Everyone badly missed the forecast yesterday. When Barbara checked the
Weather Channel web page and the TV weather early yesterday
afternoon, the only thing in the forecast was rain for yesterday
evening and overnight. No mention of severe weather. As it turned out,
we spent most of the evening and early morning hours under a
tornado warning. Fortunately for us, the most severe weather was along
and to the south and east of a NE-SW frontal boundary 20 kilometers or
so to our southwest. We got a few spectacular lightning flashes, some
loud thunder, and heavy rain, but that was it. High Point, to our
southeast, had a tornado touchdown that brought down lots of trees and
power lines and ripped the roofs off several houses.
One thing I
will give our local NBC affiliate, WXII, is that they go into emergency
mode and stay there as long as there are any tornado warnings active
anywhere in their viewing area. Lanie Pope and Michelle Kennedy were
on-air continuously without commercial interruptions from dinner time
until the early morning hours. WXII has a heck of a Doppler radar
system, and they obviously know how to interpret it. It's pretty
amazing to watch them use it to narrow down the most dangerous areas,
not just to towns or even neighborhoods, but to individual roads and
streets and even blocks on those streets.
I'm working heads-down on the PC book this week, so I won't be posting
- Via Jeff
Duntemann, here's a fascinating
with some real possibilities. The AirStash is a wireless b/g USB thumb
drive that accepts SD memory cards up to 32 GB. In effect, it's a tiny,
portable file server with wireless connectivity. If this thing becomes
commonplace, big media's war against P2P ends decisively in a rout.
Half the kids walking around the mall will be serving files, and all of
them will be downloading them.
Although transfer speed is
limited to 54 Mbps or about 5 MB/s, my first thought was that I could
use this little dongle for daily backups. Barbara's and my home
directories and my working data directory usually total 250 to 500 MB
in compressed form, so it'd take only a minute or two to copy them to
this device (assuming that it allows files to be uploaded to it as well
as downloaded from it; that's not clear from a quick glance at the
specs). A 32 GB SD card would give me room for a couple months' worth
of daily backups.
- The morning paper had a big article on attempts by the
Catholic Church to avoid taking any responsibility for institutionalized
child rape and to shield the Pope from being required to testify in a
civil lawsuit. Civil lawsuit, hell. The Pope and every bishop in his
church should be facing criminal charges, along with many of the
priests. The management structure of the RC church is rotten to the
core. Even those who didn't actually rape children personally were well
aware of what was going on and conspired to shield these serial child
rapists from justice. The RC Church is a criminal organization, in
which it is no longer possible for any moral person to remain a member.
Pat Condell's take on this is worth watching.
defense is simply bizarre. Basically, the Catholic Church argues that
they're not alone. Children have been raped, they say, by teachers and
businessmen and doctors, and yet no one considers teachers or
businessmen or doctors generally to be guilty of child rape. Well, Mr.
Pope, let me explain the difference. When a teacher or businessman or
doctor rapes a child, that rapist's colleagues don't attempt to cover
up the crime. As soon as they become aware of it, they report the
crime to the civil authorities and do everything possible to make
sure the criminal is prosecuted and punished and will have no
opportunity to repeat his crime. The fact that you apparently don't
understand that difference speaks volumes.
I'm still cranking away on the new edition of the PC book, taking a
break periodically to script and shoot some video segments for YouTube.
Barbara and I just finished watching the first three seasons of Cold Feet,
a British comedy-drama starring the adorable Helen Baxendale. It wasn't
until we were well into the series that we realized that series 4 and 5
weren't available as Region 1 DVDs. The first three seasons were
released about 8 years ago, and my guess is that they didn't sell
enough copies to make it worth publishing the final two seasons. It may
be bittorrent time.
law mandates universal coverage, requiring health insurers to issue
policies to all comers, regardless of pre-existing conditions, and
forbidding them to charge higher premiums to those with pre-existing
conditions. On that basis, no one would buy health insurance until they
actually needed it to pay medical bills and the health insurers would
quickly go bankrupt, so the law also requires everyone to buy health
insurance whether they need it or not, or pay a penalty of 2.5% of
their income. Few people will buy health insurance on that basis,
because 2.5% of income is typically much less than the cost of health
But, as Jeff points out, it gets worse. No
one will pay the penalty, either, because the law itself specifically
forbids the government from punishing anyone who simply refuses to pay
the penalty. If you refuse to pay the penalty, the law says the
government can't fine you or arrest and jail you or put a lien on your
property. In other words, the law is entirely toothless when it comes
to enforcing must-buy provisions against individuals. But the law does
have teeth, big ones, for insurers who refuse to issue policies to all
The outcome is predictable. Healthy people will refuse
to buy health insurance or pay penalties. When someone becomes ill,
he'll immediately apply for health insurance, which the insurer must
issue at preferred rates. Within weeks or months, every health insurer
will be bankrupt and health insurance will longer be available from
private parties. The government will be forced to step in as the
single-payer health insurer of last resort.
Was this whole thing
a mistake? I don't think so. Unless Congress fixes this problem
immediately, private health insurance ceases to exist. Which was the
intention all along.