Saturday, 9 February 2013

By on February 9th, 2013 in Barbara

07:49 – Barbara had the night off. She and Colin are back in the bedroom now, having a lie-in. She’s dad-sitting tonight, and will be off-duty again tomorrow night.

It should be an ordinary Saturday for us until Barbara leaves this afternoon to head over to her parents’ apartment. I’ll do laundry and work on science kits. Barbara plans to do some yardwork, and maybe label some empty bottles and seal some filled ones this afternoon while she watches something on Netflix streaming.

24 Comments and discussion on "Saturday, 9 February 2013"

  1. Roy Harvey says:

    The snow here in CT is pretty substantial, at least two feet with heavy drifts, but it has pretty well stopped falling. My son-in-law has a plowing business but has been stuck at one client since early morning and can’t leave for the next. It reminds me of 1978, though I doubt it is quite that bad.

    The good news is that we have power, and a generator in the garage just in case.

  2. Miles_Teg says:

    For a while now I’ve been reading how global warning deniers, and even skeptics, are scientifically ignorant. This seems to be coming in from all quarters, including Scientific American magazine and all the science bloggers I know. If you’re not a believer you seem to be accorded as little creditability as a creationist.

    So, is GW happening? If so are we to blame? Assuming GW is happening should we welcome that for some reason. Our host has said we’re overdue for an ice age so if GW is happening that’s a good thing.

  3. SteveF says:

    Six inches or so in my driveway a few miles north of Albany, NY. It’s hard to tell because of drifts. Our neighborhood is in kind of a funnel, so we have a lot of wind — if the weather station a few miles away says west wind at 5MPH, our sustained winds will be at least twice that. Power stayed up and, so far as can tell, the world did not end. Imagine that: it seems the media were hyping this storm beyond all reason.

    Loath though I am to say anything good about any government employee, I have to give the Albany County sheriff credit. He was on a morning radio show Friday morning and described some of the emergency measures available in case things went bad, but repeatedly said things like, “Look, it’s February in the Northeast. It’s a storm. It’s not a blizzard or a nor’easter. It’s just a snowstorm. There’s no need to panic and you media people aren’t helping anyone.”

  4. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I don’t know anyone who denies that the planet is warming up, and has been for a hundred years or more. What I’m skeptical about is the cause. As far as I can see, this is just part of a natural cycle. I have yet to see a convincing argument that the cause is anthropogenic.

    And I’m not convinced that even if the AGW proponents are correct it would be any bad thing or that we should take (very expensive) steps to prevent or minimize AGW. As I’ve said, we’re overdue for a glaciation, which would be catastrophic compared even to the worst predictions of the AGW crowd. Even if those predictions are true–and I think it’s extremely likely they’re not–they’d at worst cause a gradual population shift. Areas like Siberia and arctic Canada would become livable, while the range of equatorial climate would expand significantly.

  5. SteveF says:

    I have seen no reason to change my views relating to (alleged) global warming:

    First, I don’t know if the planet is actually warming or not. I’m not denying the possible fact, I’m denying the plausibility of the reports making it to the public. Cities have spread and rural thermometers have become urban thermometers but the models were not updated to reflect this. There are claims and counter-claims and corrections and rejections of the corrections to orbital sensors. Historical data is of questionable accuracy before the mid-1900s and barely better than speculation before 1850. I’m not sure that anyone knows what the average planetary temperature is now, let alone whether it’s increasing. It’s entirely possible that the data are not as unknown as I think, but what’s getting out to the public gives the open-minded skeptic nothing firm to have any confidence in.

    Second, the science for accurately modeling weather doesn’t exist, so far as I know. On good open issue is from Pournelle: given wind and current conditions and the angle of the sun, how much solar energy is reflected from the ocean surface and how much is absorbed? Maybe a precise answer is not needed and an approximation is good enough for most purposes, but if climatologists are going to pretend to predict temperature change to within a hundredth of a degree over a century, they need to be able to answer questions like that.

    Third, the computer models are amateurish junk. I looked at the UEA’s sooper-sekrit program some years ago and one other (though I don’t remember which one). There is nothing good to be said about the UEA program: it was the kind of program that I, an experienced, professional software developer, would expect to be produced by a science undergrad and then tinkered with by other science undergrads who didn’t know what they were doing and then deliberately altered to produce fraudulent results. The other program didn’t have comments like “put in the magic kludge here”, but otherwise was just as bad.

    Fourth, and most importantly, even though I don’t know the science and don’t trust the data or models, I do know people. The so-called climate scientists aren’t acting like honest scientists. They hide the data, they hide the computer programs, they hide the corrections applied to the data, they threaten to sue skeptics. On the political side, I’ll believe that the drum-beaters truly believe that we’re all going to die if something isn’t done, when they start acting like it. Instead, Al Gore zips around in a private jet, the US EPA bought a fleet of large SUVs rather than fuel-efficient autos, and shite-pokes at all levels stick their hand into the money stream even as they work to increase the money stream. Except for a few true believers, none of whom seem to know any actual science, the warmingists’ actions can be fully explained by desire to control others, desire to tear down others, and desire to enrich themselves at the expense of others.

  6. OFD says:

    Bob and SteveF just clarified the whole mess right there; I may re-post it all over hell now if it’s OK with them.

    We got a foot of powder here with a smidgeon of ice. This was like the snowstorms I remember in days of yore, when we had one like it every week in Massachusetts and I not only shoveled our driveway but those of neighbors for five bucks a pop. Then we stayed out playing in it until suppertime. But we have twice the population and traffic now and 7×24 media hype like it’s Apocalypse.

    Sunshine and blue skies today and it will rocket into the twenties tomorrow, a veritable heat wave! Shorts and t-shirts!

  7. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I write all my stuff now under a CC license, so you’re free to repost it wherever you wish.

  8. SteveF says:

    Knock yourself out. Which is meant colloquially, but if you do ram your head into the wall or something, be sure to post pictures.

  9. Lynn McGuire says:

    My reading on Global Warming is that it is holding off the next ice age. Pournelle has referenced some articles recently where some scientists are thinking that the glaciers could move into South ??? Dakota within a 2 to 3 year period. Just never stop snowing for a time, including summers, and your whole world goes bad in a hurry.

    Extra CO2 is not a totally bad thing either. Corn and Wheat grow faster, given enough water. There are three cuttings of the wheat in Kansas right now (when there is enough water which has been a serious problem lately). There are only two cuttings of the wheat in Canada right now, but given enough warming (and water), we may get a lengthening of the growing season there to get a third cutting.

    I am also a fan of building more nuclear power plants and using their nighttime power to convert CO2 into CH4 and O2. Again, water is needed.

    Coincidentally, the number one focus of the compressed legislative session in The Great State of Texas is water and how to get more of it without sucking our underground aquifers dry. BTW, the legislature in Texas only meets Jan 2 to May 31, once every two years. And yes, all the daughters and sons in Austin have been locked up until June. Looks like we are going to build about 35 more semi-great lakes for water storage during the good years. Or not, who knows what those crazies are going to do. Maybe they will build huge desalinization plants as the water cost from those is down to about 4 $/1000 gal (supposedly). This is being precipitated by the fact that many of the farmers have been cutoff from the local rivers for their crops. Not allowing the farmers water is a bad thing, a very bad thing. California has been experimenting with that for a couple of years now and it is not going well.

    67 F here today and heading to 75 F. The bugs are waking up and getting ready to carry us all off since there was no freeze this year. The number of fire ant mounds is simply amazing. I treated fire ant mounds last week at my office property and went through a two lb amdro jug and barely covered 2 acres.

  10. OFD says:

    I shoveled a foot of powder snow off about a third of our gravel driveway and hard as I looked and scoured the ground, I could not for the life of me find a fire ant mound. Checked under the bushes and again, came up empty, for rattlers, corals, moccasins, or copperheads. In fact, when I came back with a tired and somewhat sore back, I looked in the mirror and saw the only Copperhead I know so fah here in Retroville.

    15 supposedly, but no wind and we have sunshine all day so feels OK. Vehicles and ice fishermen out on the Lake now.

  11. Lynn McGuire says:

    I shoveled a foot of powder snow off about a third of our gravel driveway

    Why? Seriously, snow on a gravel driveway just sounds like something to be packed down.

    And when did we start naming snowstorms? Am I missing something here?

  12. SteveF says:

    If you name a snowstorm, it sounds bigger and more dramatic. More threatening. And thus people watch more TV and listen to more radio, in hopes of hearing some glimmer of hope that they will survive this apocalyptic event. And therefore the broadcast ads are exposed to more people and all is well in broadcastland.

  13. OFD says:

    Only reason I shoveled that powder is so Mrs. OFD can get her mom’s Saab in and out; has all-season tires but those ain’t good enough for this. Her own Saab is currently off the road for some repairs and mods. The Dodge truck gets in and out of whatever, no problemo, senor.

    I gather they named this run-0f-the-mill snowstorm Nemo? What a joke. Sure, they got a lot down in MA, CT and RI and the Islands, but it’s not like the first time. And I doubt it beats the Blizzard of ’78, which I saw firsthand; got a paid week off from work at Data General; came off the graveyard shift where I was a wave solder machine operator and drove home, watching the usual crowds of morning commuters; they got stuck at the plant for the week and had to empty the vending machines and be rescued by Guard troops. I also collected a week’s unemployment insurance money and so got paid twice for a week of shoveling snow, drinking beer and watching tee-vee. Took a ride out to the Route 85 bridge over Route 9 in Southborough (Chuck in Tiny Town may know this location) and could in both directions, east and west, see many dozens of vehicles buried where they stopped, only the roofs and antennas visible. I measured the snow in the back of my pickup truck then at 32 inches in Hopkinton, MA, site of where the Boston Marathon starts every year.

  14. Roy Harvey says:

    Down here the storm was pretty severe. Though not up to 1978 standards, it is at least as bad as any other I have seen in the 36 years I’ve lived in CT and probably a bit worse. Certainly there was more snow in my driveway that I have had before in 32 years in this house. It is the first time I didn’t clear all the snow in one day.

    There should be a statue somewhere to commemorate the invention of the snow blower.

  15. OFD says:

    Wow, it was invented in 1925:

    “Canadian inventor, Arthur Sicard invented the snowblower in 1925. The Montreal based inventor sold his first, “Sicard Snow Remover Snowblower” to the nearby town of Outremont in 1927″

    No statue that I could find but millions of grateful snow pushers. I’m getting one for next winter; too bloody old to shovel as much as I did today; I can do it, but it wears me right out and I have a minor sore back.

  16. ech says:

    And when did we start naming snowstorms? Am I missing something here?

    “We”, if you mean NOAA, doesn’t name winter snowstorms. It was started by the Weather Channel. They posted a handwaving reasons why that boils down to “we want to have a dramatic name for out shows”.

  17. Chuck W says:

    Life is dull. TV used to be, until media schools started perfect hair training for anchors and reporters and apocalypse story injection into virtually anything that moves.

    From Tim Berners-Lee:

    Only in Boston, where “wicked” has been a staple word since the 80’s. Everything was “wicked” or “rad” (radical) when my kids were in grade school there. Amazingly, even kids who drapt their quahtuhs, said “rad” with the proper “r”. Fer shoe-uh.

    Speaking of Southboro, there used to be a commercial about getting stuck on the Turnpike with a dead engine in Southboro, as if that was the most dangerous spot for humanity in the world, and for gawd’s sake, don’t ever get out of your car in Southboro as the undead will surely get ya.

    Meanwhile, we are experiencing an early spring. About 52 and sunny here today. I did not even wear a coat. Same for most of last week when it was not raining. Hard to believe it is still early February. Actually, I LIKE global warming. Not more than a ground covering of snow so fah this wintuh. I am amazed others don’t like this. Bring it on. We have had another very mild winter. I keep the radiator boiler water low, so the radiators are warmer longer, instead of super-hot for a short time. I only had to turn up the upper temp limit for 2 weeks, ending Monday past. The Germans and most of Europe have boilers that do this automatically according to the outside temperature, but every single HVAC guy I have encountered in the US is scared to death of anything European. Nearly every restroom in every business building and in some homes in Europe have small hot water heaters for bathroom water under the sink. But I have only seen that in one commercial building since being back in the US. Heat that water in large quantities in the basement, keep it hot 24/7, pump it through miles of heat-loss pipes, and spend lots and lots of excess money to do that.

    Rain tomorrow; near 50 for the bulk of next week. Love global warming.

  18. Miles_Teg says:

    Southborough seems like a pretty nice place, by Massachusetts standards. What’s wrong with it?,_Massachusetts

    Looking at the map, it seems far enough out not to be part of Boston. Is that correct?

  19. Miles_Teg says:

    Thanks for the comments about GW, it’s about what I expected. I know very little of the science of it, so I tend to keep my head down. The reason I’m highly skeptical is that people I despise are trumpeting it, along with “solutions” that will lower our standard of living for no real gain. (Yes, lunatic fringe liberal Democrats and Greens, I’m looking at you.) They also oppose nuclear power, which I think will have to be part of the solution. There was an article in Scientific American recently opposing tar oils from Cannukistan because they take more energy to produce than real oil from Texas and Saudi Arabia (but is much more environmentally friendly than generating electricity from coal.)

    When the greenies and alarmists give up their SUVs, environmentally and energy intensive homes and start living in tents or caves and cycle everywhere I’ll start taking them seriously.

  20. Miles_Teg says:

    I was just at the pharmacy, and there was a quite attractive young female customer with a largish rack, unfortunately accompanied by a significant other. The guy’s t-shirt said:

    “Tell your boobs to stop staring at my eyes!”

  21. OFD says:

    “Only in Boston, where “wicked” has been a staple word since the 80′s. ”

    It’s been a regular part of young peoples’ slang since at least the Glorious Sixties, as my personal recollections attest, although Merriam-Webster’s online says, falsely, that the first known use was in 1980. That is patent bullshit; I remember it from the early 60s, used constantly. The word itself dates to circa 1300.

    In re: Southborough and its proximity or lack thereof to Boston: Boston regards everything west of Route 128, “America’s Technology Highway,” as Beyond the Pale, a howling wilderness, and their nooz and weather coverage reflect this, although the Channel 7 station had/has? a Woostuh bureau downtown. Its name is a reflection of the English colonial genius for continually replicating town names over and over again throughout the continent, so we have Southborough, Northborough, and Westborough all together down there adjacent to Marlborough, and “Southborough” itself a colonial slurring/corruption of the nearby town name of “Sudbury.” Or the reverse, I forget.

    It was certainly a howling wilderness during colonial times with regular hostilities between the English and the local Algonqians; further, the last exiled refuge of the Reverend Parris, he of the Salem witch hysteria (two daughters and Tituba kicked it off) was in Sudbury, and some of the accused witches ended up themselves exiled to what is now Salem End Road in Framingham, where I spent my misspent high school years smoking dope, dropping acid and drinking beer and wine.

    Anyway, to Boston it’s still the end of the world.

  22. Chuck W says:

    Kind of like the weather forecast I saw once in NYC on WABC-TV. After giving the forecast for New York and New England, the weatherman made a waving motion to the whole US west of the Hudson, saying, “And out here? There’s really nothing out there.”

    “Süd” is “south” in German, so Sudbury and Southboro would be identical expressions in different languages in use at the time of their founding. And how true that anything beyond Route 128 is utter wilderness—and incredibly dangerous to anyone living inside the 128 beltway.

  23. OFD says:

    It’s always a kick to drive east outta Woostuh as you crest the hill and see one of them old Commonwealth historical markers with the green patina, this one marking “…this lonely region called Quinsigamond…” and the Indian hostilities that drove the first settlers away three times over the years before the final permanent town was established. Route 9 itself, for this section called the “Boston-Worcester Turnpike” in the old days, stretches from the Vampire State border to Boston, and was originally an Indian trail from the Boston harbor estuary connecting the various lakes, streams and ponds along its length.

    Now of course it is a very busy thoroughfare and Lake Quinsigamond is built up all the way around and busy with racing shells and motor boats during the warm weather. The ghosts have all left, no longer recognizing their former surroundings.

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