In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.  And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night.

Bible, King James Version, Genesis 1 -5

The Christian creation myth suggests a benevolent god. but there re more exciting versions. An Irish Celtic version prepared by a research team in 2002 suggested that there was an original upper void with a warm dark sea below. Within that ocean the creator-god Bith was somehow generated and given "the first seed of mind." Later "Bith was revealed out of the dark sea. And he started to create the cosmos for himself. that is the sky, the stars, the sun and the moon, the planets, and he was the first to prepare the drink of immorality." The first immortal goddess was creat
ed as an object of self-indulgence, but he also gave rise to other immortals of both sexes, perhaps not a good thing for them or our mortal kind.

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse - Death, Famine, War & Conquest, an 1887 painting by Viktor Vasnetsov. The Christian Lamb of God is visible at the top. The opening of the final seals of human destiny are predicted in the Book of Revelation of Jesus Christ to John the Apostle, found in the Bible at 6:1-8.  American Protestant Evangelical interpreters regularly see ways in which the horsemen, and Revelation in general, speak to contemporary events. The only certainty is that these are historic scourges of mankind. The fourth and final horseman is named Death. or in Greek as Thanatos. Of all the riders, he is the only one to whom the text gives a name. Unlike the other three, he has no need of a weapon.

The Lamb of God is  predicted to open the first four of the seven seals of doom or salvation, summoning four beings that ride out on white, red, black, and pale horses. Though theologians and popular culture differ on the leading horseman, the white rider is often seen as symbolizing Conquest or Pestilence (and less frequently, the Christ or the Antichrist). This immortal spirit is followed by War, Famine, and Death.

In this century the Marvel Comic's X-Men have entered the myth.  The Christian apocalyptic tale explains that the four horsemen are to set a divine apocalypse upon the world as harbingers of the Last Judgment. One theory ties the four horsemen to the history of the Roman Empire subsequent to the era in which the Book of Revelation was written. a prophecy of the the fall of that powerful people.Some Christians interpret the horsemen as a prophecy of a future Tribulation, during which many on earth will die as a result of multiple catastrophes.  Some American Protestant evangelicals believe that Revelation applies to modern times and can relate the colour of horses to causes they oppose. Red, for example, represents Communism, the white horse and rider with a crown, Catholicism, Black they guess is a symbol of Capitalism, while Green represents the rise of Islam.

Here is one reaction to our current dystopia. In Christian belief, the Great Tribulation is a predicted period mentioned by Jesus in the Olivet discourse as a sign that would occur in the time before the physical end of world. The futurist view of Christian holds that this will be a relatively short period of time where everyone will experience worldwide hardships, disasters, famine, war, pain, and suffering, which will wipe out most life on the earth. Some Pretribulationists believe that those who choose to have adhered to the Word of God, will be raptured before the tribulation, and thus escape these Troubles. The Historicist view applies Tribulation to the period known as "persecution of the saints." Others, including many Roman Catholic theologians, do not subscribe to a "time of trouble" but think that there will be a near Utopian period led by The Antichrist.

Truth has always been more that the equal of fiction when it comes to human interest. Haven was a supernatural drama television series loosely based on the Stephen King novel The Colorado Kid. The show, filmed on the South Shore of Nova Scotia, Canada, was an American/Canadian production. Haven was also the name of the town (Lunenburg) where the female protagonist goes and numerous townsfolk afflicted with supernatural problems. Haven residents refer to these problems collectively as The Troubles and eventually they are pictured as horseshoe crabs with human eyes. William Shatner helped to wind the series down when queen bee Audrey convince his character, Croatoan, to take the Troubles with him and leave town.  In reality, some of these supernatural beings seem to have lingered and possibly we are in apocalyptic times?

And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not - yet. - Matthew 24:6. Cartoon by Ronald Searle, who decidedly saw personal troubles before his end of time. How about that "450 degree" on the insert by another artist?

Fahrenheit 451 is a dystopian novel by Ray Bradbury, published in 1953, one of his best works which evolved into a popular motion picture. The novel supposes a future American society where books are outlawed and "firemen" burn any that are found. The title refers to the temperature that Bradbury thought of as the autoignition temperature of paper(which is actually higher). The anti-hero named Montag leaves his fir department and joins exiled drifters, led by a man named Granger. Both have read and memorized books for an upcoming time when society is ready to rediscover them. All these malcontents watch helplessly as bombers fly overhead and attack the city with nuclear weapons, completely annihilating it. Granger later suggests that mankind can remember the mistakes it made before destroying itself and try to not make them again. His people ultimately go back to the city, to help rebuild society.

The pen is mightier than the sword but like "candy is dandy but liquor is quicker," visual art trumps the written word and was the traditional vocabulary of medieval illiterates. Some people are nevertheless immune to any kind of reason. As Douglas Adams has noticed, " A common mistake  people (and gods) make when trying to design something foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools."

Individually and collectively we've got Troubles with a big "T" Few, if any of them, have a sound supernatural base. Those four horsemen are on the ride, and nay-sayers may be in for a big bang of a surprise, followed by some whimpering! When it comes to the five stages of self-pity we are at the denial stage, which has already lasted far too long! As for dying before the Troubles mature, remember the Biblical injunction of Jesus, "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only." Take heed those of faith as well as those of little faith!  We are all time travellers on spaceship Earth and it is endangered by our self-serving attitudes.

Donald Trump says he knows a lot about global warming. He can be introspective: “Part of the beauty of me is that I am very rich... It’s nice. I don’t need anybody’s money. I’m using my own money. I’m not using the lobbyists. I’m not using donors. I don’t care. I’m really rich, I’ll show you that in a second. And by the way, I’m not even saying that in a braggadocios … that’s the kind that’s the kind of thinking you need for this country.” Actually, wealth is Trump's only asset and will be his saving grace.

The Apocalypse. when it comes, should perhaps fall upon us in this season?  Anything less would be totally unfair.  Summer is, of course, named for a pagan goddess. so I suppose... Are people bullied into belief? You bet! there'll be a hot time in the old town tonight can have various meanings.

What does that idiom mean? According to Free Dictionary, "A question whose answer is of great interest to everyone; a question that needs very much to be answered, as a fire needs to be extinguished."  This phrase has exact equivalents in French, question brûlante and German, brennende Frage. Ray Bradbury had the answer for his day, but that was long ago.

But there was an earlier explanation.

I am not that sad that the church is having troubles with what goes on in bedrooms, but some of the world's States are still very interested. Technically, modern countries have separated the interests of church and state and private vs communal interests. In fact, interference goes on and on...

California, 2016. At this point foremen in North America were still fir fighters whatever their socio-political beliefs.

Tribulations are afflicting the countryside more than urban regions because there are fewer people in the outback with fewer needs? . "Hobbits are an unobtrusive but very ancient people, more numerous formerly than they are today; for they love peace and quiet and good tilled earth: a well-ordered and well-farmed countryside was their favourite haunt."   - J. R. R. Tolkien. His writing is  a massive morality tale.

So "What's the rub?" This chart is nearly a decade out of date but the trend is till there. Cartoon by Searle, who was an early activist when it came to trying to save Planet Earth.

If you do not know what these acronyms represent... Talking of Troubles we are approaching that global warming limit of 1.5 degrees mentioned above. Visit NOAA for the full story.

"Jesus bids us shine..." we used to sing in my far distant childhood. Even kids know about dead ends!  Most always have understood that we are all fragile. But there are others...

It is difficult to believe anyone could be this stupid, but in my experience human beings are hard wired in odd ways.

Isn't that old boy dead? Did you know this about National Geographic? You have noticed the advertisements? Still, perhaps?

Skeptic magazine is very skeptical so this article is worth reading.

Above the official scientific word on this years situation. Trump is no fan of NOAA and has called global warming “bullshit” and a “hoax” Trump seems to be the spokesman  for a small but vocal minority, with Yale finding that 10% of Americans are “dismissive” of climate change as an issue. Their study found that 45% of Americans are actually “alarmed” or “concerned” at this continuing threat.

Years of Living Dangerously's first season premiered on April 13, 2014 and consisted of 9 weekly episodes, which ran ran on Showtime. It won an Emmy Award as Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series. The second season, consisting of 8 episodes, is set to air on the National Geographic Channel beginning on October 30, 2016, with broader distribution than the first season. The first episode has already been aired as a preview.The series' Metacritic score was 81. The Globe and Mail declared the series "a lavish, gripping production focused on the real effect of climate change in real people's lives around the world."

R&R did not see this series last year as their video viewing is entirely on-line freebies. After the DVD and digital release of the series, The New York Times review lamented that "many American (and Canadian) households did not have the chance to see Years of Living Dangerously. That is a shame. ... With nine episodes running nearly an hour apiece, "Years" represents a serious time commitment. But that time will be rewarded, because this is the best American television series ever done on climate change." The Hollywood Reporter noted that, "The documentary does an excellent job of being simple and clear without being arrogant, and its convergence of science, politics, religion and industry proves its ultimate point."

Here is a still from the TV series which was filmed well before the current heat of Summer 2016. It was confirmed that the Kuwait temperature record was legitimate.

The US environmental Protection Agency says, "Since the Industrial Revolution began around 1750, human activities have contributed substantially to climate change by adding CO2 and other heat-trapping gases to the atmosphere. These greenhouse gas emissions have increased the greenhouse effect and caused Earth's surface temperature to rise." That means that the oceans which constitute the largest area of Earth have been gaining heat since then. Warm water occupies more space than cold water by volume and that is the chief factor behind sea-level rise and flooding. Of course, warm water bites away at those polar ice caps.

As you can see things have not improved in the past few years whether by land or by sea.  Red used to be used as the colour of extreme danger, but lately deep purple has superseded it as the colour of watch and worry. Note the Arctic and Antarctic regions.  When there is less winter ice and snow on the land and water it is easier for earth and water to absorb rather than reflect light and the heat generated, accelerating the process of global warming.

In July 2016, Mitribah, Kuwait reached 54°C and Basra, Iraq reached 53.9°C, the highest temperatures ever recorded in the Eastern Hemisphere and on planet Earth outside of Death Valley, California. In August 2015, a heat wave affected much of the Middle East causing almost a hundred deaths in Egypt.Temperatures reached values above 50°C in Iraq and Qatar.

But this isn't and can't happen in my backyard according to climate warming deniers. On a cold October day a year ago,  Donald Trump tweeted that we "could use a big fat dose of global warming!" Later in a February debate
he added, "We're going to get rid of so many different things. Environmental protection, we waste all of this money. We're going to bring that back to the (individual) states... Department of Environmental (long empty pause). I mean, the DEP is killing us environmentally, it's just killing our businesses."

In places far from Trump's sphere of influence and power, global warming is suspected  as complicit in the death of people. Scientists are understandably cautious about giving to much play to global warming as a causative agent in every human tribulation, but some have said that it was a contributing factor in the Syrian uprising. Ian Sample, science editor at the Guardian newspaper has reported that, "The prolonged and devastating drought that sparked the mass migration of rural workers into Syrian cities before the 2011 uprising was probably made worse by greenhouse gas emissions."

“We’re not arguing that the drought, or even human-induced climate change, caused the uprising,” said Colin Kelley at the University of California in Santa Barbara. “What we are saying is that the long term trend, of less rainfall and warmer temperatures in the region, was a contributing factor, because it made the drought so much more severe.”
Francesca de Châtel at Radboud University in Nijmegen, the Netherlands doesn't think so, pointing out that rural communities had been left disenfranchised and disaffected from 50 years of policies that exploited and mismanaged Syrian resources. That may be, but two former displaced farmers told Years Of Living Dangerously reporters that their revolution was one "of hungry people."

Two horsemen stand ready to reap the effects of too much heat.

Siberians have sometimes agreed that "We could use a big fat dose of global warming!" However not this summer or last! During the first week in June sea ice in the Siberian Sea "failed" before Jet Stream driven temperatures which were  way above normal. By mid-month extremely high temperatures became the norm, and on July 1 the Siberian Times noted, "Ulan-Ude experienced its highest ever temperature on this day, a tropical 33.8ºC ."

A performance of the Republic of Buryatia's first national opera was shortened because of the stifling heat. "Unprecedented high temperatures, up to 6ºC higher than average, have also hit Krasnoyarsk and Irkutsk regions. Siberia's coldest region - the Sakha Republic, also known as Yakutia - also experienced a highly unusual heatwave." Heading the list was the community of Kresty at 35ºC.

At first the locals enjoyed the heat and regarded the flooding as a minor inconvenience. Then, on August 1 there was an outbreak of anthrax possibly via an infected thawed reindeer or human remains located in a crumbling, above-ground cemetery. Russia  sent troops trained for biological warfare to help establish a quarantine to contain the first anthrax outbreak in the region since 1941.

Scientists have been warning for years that melting permafrost might release ancient pathogens, frozen for millennia or longer in northern soils. Vladimir Romanovsky, a climate scientist at the University of Alaska–Fairbanks is one of the world’s foremost experts on Siberian permafrost. He has noted that “if it gets warmer in the future, and it seems like it will, the thawing permafrost could be massive.” Romanovsky added that, until the exact source of this outbreak is found, the discussion of future risk from permafrost is “just speculation.” Emerging diseases specialist Edward Homes agreed but speculated that "...climate change will have a major impact on the spread of infectious diseases.”

Grass fires developed in Siberia. Western Europe was not free of high air and sea temperatures and this led to warnings. The Continent had been promised toasty weather back in May, but the British Isles were supposed to be exempt. A heat wave did hit most of Europe as promised.  On July 19, 2016 hit the high 20s in Scotland and Northern Ireland but rose above 30ºC elsewhere, follow a sticky night, when the mercury did not fall below 19.7ºC in Plymouth on the south coast. But the Met Office also issued a yellow “be aware” warning of rain, which it said “could lead to some flooding of homes, businesses and transport networks. Disruption to power is also possible.” There had already been plenty of that to this point. On July 4 and intense heat wave commenced in Spain. Cordoba recorded a top temperature of 41ºC on Saturday, followed by 44.5ºC on Sunday.

In general, the Brits were afflicted by cloudy skies after that and looked forward to a heat wave. On August 15, British Weather Services expert Jim Dale said, "We're going to hit the magical figure of 90F (32C)." This was in opposition to a forecast which promised that "August will be cold and wet."
It was explained that, "Tropical air from Spain and northern Europe will sweep through the country over the next 48 hours. However, for more western and south-western areas of the UK then after some fine weather through the rest of Monday and Tuesday, expect an increasing risk of some heavy showers, longer spells of rain and possible thunderstorms too as we approach mid-week.” Weather had already been "mixed" prior to that date. And then there was a prospect of air pollution. Why?

That high pressure area was moving in from these regions and the answer my friend was likely to blow in on the wind. Madeira is of course in Portugal.

It had been relentlessly hot and dry further south. And Madeira was not alone. Entire mainland villages had been surrounded by flames for more than a week by August 15. More than 4,000 firefighters and 30 aircraft had been deployed to extinguish in excess of one hundred separate wildfires.

At least 200 buildings were damaged or destroyed. Police believed the fires may have been deliberately started by arsonists and there were arrests. Which should keep the remainder of our more local story in perspective.

The weather gods were not ignoring North America. For a few moths in 2016 it appeared that the immortal nature gods of Wind, Fire and Water all conspired against humans. In the Gaelic domain, these would have been Kari,
and Ler.