meters. Using the wave velocity expression for this wavelength in the deep water limit, the wave speed is calculated to be 23 m/s. The crew of the Ramapo measured these waves and lived to tell about them because their relatively short ship (146 m =478 ft) rode these very long wavelength ocean mountains without breaking the craft. [A rogue wave in recent years broke a hole across a supertanker in South Africa; one came from behind and was photographed on another empty supertanker, washing over the deck, towering maybe 15 meters over other waves.]
In 1995 an oil rig in the North Sea recorded a 25.6-meter wave (using a laser). Then in 2000 a British oceanographic vessel recorded a 29-meter wave off the coast of Scotland. In 2004 scientists using three weeks of radar images from a European Space Agency satellite found ten rogue waves, each 25 meters or more high…
From those radar pictures, it would seem that the giant rogue waves somehow suck up energy from the waves in front and those behind (now they should then quickly disappear, because they should be travelling much faster than the surrounding wave trains, but this remains to be studied and confirmed).
This radar picture shows that there is something we do not understand mathematically (see P/S 3).
In February and March 2001 two hardened tourist cruisers – the Bremen and the Caledonian Star – had their bridge windows smashed by 30-meter rogue waves in the same zone of the Antarctic ocean. After the destruction brought by the rogue, the first ship was left drifting parallel to the waves without navigation or propulsion for a period of two hours. The crew thought that was it.
Damage done by a rogue wave.
In February 1995 the cruiser liner Queen Elizabeth II met a 29-meter high rogue wave during a hurricane in the North Atlantic that Captain Ronald Warwick described as "a great wall of water… it looked as if we were going into the White Cliffs of Dover."
Two large ships sink every week in the average, and as many as 200 ships more than 200 meters long have disappeared. Due to the time and location of the disappearances, there is evidence that many succumbed to rogue waves.
Rogue waves are not tsunamis, which represent a vertical motion imparted to a volume of the entire ocean by a (vertically shaking) earthquake, or by crashing landslides, falling glaciers, exploding volcanoes, erupting methane ice, or bolides. These "tsunamis’ ("port waves" in Japanese) travel at high speed (~ 720 km/h), and build up in height as they approach the shore, as their front is forced to slow down by friction, while the rear catches up. The rough theory of tsunamis is fully understood, it’s pure linear wave physics (until the final piling up on a shore, which can reach enormous heights, locally up to hundreds of meters high in the case of exploding volcanoes, as in Hawai’i).
Rogue waves are about surface waves, and there is no rough understanding of their formation. They were considered impossible, because so they are in linear wave mechanics. They violate the superposition principle, as can be clearly seen from the picture below: there is no way one can add the other puny waves to get that big monster:
Rogue wave catching up with a super tanker. Notice how much smaller other waves are.
In the deep ocean, as where the preceding picture was taken, a tsunami would be less than a meter tall, spread over dozens of kilometers, in other words not humanly perceptible.
Solitons were also considered impossible. By definition solitons are large solitary waves capable of indefinite propagation and interpenetration. They are not consequences of linear wave theory. The first soliton to be formally observed was seen progressing along a canal by a British gentleman who found the phenomenon so remarkable, that he followed it on horseback, and wrote an extensive report about it.
The real difficulty with rogue waves, besides being flattened by them, is that there is NO general wave theory.
A general wave theory OUGHT to include non linear waves. There is some knowledge of these, with the KdV equation and the modified KdV equation (which exhibit soliton behavior). But these are just scratches on an ocean of frozen knowledge which may be someday ours to navigate.
As Quantum Mechanics used to be called "Wave mechanics", this lack of knowledge about waves goes a long way to explain why we cannot figure the full picture of what goes on in Quantum Physics. All the Wave Mechanics we have uses linear waves, because that is what we understand. But that does not mean it is the only thing nature understands. As rogue waves in the ocean clearly show, obviously not.
P/S 1: What of so called "bubbles" in economy and finance, and the general madness of crowds? Are they somehow related to rogue waves? Probably, but through mathematics that do not yet exist, applied to neuroeconomics and psychology we have not yet conceived.
P/S 2: Re-entrant neurology in the brain explains why the brain tends to see so much with the mind’s eye (this was experimentally observed). This re-entrant organization extends obviously beyond the visual system, and extends to the part of our mind that creates systems of thought. That is why we tend to exclude from observation what we do not have yet a theory for.
P/S 3: Some of the pictures above clearly show that many rogue waves cannot be explained by conventional effects such as constructive interference, focusing, or bore like phenomenon in connection with a current (although those effects are present in nature). Another way to put it is this: there is no general soliton theory (the Korteveg de Vries equation explains some solitons, but there are good reasons to think that it does not explain some of them).