Today is the last day of November 2006. It brings to a close the official Hurricane season of 2006, the much dreaded period because of what happened in the past two years.
Instead of 15 named storms as forecast, we had 9, five of which are hurricanes, but none of the landfalling type. Due to a combination of favorable meteorological factors, these hurricanes were steered offshore and died a natural death in the deep embrace of the ocean while those in gestation were smacked to smithereens.
Off the top of my head (actually I read the associated news article in today’s tbt, but have decided to disposed of it in the trash bin in the office, so I hope my memory would serve me right), these complicit influences include the El Nino phenomenon, which is the unusual warming of the western Pacific leading to cold upwelling off the Peruvian coast, the Bermuda High, the cooler sea surface temperature in the beginning of the year, the dust storm in Africa, and even global warming.
However, the El Nino season usually brings heavy rain and engenders large storm waves off the western seaboard of US as occurred in 1982/83. So something that’s good for one place is not necessarily beneficial for another place.
Today is also the last day for Nanowrimo 2006, which I blogged previously under the title Blogathon to Novel Writing before its launch at the beginning of this month. The latest word count is approaching the 1 billion mark (actually 909,464,173 at 7.08pm EST). That’s almost like 19,000 writers at 50,000 words each, almost doubled the near 10,000 achieved last year. Log in to Nanowrimo tomorrow to see the list of winners who have probably sacrificed a lot during the month for the love of writing.
Today is also the eve of World Aids Day, which is observed on December 1 each year and is dedicated to raising awareness of the global AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection.
Here are some chillingly stark facts gleaned from Wikipedia and World Aids Day 2006 websites:
- AIDS has killed more than 25 million people, making it one of the most destructive epidemics in recorded history.
- Despite recent, improved access to antiretroviral treatment and care in many regions of the world, the AIDS epidemic claimed an estimated 3.1 million (between 2.8 and 3.6 million) lives in 2005 of which, more than half a million (570,000) were children.
- Around forty million people are living with HIV throughout the world - and that number increases in every region every day.
- Ignorance and prejudice are fuelling the spread of a preventable disease.
So, if you could, please wear a red ribbon, which is the global symbol for solidarity with HIV-positive people and those living with AIDS, on December 1.
(Thanks to Yu Huei Chen for the heads up on World Aids Day 2006.)