Remember in Rain Man when Raymond wanted to fly Quantas because it was the only airline in the world that had never had a crash? Well, I’m not sure if that is still true but the Australian airline avoided one today when for unknown reasons, a chunk of fuselage ripped away or it broke open at 29,000 feet. That’s about the altitude of Mt. Everest. The plane expereience rapid decompression causing the air masks to drop in the passenger section and the plane descended rapidly. The pilot managed to make an emergency landing. Here is the story from the AP via the NYTimes’ International Herald Tribune followed by video from MSNBC. The first video does have the MSNBC anchors jibbering on and its not that exciting but it does show what it’s like in a plane full of over 300 people when an emergency occurs. It also has a nice shot of the hole in the plane. The next story is a fuller, MSNBC report and it looks pretty lame to me…but you can decide for yourself.
Archive for July, 2008
Quantas Airliner Avoids Disaster; Pilot Lands Plane Following “Big Hole” at 29,000 Feet
July 25, 2008
Where’s Dolly? Does It Mean that Al Gore is Right?
July 25, 2008
Here’s the juice. Bertha formed farther east than any storm recorded so soon in the hurricane season. Bertha was also the longest lasting named storm in July at 17.25 days. Dolly was only the 6th storm to hit Texas in July. The four named storms for June and July are the 4th most ever recorded in a single season.
Get Ready….here they come! The stories are already beginning about the possibility of these little facts showing that Global Warming is causing more tropical cyclones. One of the first comes to us from the Christian Science Monitor. Before you read it, consider a few things.
Hurricane season goes from June until November; this is when hurricanes are most likely to form in the North Atlantic. Also, the North Atlantic is just a part of the world. Tropical Cyclones occur most frequently in the Western Pacific. There are also more storms in the Indian Ocean. Focusing on the North Atlantic and then drawing a conclusion from just that information would be foolish and perhaps misleading.
The first hurricane tracked on satellite was Camille in 1969. So, prior to that time, there were most likely a number of storms in the ocean that formed, lived and died and no one knew about it. They depended solely on ship reports. If they didn’t have enough reports to draw a conclusion, then it wasn’t known. Ships tend to avoid rough weather. The potential for past unreported storms in other parts of the world is especially true in other parts of the world.
Also note that there have been 3 other years in North Atlantic recorded history that have had more storms this early. So, it’s not unprecedented and it’s possible that there have been more storms in other seasons that were unknown. This CSM reporter does make a fleeting reference to this far down in the story by quoting a researcher that says that it is possible that the “results pull in a number of weak storms whose presence on the list could be an artifact of improvements in observing hurricanes from the air and from space.” This and another reference that the author of the report cautions that his work has not gone through the peer review process and has not been published. This is contrary to what the IPCC did in some of it’s report which is they did not follow accepted procedures and used unpublished material that had not been reviewed by peers in academia. So, I can conclude that this reporter did a fair job of writing this article. While he buried the consideration that this is perhaps a natural situation, he also didn’t mention Global Warming until late in the article either. Unlike the AP writer that I mentioned in the past, he was pretty straight-forward with the facts.
Here is the article from the Christian Science Monitor:
See below for the latest, and perhaps the last data for what is now the tropical depression Dolly track. Most models I have seen have the remnant going into Arizona and New Mexico before looping back around into Oklahoma.
Here is the satellite photo of a tropical disturbance that came off of Africa a few days ago. So far, most of the models have not really picked up on this developing. However, I saw one that makes it perhaps a tropical storm but keeps it of maritime concern. An important note is that the NHC is no longer issuing reports on this system, which is interesting.
A Little Rain and a Day of Disaster
July 25, 2008
Look for a little rain for Friday morning through midday. A little MCS from Thursday night will wander down a warm front as it lifts up our way. The above is the NAM depiction of rain from morning through midday. Clouds will break up by the afternoon. Forget about the low humidity for the weekend as the front moves through and brings back the soupy air.
On This Date In History: It wasn’t supposed to be able to happen. Modern ships. Modern communications. Modern radar. A huge Atlantic Ocean. Yet, two ships managed to run into one another on
the high seas off the coast of Nantucket. At 11:10 pm the Swedish liner Stockholm and Italian Liner Andrea Doria collided in heavy fog. The Italians(over 1700 passengers) were coming from Europe to New York while the Swedes(just under 750 passengers) were headed home from the New World. The Stockholm was traveling a bit north of its recommended route in an effort to save time. Fog was thick. The Doria had a much more sophisticated radar and picked up the Stockholm at a distance of 17 miles. The Stockholm radar operator picked up the Doria at 12 miles. Like the Stockholm, the Doria was trying to keep its schedule and only slightly reduced speed in spite of the reduced visibility. So, both Captains seemed to have sacrificed safety in the name of speed.
Apparently, the normal procedure for ships passing was port to port. But for some reason, the Italian Captain
decided to turn port and make an unconventional starboard to starboard passage. It is thought the Italian Captain thought that the Swede was doing the same thing. Why these guys didn’t get on the radio and talk about it is a mystery. Or maybe they did and there was a language barrier. Whatever the case, the two slammed into each other. The Stockholm had a reinforced, ice breaker bow and just sliced the Doria. The Stockholm sustained damage and a handful of crew members died. Nearly 50 passengers and crew died on the Doria as the ice-breaker bow cut into passenger quarters. One man watched in horror as his wife was dragged out of the Doria never to be seen again. But one story caught the attention of the press and forever dubbed 14 year-old Linda Morgan as the “the miracle girl.” Morgan was taken from her bunk on the Doria as the two ships separated. She was found on board the Stockholm. I do not think she was charged with being a stow away.
The Doria listed badly so only half of her lifeboats were available for evacuation. The Stockholm though lowered its boats and other liners in the area quickly answered the doomed Doria’s mayday call. It is the greatest maritime rescue in the annals of history with 1660 souls plucked from the sea.
Here is the Bob Symon/ Ward Cleaver moral to this story: You can have the most sophisticated top-shelf equipment and technology in the world. But if you’ve got a doofus operating that stuff, its worthless. Now the self-serving but honest plug: Remember that when choosing which channel to watch next time there is severe weather and you really want to know what is going on.
On This Date in 2000 The Concorde made its final flight. The supersonic passenger jet was taking off from Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris en-route to New York where it would take its 100 passengers to a cruise ship headed to South America. However, the plane hit a tiny piece of titanium debris, dropped on the runway by a previous plane, that punctured a tire. A piece of the tire hit and ruptured a fuel tank. Leaking fuel then ignited by a spark from the landing gear. The engine was soon engulfed and the engine failed. With only three engines, it was impossible to gain altitude or maintain control. The plane crashed and all 109 passengers and crew were killed along with 4 people on the ground. The Concorde went back into service in November 2001 but a few minor mishaps caused the public to lose confidence in the aircraft and the planes were taken out of service in October 2003. The Bob Symon/Ward Cleaver moral of this story is to clean up your mess.
Here is some video (click here for video) with still photos of the Concorde in flames on its fateful flight.
On This Date in 1832: The first railroad disaster took place. A group of 4 people were invited to see the new marvel of technology. The Granite Railway near Quincy, Massachusetts. The four visitors were put in an empty car for a ride. A cable snapped on the car in which they were riding and the visitors were tossed off a 34 foot cliff, killing one and seriously injuring the others. The Bob Symon/Ward Cleaver moral to this story is you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs. Twenty-Eight years later, just prior to the Civil War, over 30,000 miles of railroad track criss-crossed the nation. OR…if you don’t like that moral, how about this? Don’t ride on strange trains.
Maybe the biggest moral to these stories is not to travel on July 25.
Global Warming: Doom or Fraud? IPCC Scrutinized
July 24, 2008
Update: Here’s an updated post from Nov. 17, 2008 with a report in which the IPCC admits that it has no quality control over its data collection.
A few days ago, a fellow by the name of Andrew Simms from England published a report that said we may have just 100 months to prevent “uncontrolled global warming.” This obviously suggests that man has the ability to control the earth’s temperatures. That in itself is interesting. Here is his report and a description of Andrew Simms provided at the end of the paper
Andrew Simms is policy director of the New Economics Foundation (nef), a founder member of the Green New Deal Group, and co-author of its report: A Green New Deal. The report can be downloaded from nef’s website
Now, much of the Global Warming hysteria is based on the IPCC and their report on the subject. In that report, they used a “hockey stick” graph that supposedly showed the earth’s temperatures over many centuries that featured a sharp rise in the last century. However, that data has been discredited a number of times, yet, it made it into the report. One of the naysayers is David Legate, who published a summary of his opposition.
David R. Legates is Director of the Center for Climatic Research at the University of Delaware and an adjunct scholar with the National Center for Policy Analysis.
To the left is a comparison of graphs. The one that is different from the “hockey stick” is one that includes the data from the “mini ice-age” as well as the period that people claim was the medieval warming period during which Greenland got its name and the Vikings were farming on what is now a frozen tundra. It was always curious to me how the IPCC graph did not reflect both of these periods, particularly the mini-ice age which is well documented and is at least partly responsible for the immigration to America in the 17th and 18th centuries. Note that it suggests it was much warmer during the time of the vikings than today. How can these graphs be so different?
There are a number of scientists who contend that the entire IPCC process is flawed and filled with bias. The claim is that they do not allow independent review, ignore accepted procedures for presenting work by such things as not allowing for peer review, using unpublished reports that have not been scrutinized and ignoring data that does not fit their hypothesis. David Holland published in 2007 a rather lengthy report in 2007 that addressed the inherent flaws with the IPCC and concluded that:
“the IPCC has neither structure nor the necessary independence and supervision of its processes to be acceptable as the monopoly authority on climate science.”
If you care, read this report that was published in Volume 18, Energy and Environment 2007 The link is followed by a brief description of Mr. Holland.
Before we jump on the bandwagon, we need to look at all of the facts. If you read enough, you will find that it’s not “settled” and there is no “consensus” and that the UN panel may have deliberately phonied up data and ignored or rejected any opposition to what they wanted to report. That’s not to say they are necessarily wrong, but it is to say that the IPCC apparently, in the view of many people in the science community, has such a wrong process that some suggest their methods would fail even a freshman science course and that they do not follow accepted protocol of review. If that is the case, then it is not remotely possible for them to claim there is consensus.
To be fair, there are others who are pooh-poohing those who dispute the “hockey stick” graph and they have been busy with reports of their own. Perhaps we need to allow the process of peer review and analysis before we make proclamations like Mr. Simms or even Prince Charles just a few months ago. Here is a response from a group that is using their site to spread their “truth” regarding global warming to people like Holland and Legates whose work they claim is part of a “myth.”
It’s going to be a beautiful day on Thursday in Louisville. Don’t worry about the weather. Highs mid 80′s after lows in the upper 50′s and low 60′s. Rain chances aren’t back until Friday. If you must get find something to worry about, you can check out the national interactive radar (CLICK HERE FOR RADAR) and look at the remnants of Dolly and the rain they are getting in South Texas. The average rainfall in McAllen Texas to this date is something close to 12 inches. McAllen and the surrounding areas may end up with that or more in 24 to 36 hours.
In Alabama, they passed a law restricting the sale of “sex toys” That law was challenged in federal court and the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals took a state’s rights stance and upheld the Alabama law. Apparently there is a provision that medical devices legal. So, one of the plaintiffs has quite cleverly put themselves in compliance with the law by unilaterally declaring that their products for sale are medical devices! But, I don’t think a prescription is required. I’d love to see lawyers for the government prove that the devices are sex toys and not medical devices in open court! Here is a link to the story below.
On This Date In History: The steamboat Eastside was a steamboat on the Chicago River in the early 20th century that was built with known engineering flaws. But, they used it for ferrying passengers from the city to picnic sites on Lake Michigan. It was designed to hold 650 people. On This Date In 1915, some 7000 employees of the Western Electric Company gathered on the dock between LaSalle and Clark streets to board 5 steamers. Now, in 1913, the Eastland was retrofitted to hold 2500 people, but a naval architect that very same year said that “unless structural defects are remedied to prevent listing, there may be a serious accident.” Nevertheless, the boat remained in service and it is estimated that at least 2500 boarded the vessel and perhaps more. There is suspicion that a large group of the passengers got to one side of the boat to pose for a picture. With the big weight shift, an engineer opened one of the ballast tanks but instead of stablizing the boat, it capsized right along the dock. Some 800 died. The bodies were taken to the Second Regiment Armory.
Today, that building is the home of Harpo Studios and The Oprah Winfrey Show. Some of the employees of the studio have reported encounters in the building and claim that it is haunted by the ghosts(see link for more) of the Eastland disaster! So, if you go to see Oprah you may want to consult the Ghost Busters.
On This Date in 1959 Vice President Richard Nixon hosted an event at the American National Exposition in Moscow. Here is a video of how the newsreels of the day covered it.The previous year, the Soviets and Americans agreed to hold exhibitions in each other’s countries in an attempt to encourage cultural exchange and perhaps better understanding. After the Soviets had theirs in New York, the Americans held theirs and it featured a number of modern appliances and such. Nixon took Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev on a tour. As Nixon was showing Khrushchev some new color TVs, the Soviet leader launched into a protest over a resolution recently passed in the US Congress that condemned Soviet “control” over “captive” peoples of Eastern Europe and called on Americans to pray for those people. After that, he dismissed the new technology and sniffed that the Soviets would have all of the same things in a few years. Nixon chastised Khrushchev for being afraid of new ideas and told him, “after all, you don’t know everything.” The exchange escalated with Nikita telling the Vice-President that the only thing he knew was fear of Communism. From that point, they headed into the kitchen of a model home and the debate got even more testy. The exchange became known as the “Kitchen Debate” and is one of the more entertaining but insignificant events of the cold war. However, it does perhaps illustrate the tensions between the two super powers when two of their political leaders turned up the heat in the kitchen.
Hurricane Dolly and Black Bart
July 23, 2008
HERE IS A LINK TO A NATIONAL RADAR THAT ALLOWS YOU TO LOOP AND ZOOM IN TO STREET LEVEL FOR THE DOLLY LANDFALL AT STREET LEVEL OR FOR ANY OTHER PLACE IN THE COUNTRY. ITS KIND INTERESTING. CLICK HERE AND CLICK THEN ON THE INTERACTIVE RADAR.
Dolly is behaving pretty much like I thought it would which is it in intensifying as it is making landfall
about 10 miles north of Port Isabel. Over the past few days it was coming together and all it needed was for the upper low that was messing up a little bit of it’s upper support to move out of the way and then it would really explode. The models were exactly right in moving the upper low out just prior to landfall and the result was that Dolly bumped up to 100 mph. The possibility it would be slightly stronger than the official forecast was always there. I had also speculated that the upper ridge would not build back in fast enough to take Dolly more westward as soon as the official track and that a landfall north of
Brownsville was possible. The boys at the NHC I think recognized both the potential for a little stronger intensity and a farther north track by putting the hurricane warning all the way to Corpus Christi. Anyway, it’s going into perhaps the best place in the country for a landfalling hurricane as outlined in the previous post. The roughest conditions will not affect a huge amount of people.
There is a guy that has come off the African Coast that holds some promise. Here is the NHC Dolly Discussion:
On This Date In History: Do you remember the movie A Christmas Story in which Ralphie wants a BB gun and has visions of shooting Black Bart? It leads one to believe that Bart was some desperado. Well, in the 1870′s there was a dime novel that was loosely based on a true story. The writer called his main character Bartholomew Graham who took the name of “Black Bart” because he wore black close, had black long curly hair and a dense black beard. In real life, there was a man named Charles Bowles was born in England in 1829 and immigrated to New York in the United States a few years later with his family.
As a young man, he changed his name to Boles and in 1849, he and his cousin went to California to seek their fortune in gold. They failed and a few years later, came back. Charley Boles tried again with his cousin and his brother. Not only did they fail again, but the brother and cousin both died from an illness. Charley eventually returned and got married. After spending time in the Union Army and serving with distinction, Charley again went out west, this time to Montana where he set up a mining site that depended on water. Some men from Wells Fargo offered to buy his claim and he refused. The men reacted by cutting off his water and Charley had to abandon his mine but said in a letter to his wife,”I am going to take steps.” No one knew what he meant. The last letter his wife received from him was in 1871.
On This Date in 1878, a Wells Fargo stagecoach was robbed of $400. It wasn’t the first time that a stagecoach from Wells Fargo had been robbed. And each time, a poem that intimated the perpetrator was going to strike again. It was signed “Black Bart”. Bart robbed Wells Fargo stage coaches numerous times. He wore a flour sack on his head and never fired a shot, though on a few occasions, shots were fired at him. There was never any mayhem or extreme violence. In 1883, Bart made a mistake when he left behind a handkerchief. The Pinkerton detectives were able to track the hanky from a laundry mark to an elderly man in San Francisco named Charles Bolton. Bolton admitted that he indeed was Black Bart, but he disputed his reputation as being an outlaw by telling the Pinkertons. “I am a gentleman.” It was also learned that Bolton was really Charles Boles, who years before vowed to “take steps” against the company who forced him to abandon his mining claim. His wife, who had thought he was long since dead, found out that Boles was alive when she learned of his arrest. But, I guess his absence must have been the show stopper because Boles went to prison for a short time and spent the rest of his days quietly in Nevada.
Dolly Becomes A Hurricane; Local Severe Risk Decreases
July 22, 2008
The severe risk has been greatly reduced as a MCV passed to our south and left much of the area in sinking air with drier conditions. Although the front will move through overnight, it will be tough for the atmosphere to recover with enough vigor to produce much activity with the boundary. Not totally out of the question but it’s tough to build a case.
Dolly officially became a hurricane at 5 pm EDT on Tuesday. Winds were suggested to be near 75 mph. Recon data shows a central pressure dropping to 986 mb and the falling tendency should continue. With that in mind, it is forecast to increase to 90 mph with gusts to 115 mph at landfall early Wednesday afternoon. Landfall is expected to be near Brownsville. How it makes such an abrupt turn to the west seems pretty far fetched to me. The idea is that the trofiness digging through the midwest that is helping to influence the storm north will quickly fill back in and turn it west. Hmm. The area of landfall is probably one of the best places for a landfalling hurricane in the nation. To the right of the landfall is the highest winds
and also the greatest storm surge. In this case, to the right is Padre Island. There is no development on the island north of Port Isabel because it’s a national seashore. The island is barrier island that protects the mainland from the storm surge. Further, between Brownsville and Corpus Christi it is sparsely
populated as much of the area is the famous King Ranch. The cows may not be happy but farmers in the area will be glad this time because they are in a drought situation.
You can watch a radar image through this national interactive radar that will allow you to zoom anywhere in the country to street level, which means you can investigate the storm as it makes landfall. Click here for the radar.
To the right is the “spaghetti track” where you can view the different model solutions for the track. Here is the NHC discussion.
Severe Threat Tuesday July 22; Dolly Track and Forecast
July 22, 2008
The big MCS in Iowa and Illinois came down as expected overnight but faded as it
moved into our region. Look for subsidence in its wake to inhibit storm development for much of the day. Late in the day, we heat up very nicely, reload and wait for the next wave along the front. That will elevate the prospects for thunderstorms and the potential for more strong storms. Probably a better shot than the overnight. We’re still on track for a nice couple of days after today.
For an interactive radar that allows you to track storms down to street level from
any part of the country so you can see where they are as they develop west of the viewing area, Click Here. For updates on watches or warnings for our area throughout the day, Click Here. In both cases, simply click the icon pick for what you want, which also has a local live radar.
SEE 5 PM TUESDAY JULY 22 UPDATE FOR HURRICANE DOLLY HERE. YOU WILL FIND LATEST TRACK AS WELL AS LINK TO RADAR LOOP
A couple of things to note about Dolly. First off, with the recent movement due west, the models have come into a closer agreement about the landfall near Brownsville. I like the one that holds it in tact across the Chihuahua Desert all the way to the other side of Baja California and about 70 degree water in the southern reaches of the California Stream. Anyway, the only fly in the ointment would be a bunch of short waves moving through the midwest that should erode the steering ridge a bit that could allow it to move farther north than the forecast. If you note at the bottom of the discussion there is the reference to not relying on exact landfall location and such. They seem to be announcing that more forcefully with this storm. Also, in spite of what you may have heard on national TV, there is still some shearing going on with an upper low in the Bay of Campeche that the satellite clearly shows is impeding the outflow of the southeastern part of the storm. That is progged to move out and so the outflow should become more consistent. The internal structure is getting better and so it should strengthen and they do take it to hurricane status prior to landfall. The question here is whether or not it slows down enough to allow it to get going to its potential which would otherwise be pretty good if it weren’t going to probably run out of Gulf of Mexico to work with. The oil rigs in the Gulf shouldn’t be adversely affected too much as long as the storm behaves itself and goes where it is supposed to.
Severe Threat Early Morning July 22
July 22, 2008
For a national interactive for street level capable tracking of storms approaching Louisville or any storms anywhere in the nation CLICK HERE.
We had the remnant of an MCS or an outflow from an MCS come through midday on Monday. That brought a
few storms that were a little bit of a problem but nothing like Sunday night. They put the breaks on the temperatures which had already gotten to the low 90′s by 1 pm. We were well on our way to the upper 90′s. The clouds didn’t get out of the way until late afternoon and we promptly went up close to 90 again. There is plenty of heat and moisture in place to support the maintanance of another MCS that will
move down into our region. They probably will be starting to weaken by the time they get to Louisville but they still may be
kinda rough. Hence, the moderate risk is just to the west and north of Louisville. Tuesday, the front is being real slow so the wave I spoke of yesterday for last night moving along the front on Monday night, probably won’t get here until Tuesday afternoon after a good day of heating. So we may do this again on Tuesday before we get some quieter, drier and less hot conditions for the middle of the week.
Was John Dillinger Really Done In By The G-Men?
July 22, 2008
For a more detailed and updated version of this post, CLICK HERE…includes rare wanted poster.
On This Date In History: In the late 1920′s and 1930′s, lots of gangsters roamed the countryside. Public Enemy Number One was determined by the Bureau of Investigations, which in 1935 became the FBI. On July 22, 1934 the Bureau gunned down Public Enemy Number 1 John Dillinger. The Bureau got a tip from brothel operator Anna Sage who gave information concerning Dillinger’s whereabouts under the threat of deportation to her native Romania on morals charges. Sage is the original woman in red, which has been also called the lady in red. The story is that she attended the Biograph Theatre in Chicago and when she emerged, she was identified from her red dress and thus the man whom she was with was to be considered Dillinger. She came out and the agents promptly shot her date. That was that, the headlines were trumpeted across the nation and the photo above was circulated to prove that Dillinger was indeed dead.
But….a supposed authority on the history of American Crime, Jay Robert Nash, says the FBI got the wrong guy. Nash says the man who was killed outside of the theatre was really a patsy. James Lawrence was considered a low level thug who was used by Sage and a crooked Indiana detective to unwittingly stand in for Dillinger. If you notice, the dead guy looks similar to the Dillinger photo on the left, but to me he looks a bit more like Jackie Gleason than the lean looking photo of the alive version of Public Enemy Number 1. The FBI claimed that Dillinger had plastic surgery and that explains any discrepancies. But the Cook County autopsy report was supposedly lost for 30 years. After it was found, the claim is that the dead guy is not the same height or weight of Dillinger. Dillinger had blue eyes whereas the corpse had brown eyes. The corpse was missing a distinguishing birthmark and had more teeth than the notorious bank-robber. Evidence showed the dead guy had a rheumatic heart. Had Dillinger had such a condition, he would have been prevented from being in the Navy.
The FBI, of course, stands by their story and claims the record, including fingerprints, support the truth that the G-Man got his man!!! I dunno…but I do know that Dillinger was never spotted again. Seems to me that if he were alive, it would be unlikely that he “went straight.” But then again, the guy was dead, they couldn’t interrogate him to determine if he was in fact Dillinger and they certainly couldn’t read him his Miranda rights. Back in those days it was “shoot first and ask questions later”….kinda like that good neighbor in Texas. Anyway, if you see a very old man that looks like the alive version of Dillinger, call the authorities immediately.