I gotta be honest…I haven’t really paid too much attention to the weather but, it would appear to me that what happened Tuesday was that our moisture flow was probably cut off somewhat by big storms down south. Consequently, we didn’t get as much rain as the computers or the HPC was expecting. But, it was a nice steady rain and most folks got over an inch. Now, the boundary should slip through today and with clouds and colder air, it will be pretty lousy. There will be some light rain early Wednesday but that’s about it. For the balance of the week, we remain in the bucket with colder than average temperatures, but nothing overly extreme.
Odds and Ends
Well, let’s see what is going on that you may have missed. Well, the ice growth at the North Pole continues (Dec 3 NSIDC News), though at a reduced rate from the extreme growth seen over the past few months. Nevertheless, it looks like Santa won’t have to have the elves make him a large red
scuba gear outfit. I suspect the reports that come out in the press will emphasize that the amount of ice at this time is less than the 30 year average. It could just as easily have been reported that the growth is substantially larger than last year’s record low and then ask the question as to whether it is a trend. I seriously doubt that you will see that. Also, I doubt that you will see the articles from this past spring that there were fears that the polar ice cap at the north end would completely disappear. When you read the article, you find buried several paragraphs down that one guy gave a small percentage chance of that being the case…yet that was the headline. And it was wrong….just like $200 a barrel oil was wrong. You never hear retractions on stuff like that…I suppose you are supposed to just forget about it.
The Dixie Chicks are being sued with Natalie Maines being prominently mentioned. Seems, that around the time the Chicks were causing a ruckous with their well thought out, researched and substantiated protests against the Iraq war, the Chicks were protesting against the arrest of the men who were convicted in the death of 3 eight year old boys in West Memphis, AR. They didn’t just attend the rally, but the charge is that Ms. Maines claimed that one of the boys’ step father is the real killer. That man is suing for defamation. In order for this to actually come about, a jury must then consider the source to be credible. I mean, comics are generally immune from defamation suits because the environment is generally known to be a source of jokes. This lawsuit assumes that Ms. Maines is not a joke.
The War on Christmas stories are all over the place. Most recently, some guy in Washington went to the state capital and decided to take advantage of the egalitarian rules regarding displays on public property to put up a sign next to a Nativity Scene that reads, “There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.” Ah yes….Peace on Earth Good Will Toward Men!! (a different take on it) Remember I brought you the controversy about the Christmas Boat Parade becoming the Holiday Boat Parade and my thoughts inspired by Snow White. But, I dunno about this one. I’m not sure that this guy’s sign qualifies as a religious symbol or display. This writer takes stock at a number of battles going on around the country.
On This Date in History: On this date in 1896, Alfred Nobel died. Nobel had made a vast fortune for his development of modern explosives. Nytroglycerine was a known high explosive but it was very unstable. This
instability made it very difficult to work with as a slight shaking might cause it to explode. So, Nobel worked on trying to find a more suitable substitute. When experimenting with high explosives, mistakes could be deadly. He had several accidents. One in 1864 leveled his building and killed his brother. Leaders in Stockholm forbade any more nitroglycerine experiments within the city limits. So, Nobel moved his operations to a barge on Lake Maralen. I bet fishing boats didn’t come too close. It was there that Nobel figured out that a mixture of nitro and kieselguhr made a paste that could be shaped into long cylinders and handled safely. He also invented a detonator which he called a blasting cap. From a lighted fuse, the blasting cap would ignite what he called dynamite,which was a term with its root from the Greek word “dynamis” which means power. Nobel got the patents for everything associated with dynamite and became a very wealthy man.
But, he apparently had worked so hard that he was in very poor physical condition. It appears he was rather lonely as he posted an ad in a newspaper that said, “Wealthy, highly-educated elderly gentleman seeks lady of mature age, versed in languages, as secretary and supervisor of household.” The woman who won the sweepstakes. the ad was an Austrian countess. She worked for him for a year or so and then returned to Austria where she married someone else, but they remained friends. She probably influenced him as she opposed the arms race between nations, even writing a book called Lay Down Your Arms that spoke out against the evils of war. Now, I had always heard that Nobel had thought that his invention of dynamite would mean the end of war. But, I have not found anything credible to support that. Instead, it is suggested that Nobel felt badly for how the explosives that he invented had a negative effect. While it was a more efficient method for construction of things like tunnels and foundations in rock, its use in warfare vastly increased the violence and carnage of war. So, it was this guilt that led him to decree in his will that his fortune would invested and the proceeds “annually distributed in the form of prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind.” In keeping with his wishes, on this date in 1901, Nobel Prizes for physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and peace.
Nobel must have had some fortune because to this day, the award recipients receive several hundred thousand dollars along with the title. In my view, the peace prize has become more politicized which has taken some of the luster off.