"Any day you can walk to the window and look out is a good day" an older friend explained. And any day snowdrifts don't cover up that big window is an even better day.
My 25 year old son is dreading the upcoming winter, sounding more like a 65-year old snowbird: "When I was a kid snow brought snow days. Now it just brings commuting misery."
As winters shrink and trend milder even nuisance snows can bring howls of disapproval. Imagine what 5.5 inches of snow did to our rutted dirt roads on October 29, 1905, when a lucky few had 1-horsepower daily drivers. A huge blizzard on October 16, 1880 smothered Canby, Minnesota under 20 foot drifts, bringing train traffic out west to a standstill until the spring thaw in 1881.
This puts today's ration of morning slush into stark perspective. A light mix may coat a few lawns early today, but a rapid warm-up aloft should mean light rain by midday; mainly wet roads after 9 AM. Heavier rain is expected Wednesday night as a strong storm tracks across the Midwest. Showers taper to a light drizzle for Thursday Trick or Treating; temperatures in the 40s.
Highs reach 50s again early next week - I still don't see anything bitter through mid-November.
* Photo credit above: Imara Hixon.
Today marks the 1 year anniversary of Sandy coming ashore over New Jersey:
- At its height of intensity, just over Cuba, Hurricane Sandy clocked in as a category 3 storm. It had lost strength by the time it hit the East Coast of the U.S.
- Sandy was so large that tropical storm force winds extended over an area more than 1,000 miles in diameter.
- The superstorm forced coastal water surges from Florida to Maine -- with parts of New York City seeing the worst flooding. Recorded water level values there exceeded 9 feet above the Mean Higher High Water line.
- More than 12 inches of rainfall led to subsequent flooding in rivers, streams and creeks throughout portions of the Mid-Atlantic.
- Sandy’s peak winds increased to near 100 miles per hour over the Gulf Stream, approximately 220 nautical miles south of Atlantic City, N.J..."
File photo above: Patsy Lynch, FEMA.
Photo credit above: "Bacons Neck Road in Greenwich, Cumberland County, was submerged by Hurricane Sandy. Flooding is a recurring problem in the area, where no dikes are accredited by FEMA to provide sufficient flood control." (For The Star-Ledger).
File photo credit: "In this Sept. 13, 2013 file photo, cars lay mired in mud deposited by floods in Lyons, Colo. Little more than a year after Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper assured the world his wildfire-ravaged state was still “open for business,” he may have to throw another lifeline to keep the state’s billion-dollar tourism industry afloat." AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File.
What Would It Be Like If This Quarter-Mile-Wide Asteroid Hit The Earth In 2032 (And You Survived It). The odds are microscopically small. Then again, not sure any of us are feeling too lucky these days. Here's a clip from an eye-opening tale at Quartz: "Earlier this month, Ukrainian astronomers made a pretty big discovery: a quarter-mile-wide asteroid, to be exact. From their initial calculations, the astronomers learned that a relatively large, never-seen-before asteroid—named 2013 TV135—had just buzzed safely past Earth but would make an extremely close call on August 26, 2032. That was enough to instantly move the newly discovered asteroid to the top of NASA’s Near Earth Asteroid watch list, where it remains today..."
Image credit above: "" NASA.
Dolphins Inspire A New Bomb-Detecting System. Gizmag has the fascinating details; here's the introduction: "Chances are, you know that dolphins use sonar to locate and stun prey underwater. You might also know that they create "bubble nets," in which they trap fish inside a ring of air bubbles that they blow while swimming in a circle. With all those distracting bubbles suspended in the water, though, their sonar needs to work in a special way in order to pick out the fish. Scientists have copied that sonar system, to create a type of radar that could differentiate between ordinary objects and things like explosive devices..."
Photo credit: "Dolphins' ability to tell the difference between fish and bubbles has inspired the creation of a new type of radar system." (Photo: Shutterstock).
In Search Of The Hottest Chili Pepper On Earth. What causes people to inflict pain...on themselves? There's a little masochist in all of us, as this article at The New Yorker points out - here's a clip: "...Chief among the chilihead’s occupational hazards is getting burnt up. In layman’s terms, this means eating a chili that causes one to experience profuse sweating, redness, nausea, ear-popping, abdominal cramps, vomiting, or all of the above. Getting burnt up can happen by accident (underestimation, misidentification) or on purpose (dares, pranks, curry)..."
Can't Get Away From It All? The Problem Isn't Technology - It's You. Can you hear me now? Damn. It seems we're loving our digital devices (to death). Some will go to extreme lengths to get away from tidal waves of e-mails, tweets and FB posts, but that's becoming increasingly challenging, as this story at Wired explains; here's a clip: "...Which means we’re now seeing some pretty bizarre attempts to get away from it all. Technology critic Evgeny Morozov famously puts his router and phone in a safe with a timer lock when he needs to be free of distractions. Techno-isolation is one of Burning Man’s many appeals (though citizens of the playa are increasingly willing and able to Instagram or tweet their escapades in the desert). There are now multiple high-end summer camps for adults, and part of what you pay for is having counselors enforce strict no-phone, no-camera policies. Those may be silly examples, but they’re worth thinking about. We’re living in a remarkable time, when it will soon be impossible to be truly alone..."
Graphic credit above: "Want to get away? It’s a big country, but a huge portion of it is smothered in high-bandwidth wireless coverage (shown in orange). Many places that were previously thought to be completely off the grid are now Instagram-friendly hot spots. If you’re really looking to unplug, the connection you have to sever isn’t electronic anymore—it’s mental."
Graphic credit: Lisa Haney
Grudging Respect For Russel Brand? My 25 year old son shared this link with me, who told me he was rethinking his opinion of Brand. Not sure if this will start a revolution, but check out the video at Gawker - I think he might just be onto something: "The revolution itself may not be televised, but on last night's edition of the BBC's Newsnight, viewers may have witnessed the start of one. Actor-slash-comedian-slash-Messiah Russell Brand, in his capacity as guest editor of the New Statesman's just-published revolution-themed issue, was invited to explain to Jeremy Paxman why anyone should listen to a man who has never voted in his life. "I don't get my authority from this preexisting paradigm which is quite narrow and only serves a few people," Russell responded. "I look elsewhere for alternatives that might be of service to humanity." And with that, the first shots of Russell's revolutionary interview were fired..."
Photo credit above: "Parts of the Arctic have seen average temperatures rise 9 degrees Fahrenheit in just the last five years, said climate scientist Paul Mayewski." (Solana Pyne/GlobalPost).
Photo credit above: REUTERS/Lucas Jackson.
Photo by Phil Plait based on NASA image.
Israel To Build The 5th Largest Solar Power Station On The Planet. Mashable has the article; here's an excerpt: "Israel plans to start construction next year on what will become the fifth largest solar power station in the world, part of a plan to build three such structures that will curb their dependency on fossil fuels. The $1.1 billion solar plant will be able to generate 121 megawatts of electricity by the time it's finished in 2016. That's enough juice to power 40,000 homes, and it's only part of the 250 megawatts that all three solar plants will generate. That's about 2.5% of Israel's energy consumption, according to Inhabitat. The project will also contribute to the nation's plan to generate 10% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020..."
Solar Panel: The New "Granite Countertops"? Clean Technica has an article about the adoption curve of solar, and how many consumers are saving money over the long term by installing panels. Is it right for you? There are now leasing options available, and yes, it is possible to save green by going green.