Weather Bottom Line: Basically, we have a little front that will be moving through on Friday morning. That will reinforce the cold air for awhile. The boundary sorta gets hung up in our area so that may provide sufficient lift for precipitation. Maybe some nuisance snow but that should be it. What is more interesting and something that you should be aware of is for Monday night or early Tuesday morning. The 12Z Thurs GFS is advertising .45 inches of liquid precipitation at 114 hours and 120 hours. That means from about 1AM to 7 AM Tuesday. If that comes true, and it may not, then we’d get perhaps sleet that may turn to snow to finish. I don’t really see a freezing rain sounding from my quick look but I suppose that could quite possibly unfold…just because I don’t see it now, doesn’t mean that it won’t show up in the end. Either way, right now, I’d say enjoy the milder conditions for the second half of the weekend and then be prepared for a mess on Monday night.
Secretary of State To Take a Pay Cut: When Senator Clinton takes over as the new Secretary of State, she will get a little less money than the current Secretary, Condoleezza Rice. It’s not that Ms. Clinton wants to do her part to reduce the deficit, its more of a Constitutional issue. I wondered a week or so ago how they were going to get around this issue. I had thought that it would be left to bloggers to scream about but that it would simply be ignored, as the Constitution has been ignored by previous Presidents; most notably perhaps, President Jefferson and President Lincoln. It’s known as the emolument clause and was probably designed to keep elected officials from cashing in on Presidential appointments….perhaps a payback for support…or for voting for a pay raise for an office before you get the job. Governor Blogadevich wouldn’t like this clause. It says that if you have been elected to a term in office, you cannot accept an appointment to another government post during your term of your elected office if that new appointment has had an increase in salary during your term. It has also been interpreted to mean that you can’t take a job that pays more than your current elected position but that seems to not be the case. Now, there was a recent $4700 a year raise in the Secretary of State salary. So, to get around the former interpretation, Senator Clinton will now receive $184,600, which is still a $12,600 pay increase for Ms. Clinton over next year’s Senate salary of $174,000.
emolument n [ME, fr. L emolumentum, lit., miller’s fee, fr emolere to grind up] : the product (as salary or fees) of an employment
U.S. Constitution – Article 1 Section 6
Article 1 – The Legislative Branch
Section 6 – Compensation
(The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States.) (The preceding words in parentheses were modified by the 27th Amendment.) They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.
No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.
On This Date in History: Radio waves had been discovered but not completely understood at the turn of the
century. It was thought by many that the curvature of the earth would make transmission and reception of radio over long distances impossible. But, Guglielmo Marconi thought that radio waves would simply follow the curvature of the earth. Turns out both were sorta right.
Marconi had studied physics and got into the experiments of Heinrich Hertz. In 1894, his own experiments resulted in a transmission of 1.5 miles. But, no one in Italy seemed interested. So, he went to England and in 1896, his company regularly sent messages over the air for distances often farther than 10 miles. In 1899, he successfully transmitted across the English Channel…some 30 miles at its shortest, I believe. In a great public relations move, he boarded a ship, the SS Ponce, and set offshore Sandy Hook, NJ where the America Cup Yacht Race took place that year. He transmitted the results directly to New York. That got him some notice that resulted in financial support from many places, not the least of which was the Big Apple.
However, his company still struggled as he set up a transmitting station in Poldhu, Cornwall in England and a reception site at St. Johns, Newfoundland. The transmitter was powerful and the reception site had a whole bunch of giant, kite-like, antennae to try to capture the waves. The story told was that on December 12, 1901 Marconi received radio messages from England while he sat and listened in Newfoundland. The distance was about 2200 miles or about 2120 miles more than the previous record. Talk about shattering a record. So, how did it work? Well, as it turns out, the experts were right…radio waves do head out into space…that is unless you have an ionosphere, which the earth does. That layer of the atmosphere will reflect waves of certain frequency and legnth back to the earth, making it possible to transmit over long distances. So, Marconi was kinda right also. Trouble is, analysis of the experiment raised and continues to raise questions.
First off, Marconi knew what to listen for. He was simply looking for a “click click” which is the morse code for the letter “S.” Now, he had to have gotten all sorts of static. How he was able to decipher two clicks amidst all of that fuzz is a legitimate question. There apparently were no witnesses either. If you go out and about with an AM radio today, you will find that you can pick up a strong AM signal, like WHAS radio, much farther away at night than during the day. When I drive to North Carolina, I lose WHAS somewhere south of Lexington near the Kentucky/Tennessee border during the day. But, I’ve picked it up near Charlotte, NC at night. There is no sun to provide all sorts of radiation “noise.” Marconi did his feat three times with the first just after noon and the receptions were a few hours later. Some say his wavelength also was improperly long…that shorter waves would be necessary. So, explanations arise anywhere from Marconi having a vivid imagination, he psychologically talked himself into believing he heard what he wanted and was expecting to hear or he was really transmitting on a shorter wave length than he thought.
Marconi was forced to stand up to his critics and he set up a demonstration on board a ship, the SS Philadelphia,
which took him west from England. He successfully transmitted messages about 1600 miles…but he did so at night. During the day the signals only went about half as far. But, that was better than a carrier pigeon. And he got some more good PR from a disaster. Marconi had set up wireless transmitters and receivers on either side of the Atlantic to send messages to ships who could relay messages to others. Most of the time, it was done at night. When the Titanic went down, Marconi’s machine was credited with saving the survivors as it signaled the nearby Carpathia to come to the rescue. It is said that the radio operator in the United States that first received the message of the Titanic disaster was a young David Sarnoff, who later became the founder and president of RCA….Radio Corporation of America.
There are all sorts of arguments about Marconi. There is the argument that Marconi didn’t discover anything that Nikola Tesla had already discovered in 1893. Then there is the other arguments that what he claimed to have done was impossible. Some of that may have come about due to Marconi’s allegiance to the Facist regime rising in Italy, which of course recognized his greatness. Mussolini made him President of the Royal Academy of Italy,which made him part of the Facist Grand Council. His politics and patent disputes with other notable physicists like Tesla and Hertz, may have tarnished the historical reputation of Marconi. And while there are many questions that may never get answered, it was his perserverence and bold agressiveness at developing the radio field that perhaps should be most appreciated…even though he hooked up with the wrong team in Italy.