Category Archives: Projects

Project II

One of the earth’s most beautiful places is quite possibly the earth’s most terrifying location, because of its veiled potential for unparalleled devastation. In 1986 a sudden and devastating event occurred in the vicinity of Lake Nyos in Cameroon, Africa. Over 2,000 people perished in one night as a giant cloud of poisonous gas erupted from the depths of the lake. Below is a National Geographic report on the tragedy; a more comprehensive treatment with a realistic reenactment can be found on my first blog post: “What’s it all about”.
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The event at Lake Nyos has been attributed to a rare and not very well understood natural phenomenon referred to as an “exploding lake”. This occurs when the waters of a deep lake become infused with vast quantities of carbon dioxide. This appears to be connected to volcanic activity in the region. When the lake water undergoes an inversion, it results in the carbon dioxide being released as the rising water depressurizes.

The frightening thing is that Nyos isn’t the only exploding lake in Africa. Lake Kivu, one of the Great Lakes of Africa, also has this dubious distinction. Kivu, however, is far larger and deeper than Nyos, containing immensely greater volumes of deadly carbon dioxide. In addition, Kivu holds a vast quantity of methane, suspended in the high pressure of over 1,000 feet of water. Unlike the rural area of Cameroon, Kivu is the center of a population of over a million people from two nations, Ruanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The lake is part of the East African rift valley and is connected to the potential volcanic activity of the region. An inversion of Kivu’s waters could release a nightmare of destruction, dwarfing to insignificance the Nyos disaster. In addition to the poisonous nature of the gases, methane gas is highly flammable and explosive. Ruanda is in the process of extracting methane from the lake waters to generate electricity. It is hoped that this will also reduce the danger of the lake exploding, but most scientists doubt that this will have any effect on the phenomenon.

This is the backdrop of my upcoming action novel. Physicist Tom Chambers and his wife Kathy from Journey into Legend and Beyond the Darkened Veil, come to Ruanda as part of a project to study the lake’s extraordinary properties. Brad and Ann Conner soon arrive with their two children to assist at a church mission for the summer. When Tom discovers what he believes is the key to the lake’s mystery, he encounters violent opposition from a group wishing to exploit the lake for its vast store of methane. As Tom’s theory is confirmed, they all are caught up in a desperate struggle against an unimaginable wave of devastation as they attempt to save their own lives as well as the 14 mission children they have with them.

I hope that this story will capture the interest of my readers as it has me. I hope too that it can serve as a warning to the potential destruction of this beautiful yet deadly region in the heart of Africa.

A Fundamental Dilemma of Evolution

(Note: if you haven’t checked out Kaysen’s Korner lately, he has some new galleries posted.)

Although I certainly am a confessing Christian and believe in every respect the truth and inerrancy of the Bible, the complete erosion of my confidence in the theory of evolution had nothing to do with my Christian faith. When I first learned and accepted evolution as a viable theory, I wasn’t particularly well versed with the scriptures and wasn’t aware of any significant contradictions. The Bible didn’t claim to be a science book, so I believed that God could certainly create the world in an evolutionary manner if he chose. My misgivings grew from an analytical examination of the facts, apart from any need to satisfy a religious conviction. Despite a majority of opinions within the scientific community supporting evolution, I was hardly alone in my inability to accept such an improbable notion explaining the state of life on earth. Many respected members of the scientific community have clearly and vehemently stated their position that evolution is not only highly improbable, but it is completely discredited by the physical evidence.

Much could be said about this evidence, but my object here is to simply have some fun looking at some of the most incredible creatures God created. It can easily be seen through their astounding complexity that one of the fundamental building blocks of evolution requires gullibility that staggers the imagination. It has long been accepted that mutations of the DNA structure must occur to achieve the drastic changes necessary to produce a new and distinct species. We can imagine such a mutation altering a particular section of the DNA code, resulting in a significant change in the organism. Virtually every observed mutation has been destructive, however, the real dilemma is that even if a non lethal mutation occurs, in almost every case there must be simultaneous constructive mutations in several other totally separate portions of the code. Taking a look at the amazing creatures here, it is easy to see how impossible it would be to have such simultaneous mutations.

No matter what one thinks about evolution, these fascinating creatures are well worth taking a look at. First, consider this Killer Cone Snail: It would have to form its harpoon arm, while at the same time developing its poisonous chemicals. Not only that, but it must have its neuromuscular system in place in order to target and fire successfully.
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Let’s look at this remarkable species of sea cucumber and imagine how it must develop its specialized parts simultaneously so it can survive:

These next two are just as amazing in their own way. For the Electric Eel, it’s interesting to note that while developing its electric capabilities, it would also have to alter its internal chemistry both for conduction to deliver the shock and insulation to make sure it didn’t zap itself:

I have been intrigued as well by the symbiotic relationships in nature. Here are a couple of really strange ones:

Bullfrogs will certainly eat about anything, even their own young, but they digest everything else, so how did this strange behavior evolve?

Finally, here are a couple of my favorite critters:

Like it? Hate it? Agree? Disagree? – Let us know.