Vortex-surfing

Reader unquietcode asks:

I saw this post recently and it made me wonder what’s going on. If you look in the upper right of the frame as the camera submerges, you can see a little vortex of water whirring about. Even with the awesome power of the wave rolling forward a little tornado of water seems able to stably form. Any idea what causes this phenomenon?

This awesome clip was taken from John John Florence’s “& Again” surf video. What you’re seeing is the vortex motion of a plunging breaking wave. As ocean waves approach the shore, the water depth decreases, which amplifies the wave’s height. When the wave reaches a critical height, it breaks and begins to lose its energy to turbulence. There are multiple kinds of breaking waves, but plungers are the classic surfer’s wave. These waves become steep enough that the top of the wave  overturns and plunges into the water ahead of the wave. This generates the vortex-like tube you see in the animation. Such waves can produce complicated three-dimensional vortex structures like those seen in this video by Clark Little. Any initial variation in the main vortex gets stretched as the wave rolls on, and this spins up and strengthens the rib vortices seen wrapped around the primary vortex. (Source video: B. Kueny and J. Florence)

WANDERING WHEEL … 

… our planetary system spirals like a vortex surfing the waves of our galaxy. As we orbit, this wandering wheel leaves behind in its wake the recorded memories of our imagination. Tunneling through space, this akashic wormhole is accessed through the dreams of us beings offering us a wardrobe of possibilities. Who will you be?

Artist: Keith Prossick


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I’m quite fond of the idea that an angel’s rank determines not only their appearance but also what size their true forms are. So, Castiel, being a Seraph by Season 6 and on, is approximately the size of our Chrysler Building. From there the size tapers off.

And then there are the Archangels. The powerhouses of the Host. These massive creatures that dwarf the Seraphim. Like a blue whale next to an orca.

I like picturing these Archangels flying through Heaven, knocking aside the angels that don’t get out of the way of their wings. Completely accidental, but they’ve got too much pride to apologize to each of their kin that they buffet. And, when they lead other angels into battle, the smaller ones vortex surf behind them, saving their energy for the fight to come.

Maybe, in more peaceful times, Gabriel would let his younger kin land on him, on his wings. They’d have little games with each other while the Archangel served as the playing mat. Not that he minded, of course. It was nice having that much life and gaiety happening around, and on, him. Maybe he’d jokingly poke and prod at some of them. Just for a laugh. Just to see the indignant little fits the smaller angels would throw for having been knocked for a loop.

While his older brothers, his more serious brothers who thought too much about their jobs, would look on in either boredom or flat-out distaste. Things needed to be done to keep Creation running smoothly. Couldn’t very well do those if you were goofing around. Plus, letting your feathers get all roughed up and displaced by these angels that were practically children? Disgraceful.

And Gabriel would ignore his older brothers because they were party-poopers who had the misfortune of having not been created with the definition of “fun” already downloaded into their brains. They just couldn’t understand what they were missing.