Monday, July 8, 2013

The real world physics that could make the scenario of SyFy's Sharknado a distinct possibility and what you should do to protect yourself

Summer may be hot, but it isn't hot enough without flying shark eating
Tara Reid "OM NOM NOM NOM" ... Sharknado is an actual T.V. movie.
Summers are getting really hot, and I'm not talking about six-pac abs and string bikini hot (although I guess I wouldn't mind being on the beach to see at least some of that). Just a year ago, we had the hottest month on record. Ever. And everyone from scientists who study climate change to insurance adjusters paying out claims is asking, "Is this normal?" Now, just to be clear, I'm not trying to start a political debate and ask what side of the climate change argument you are on. However, I do want to tell you about one super crazy idea that just may be a possibility in the near future (it's super scary when you consider it could create flying sharks!)

In a paper published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, physicist Rob Wood is proposing than an experiment be conducted on a small scale where marine stratocumulus clouds are seeded with a lot of tiny sea water particles. The effect they are looking for is to significantly enhance cloud droplet number concentration, and thereby cloud reflectivity and longevity. The result: a cooling effect.
The proposed barge that could be used to seed clouds with sea water
to cool down the atmosphere. But unless there are filters to keep sharks out
we could totally be looking at a Sharknado scenario.
Initially, the project would deploy sprayers like the one pictured above to ensure that enough salt water particulate can be blasted high enough into the sky. In turn, a plane equipped with sensors would monitor the physical and chemical characteristics of the particles and how they disperse. Cool, right? Well maybe not so much.

Here's my train of thought: sea water doesn't appear to be initially dangerous. However, when I bother to look deeper and start to think of their delivery system, and how it could possibly blast microscopic algae, bacteria, fungus, minerals...literally anything in ocean imagination goes wild. Sure...the "reasonable" person in me says that this living stuff wouldn't survive the process.

BUT THE SCI-FI WRITER IN ME ASKS: WHAT HAPPENS TO THE SHARKS THAT GET SUCKED UP INTO THE MACHINE?  Cause the ocean totally has sharks in it and they nom nom nom on people ALL the time.

And I suddenly had this epiphany that "bold" font simply does not have the power to express but I shall give it the old college try: OMG..."SHARKNADO!"

Those brilliant guys at SyFy sooo saw this coming....
Here's the synopsis:
When a freak hurricane swamps Los Angeles, thousands of sharks terrorize the waterlogged populace. And when the high speed winds form tornadoes in the desert, nature's deadliest killer rules water, land, and air!
Starring Tara Reid (the Academy Award Winning [okay not really] actress from American Pie) and John Heard, Sharknado premieres on SyFy on Pacific Rim Eve (Thursday is now "Pacific Rim Eve" and Friday is "Pacific Rim Day").
But guys, after having read my explanation of how the cloud seeding works can't you see that there are real world physics that could make the scenario in Sharknado for reals? 

I know, it's terrifying right?

So let's go over the things you should do to protect yourself should a Sharknado happen for real in your home town:

1) Get yourself a suit of riot armor and don't go outside without it. Flying sharks don't like the taste of riot armor, and they will avoid eating you for someone who is plump and juicy (which describes most Americans). 
2) Don't eat at Long John Silvers. Sharks can smell fish on you and if you've been eating there, chances are, they will consume you out of revenge. I know this is a fact because there's a movie called "Jaws the Revenge!" So it's totally real.
According to NPR, this "heart attack on a hook" has 33 grams of fat, 1320
calories, and almost 3700 milligrams of sodium. Not to mention that kids
will call you "fatty" and sharks will want to eat you.
3) Get a bigger gun. You know...something the NRA would approve of because flying sharks are dangerous.
Don't be frightened by its size. You can buy it without a background check
online thanks to Congress. Just get a couple of these babies and pack them
with you to the grocery store so in case the Sharknado hits, YOU ARE
4) Become a ninja. Ninjas can always beat sharks. Just look at the below picture as proof. And if you cannot become a ninja, then hire a ninja. I hear they work for food. You know you've got a successful one if you tell him where you live, and when you go home, all your stuff is gone. Ninjas are like that. They can be in and out like the wind....
5) Dress up as Batman and buy a toy red lightsaber. Sharks are terrified of the Batman because of what happened the last time those two tangled:
And there you have it folks. Whew. Be safe everyone and remember my five rules even if you can't remember ANYTHING else. Trust me, they shall serve you well.


  1. Got the Ninja part covered.
    Sharks can't breathe out of water though. Of course, logic like that has never stopped SyFy before.
    Now, blasting bacteria into the sky - that could be a problem.

  2. LOL....

    The thing about the sea water. I'm not so much worried about bacteria going into the sky because bacteria is everywhere already, but perhaps they do this and something else happens that they hadn't even thought of. Next thing you know we're having an ice age or they generate a giant shark hurricane.

    Sharknado looks funny to watch for about 10 minutes. It also looks like a bunch of dead sharks flying out of a tornado.

    I feel bad for everyone in the drought area of the country. Droughts are the worst. Pretty soon people will be looking forward to winter, instead of summer.

  3. Just... incredible. I'm laughing so hard I've got bits of toasted bagel stuck in my brain. Which hopefully will give me that John Travolota "Phenomenon" thing. Wait, didn't he die in that? Why didn't I think this through?

    Excellent post, Michael, and the best part was "Pacific Rim Eve." I'll be waiting all night to see if a giant robot comes down our chimney.

  4. I'm pretty sure we don't have to worry about sharknadoes in Michigan. But just in case I'll stock up on my shark repellent to keep on my utility belt.

  5. This was a fun post.

    My mind is still trying to wrap itself around the fact that Ian Ziering is in that flick. I always wondered what happened to him after 90210.

  6. Snarknado ... now I've heard just about everything! That's a very plausible theory, however, and not just sharks, either. What about Dolphins? It mind send them out into orbit, making Douglas Adams vision come to life. Better look for a paper sack to put over my head, not that it'll do me any good. :)

  7. Batman doesn't need a lightsaber to fight sharks; he has shark repellent spray. He keeps it in his utility belt all the time just in case of sharknadoes. Haven't you ever seen the one, true Batman movie?

  8. Tara Reid, Ian Zering... that sounds fishy to me :)

  9. Very interesting, Michael! And yes...the possibilities are endless when you start throwing in crabs, swordfish, and octopuses. A virtual smorgasbord of death.

  10. Shark ninja. Crazy post today Mike.

  11. And that is why I'm glad I DON'T have television anymore; because I'd actually probably sit down to watch it just for a laugh.

  12. @Andrew: There's a true batman movie?

    @Dezmond: "Fishy" har har

    @Sheena: I be craazzzyy

  13. I can't see commercials for Sharknado without chuckling. Now I'm laughing all the way through your post.

    It's drizzling today. Doesn't seem to be cooling anything off. What the point in fending off sharks if the stupid system doesn't even cool me off?

  14. I've been terrified of sharks my entire life but I really think it's time to live and let live with sharks. The ocean needs sharks badly and we keep killing them for no good reason. The oceans of the world will be in even worse shape if great whites and other large predators go extinct.

  15. Michael, you're a riot! "Jaws" is my favorite movie and your post proves why -- sharks are the perfect horror monster for air, land and sea. Yikes!

    Thanks for commenting on my Promotion post. I totally don't want to do a blog tour, but my agent is gonna make me. Waaaaa!

  16. Sharknado! Enough said. Yup, that's correct.

  17. reading this post has made my day, good sir!

  18. I'm glad this blog is asking all the important questions (and that Syfy is answering them).


  19. This was wonderful! Personally, sharks freak me out because they nom nom nom on us people, as you wisely advise.

    Maybe if I have some cleaning, ironing, whatever to do and wouldn't mind the TV on in the background, I'm gonna watch some of Sharknado just to learn how to protect myself from flying great whites. That and I'll get myself an Uzi 'cause, like, you never know...

  20. I'll be watching Sharknado this Thursday. Can't wait! Hope it's as fun as Megapirahna.

  21. Don't you always wonder if they ask themselves the questions you posed. Not the sharks so much but the bacteria.
    On the other hand, should we mess with the weather any more than we're doing every day all ready?

  22. Step away from the SyFy Saturday movies...

  23. Really Michael, with that imagination you should become a writer.

    oh wait...

  24. You know what else is a plausible theory in this situation? That DOCTOR WHO Christmas episode featuring the planet where the fish swim in the sky.

  25. *LOL* I'm putting everything aside just to watch this tonight. Excellent tips to survive a sharknado. But what happens if there's a tsunami filled with dangerous giant squid = Sqinami! Any tips for dealing with monster squid?

  26. It was so, so, so bad. I think they're just trying to create a cult classic.