Archive for February, 2009

Offer A Sub To Everyone! Cold Weekend
February 28, 2009

Fulton a Little Ahead of his Time

Fulton a Little Ahead of his Time

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                On This Date in History:  Robert Fulton is best known in school books for his development of the steamboat.  He did not invent the steamboat but simply came up with a more practical version on August 17, 1807 that first churned up the waters of the Hudson river.  The first steamboat had comem about years before in the same year as the American Constitutution. On August 22, 1787 brass worker John Fitch demonstrated his 12 paddle steamboat on the Delaware River in Philadelphia.  Some who witnessed the event said it looked like a bug crawling across the water.  Fitch didn’t have any money to further develop his invention but said that “the day will come when some more powerful man will get fame and riches from my invention.”  Fitch was quite the prophet as Fulton was the one who cashed in.

1806 Manuscript

1806 Manuscript

But, Fulton had been toying with all sorts of watercraft and on this date in 1801, Robert Fulton was given the chance to demonstrate his submarine to Napoleon Bonaparte.  The emperor had been having a terrible time with pesky bullies of the high seas, the British.  But, Napoleon wasn’t just going to go into the project blind.  He took the carrot and stick approach as he offered Fulton 400,000 francs if he sank a British vessel with his new weapon of war.  The submarine, called the Nautilus,  was 21 feet long and either a two man crew or Fulton and a two man crew.  It has sails for it to move on the surface and a hand cranked propeller for underwater propulsion.  He also had developed a torpedo of sorts.  Well, try as he might to grab the 400,000 franc carrot that Napoleon dangled in front of him, Fulton failed to sink a single British ship of any kind all summer long and Napoleon lost interest.

Fulton's Sub Design Very Similar to Modern Subs

Fulton's Sub Design Very Similar to Modern Subs

What’s an inventor to do?  Why go to the competition of course!  Fulton then took his machine across the channel to the British.  They thought that the submarine was too impractical but they did take an interest in the torpedo.  So, they took Fulton out with a full expedition in order to test the torpedo against a French ship.    Ships were attacked but each time, the torpedo blew up harmlessly next to the French vessels.  In 1805, the government funded an experiment with a new and improved torpedo but all that did was blow up the ship on which the experiment took place.  That was the end of that.  So, what’s an inventor to do?  Why go to the United States Congress of course!  In 1810, Fulton got a congressional appropriation of $5000 to continue his testing, to no avail.  By that time, Fulton had already started cashing in on the steamboat.  But, Fulton did lay the ground work for submarine naval warfare down the road.  His design, aside from the sails, looks remarkably similar to modern subs.   About a century later, the Germans had improved on his submarine idea and the development of torpedoes to much success in the First World War.  And the horizontal rudders that Fulton had introduced with his 1801 submarine for depth control is a standard feature on all modern submarines.  I had always thought that the name Nautilus, which was used for the first nuclear powered submarine, was the brainchild of Jules Verne and his Captain Nemo of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.  But, Verne published his book in 1870, well after Fulton’s underwater craft…so Fulton should get credit for that too!

NAM Accum Snow Through Sunday Evening

NAM Accum Snow Through Sunday Evening GFS Accum Snow Through Sunday Evening

Weather Bottom Line:  The story is pretty much the same with our area generally in a sorta half donut hole.  The main shortwave still comes down from say St. Louis to Paducah. The heaviest snow should be well to our south and then to our east.  Now, the GFS wants’ to toss out a half inch of snow on Saturday night.  The NAM keeps us dry the whole time.  I still think its unlikely that our area gets nothing but that liklihood increases to the likely category for the northern half of the viewing area.  A dusting of sorts won’t be out of the question for late Saturday.  I  think my original assessment that this could be a bit colder and more extended than the pervasive opinion is probably in the cards.  Upper 30’s to near 40 on Saturday low to mid 30’s on Sunday and probably still in the 30’s on Monday and I betcha we’re in the teens on Monday morning.  A gradual warm up to the mid 40’s on Tuesday and then a trend toward milder air for the middle of the week, though it may be a bit damp.  It’s getting pretty close to game time for this so its not real likely for a big change but, if the guy coming down from the northwest is some 75 miles farther to the east, then we may get something more worthwhile.  But, as I said, that is not a real good bet at this point as I find no data that supports that scenario at all.  The Japanese model and the Canadian model have a bit more precip filled in around the state but Louisville is still in a semi donut.

Diagram of Nautilus

Diagram of Nautilus

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US Pork Barrel Weather Funding; Cold Weekend
February 27, 2009

Uncle Sam Has Funded Pork Barrels for Years

Uncle Sam Has Funded Pork Barrels for Years

1935 Texas Dust Storm, Proof That Droughts are Not New

1935 Texas Dust Storm, Proof That Droughts are Not New

On This Date in History: These days, every time there is a lack of rain in an area of the country, stories start surfacing about some who claim its an example of Global Warming.  The truth is that droughts have happened throughout the history of time.   It’s funny how when the Global Warming talk comes up, even more recent history is ignored.  The Dust Bowl years represented a pretty long time frame of below average rainfall and in conjunction with poor farming techniques, caused a disaster and helped contribute to a long economic depression.  So, these periods of dry weather over an extended period are not new.  In fact, going back through time, mankind has tried to invent a way to make it rain.  Even today, there is research going on in cloud seeding efforts to try and control the rain.  The results have been inconclusive.

In recent days, we’ve seen the “stimulus bill” in which there was much criticism over spending on projects that have been labled “pork barrell.”  This type of charge is not new and I wonder what the masses thought on this date in 1891, when the United States Department of Agriculture hired and funded a special agent.  His job was to make it rain. 

19th Century Rain Making Guns

19th Century Rain Making Guns

Now, there was a theory floating about that producing big noises in the sky would make it rain.  It was called the “concussion method” and the idea was that gunpowder explosions in the sky would create rain.   They called the process “air quakes.”  The notion was brought forth by Edward Powers who in 1880 wrote that in wars, often when there was a heavy cannonade, significant rain soon followed.  He said that the jarring of the air combined with smoke caused a reaction with “nuclei or mechanical retaining points.”   He also suggested that the atmospheric pressure was affected by the concussion and the buoyancy of the gases and heat given off by the explosion forced a rising of the air which caused a disturbance.  Somehow, he then deduced that the explosions created electricity and friction “producing polarization of the earth and sky…inducing…other conditions necessary for storm formation, electrical manifestation being a constant forerunner and concomitant of storms…”  There were other theories of rain making but General Robert St. George Dyrenforth said he didn’t understand those but, as an old soldier, he too had observed copius amounts of rain following cannon battles.  So that’s the one he went along with and got the backing of Illinois Senator Charles B. Farwell.  Just like today, all you need to do is convince a politician that you deserve government money and bingo..into the budget you go.  As I’ve pointed out many times on these here pages…what we see today is nothing new.  I guess no one ever thought that maybe it would have rained whether there was a battle or not.  Nope…it had to be the cannon fire!  Never mind the times it did not rain after a battle…just like some ignore the droughts of the past today.

This Rain Making Lab Was on Rails
This Rain Making Lab Was on Rails

In 1890, Congress appropriated about $9,000 to test out the theory and hired Dyrenforth to do the deed. Experimentation began in 1891 at c Ranch in Andrews County near Midland, Texas.  The experimentation continued throughout 1891 and Governor James Stephen Hogg of Texas was so excited he wrote a letter to Texas politician John Dix announcing his intent to observe the action.  When Hogg found out that Dyrenforth had returned to Washington, he added a note at the bottom of the letter suggesting that the experiments continue in the Southwestern part of Texas, which they did through 1892 near San Antonio.

Chinese Used Rain Making Cannon at 2008 Olympics

Chinese Used Rain Making Cannon at 2008 Olympics

Well, Dyrenforth piled up enough munitions to start a small war.   He fired cannons into the sky, attached explosive to kites and did anything else he could think of to send ripples through the atmosphere to create a cloud burst.  Reportedly, one time it did rain.  The rest of the time, he came up dry.  One would think that over a long period of time more than once at least a rain shower would show up on its own, but apparently the General wasn’t that lucky.   One editor reported that “he attacked front and rear, by the right and left flank.  But the sky remained clear as the complexion of a Saxon maid.”  Dyrenforth’s official job title at the Department of Agriculture was pluviculturist.  That’s the governmental term for rainmaker.  The people of Texas came up with their own title for him…General Dryhenceforth. 

Severe Threat Through 7AM Friday Morning

Severe Threat Through 7AM Friday Morning

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Weather Bottom Line:  Really a kinda interesting situation getting going here for the weekend.  The severe threat for early Friday morning is limited and mainly west with gusty winds the primary threat around here, but I suspect the time of night will probably limit

Japan Model 24hr Precip 7AM Sat to 7AM Sun

Japan Model 24hr Precip 7AM Sat to 7AM Sun

the ferocity somewhat.  I’ve got details at the bottom.  Now, this time, I’ve gone around the world to bring you weather depictions.  I’ve got the Canadians, the Brits and the Japanese to go along with the GFS and NAM models.  All of them have snow near but not over us.  There are two schools of thought.  One is that the front comes through and a shortwave dives down and brings snow from say St. Louis to Paducah.  Then there is the other idea that as the shortwave digs to the base of the trof, it swings around and brings snow from say

NAM Snow Accum Thru Sun Eve

NAM Snow Accum Thru Sun Eve

Lexington through the eastern part of the state.  The NAM is pretty bullish on this scenario.  Now, I just don’t think that the models are smart enough to put such a donut hole over us.  So, while the heaviest snow in this go-round of the models is close but not here, I just would not count on there being nothing.  Let’s say a half inch or so and maybe even some rain going to snow…or like I said yesterday…similar to last Saturday.  The difference between what I said yesterday  and now is that the data suggests the event is on Saturday rather than Saturday night and Sunday morning. 

UKMet Precip Through 7AM Sun

UKMet Precip Through 7AM Sun

It’s also coming together temperature wise pretty much as I thought it might which is in between the milder forecasts that we saw on tv earlier this week and the extreme cold showing up on some of the earlier models.  I would suggest preparing for a mild start on Friday but to be

Canadian Precip Sun AM

Canadian Precip Sun AM

ready for blustery conditions for the afternoons with temperatures in the upper 30’s.  We’re probably looking at the 30’s for highs on Saturday and Sunday and maybe up to the low 40’s on Monday.  Generally cloudy conditions will prevail Friday through the weekend with maybe a break coming on Monday afternoon or so.  We start a gradual warm up by Tuesday into midweek.

  DAY 1 CONVECTIVE OUTLOOK 
   NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
   0633 PM CST THU FEB 26 2009
  
   VALID 270100Z – 271200Z
  
   …THERE IS A SLGT RISK OF SVR TSTMS FROM IL TO NERN TX…
  
   …MID MS VALLEY TO NERN TX…
   
  

SVR Wind Threat Thru 7AM Friday

SVR Wind Threat Thru 7AM Friday

 WELL DEFINED UPPER VORT MAX IS SHIFTING EAST ALONG THE MN/IA BORDER
   WITH TRAILING SHORTWAVE TROUGH EXTENDING SWD ALONG THE KS/MO BORDER.
    LARGE SCALE ASCENT REMAINS FOCUSED PRIMARILY WITHIN WARM ADVECTION
   ZONE ALONG/NORTH OF RETREATING WARM FRONT WHERE EXPANDING
   PRECIPITATION SHIELD IS SPREADING ACROSS THE GREAT LAKES.  ALTHOUGH
   ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS ARE EMBEDDED WITHIN THIS COOLER
   PRECIPITATION…STRONGEST CONVECTIVE UPDRAFTS ARE FOCUSED ALONG
   ADVANCING COLD FRONT FROM WCNTRL IL…SWWD INTO NERN OK.  THIS TREND
   SHOULD CONTINUE THROUGH THE NIGHT AS MORE MEANINGFUL INSTABILITY
   EXISTS SOUTH OF I-70 OVER MO…PARTICULARLY SWRN MO INTO SERN OK/WRN
   AR.  THUNDERSTORMS FROM SGF TO FSM ARE INTENSIFYING WITHIN THIS
   HIGHER ZONE OF INSTABILITY AND STRONG DEEP LAYER SHEAR.  00Z
   SOUNDING FROM SGF DEPICTS STEEP LAPSE RATE ENVIRONMENT…7-7.5
   C/KM…WITH ENOUGH BUOYANCY FOR ROBUST UPDRAFTS…MUCAPE ROUGHLY
   1500 J/KG.  ALTHOUGH STRONG CONVERGENCE ALONG THE COLD FRONT WILL
   ENHANCE LINEAR DEVELOPMENT…STORM MODE REMAINS SOMEWHAT DISCRETE
   ACROSS THIS REGION SUGGESTING SUPERCELLS ARE POSSIBLE FOR THE NEXT
   FEW HOURS AT LEAST.  WITH TIME CONVECTION SHOULD DEVELOP SWD ALONG
   WIND SHIFT OVER SERN OK INTO PORTIONS OF NERN TX.  A BROKEN SQUALL
   LINE WITH EMBEDDED SUPERCELLS SHOULD THEN PROGRESS ACROSS MO/AR INTO
   SRN IL LATER THIS EVENING INTO THE OVERNIGHT HOURS WITH LARGE HAIL
   AND DAMAGING WINDS.  ISOLATED TORNADOES CAN NOT BE RULED OUT WITH
   SUPERCELL STRUCTURES OVER SRN MO INTO AR…ESPECIALLY THIS EVENING
   BEFORE CONVECTIVE MODE BECOME A BIT MORE LINEAR IN NATURE.
  
   ..DARROW.. 02/27/2009

GFS SnowAccum Through Sun Eve

GFS SnowAccum Through Sun Eve

A Short Memory Can Be Fatal; One Warm Day
February 26, 2009

1993 Damage Was Extensive...nearly catastrophic

1993 Damage Was Extensive...nearly catastrophic

  Did you Forget that on This date in History, the World Trade Center was bombed?   Everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing on Sept. 11, 2001…but the first attempt to bring down the towers happened on February 26, 1993.  The above photo is from the ATF files of the incident. Nice hole, huh? I suspect the bad guys got closer to undermining the integrity of the substructure than we were led to believe. No matter, they came back again 8 years later after we forgot about their intentions. While everyone remembers Sept. 11, 2001 and the events of the day I sometimes wonder if we remember enough that we take seriously the possibility that they will come back again, just as they did following their near-miss of February 26, 1993.  With all of the justified pre-occupation with the economy, how certain are you that the new administration is as vigilante as it can be to thwart any more attacks?  Or perhaps, do you think that there will be no more attacks?

 

West Virginia Town Wiped Out

West Virginia Town Wiped Out

On This Date in 1972 a cascade of water funnelled down Buffalo Creek in Logan County, West Virginia. 4000 homes and buildings in 17 towns were washed away and at least 118 people lost their lives. The culprit was a rather ironic foe. The irony lay in that the killer was also the lifeline to many of those who died. (Photo Gallery-Huntington Herald-Dispatch)   

Debris Piled Up At Bridge

Debris Piled Up At Bridge

The Buffalo Mining Company was one of a number of companies exploiting West Virginia’s greatest natural asset (aside from its beauty) which is coal. Much of the state’s wealth and economy is based on coal. But a problem with coal mining is what to do with the wastes. If you put them on a mountain, you get landslides and if you put them in a valley, you spoil the creek or river. The great idea of the Buffalo group was to build a dam. Actually, it was a series of three dams. Because of the type of dam they were, they weren’t really regulated much. There really wasn’t much of an engineering study done or anything. The waste from coal mining is inherently unstable and makes for a lousy dam. The first dam gave way, putting pressure on the second dam which failed and the huge amount of water spilling down caused the main dam to collapse.

buffcreek1When you look at the steep terrain of West Virginia, it makes you wonder, “what were they thinking?” It’s one of those things in which it seems so obvious that using unstable material in such an area that a three-year-old could figure it out that it wouldn’t work. To say that its an example of corporate greed is probably a bit over-the-top as I’m sure those with the company didn’t want that to happen. Even if you have cynical view of the corporation, from their fiscal standpoint, it cost them a huge amount of money. However, the company was a subsidiary of the Pittston Mining Company and that company had a history of shabby safety practices. So, it would be fair to say that it appears that the company’s saving money on safety issues was the root cause of the disaster. But, given what it cost them from lawsuits, lost revenues, fines and other costs it seems that a greedy fellow would have prevented that from happening in order that they may keep more of their money. The result was from short sighted, stupid business practices and its a shame that we have to have government watch dogs to force some businesses to do what is not only smart from a corporate standpoint, but the right thing to do from a human perspective and for a business that relies on the efforts of their fellow citizens of the United States of America for their success.

Canadian Model Pretty Aggressive With Snow Sat Night and Sunday
Canadian Model Pretty Aggressive With Snow Sat Night and Sunday
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
NAM 12Z Sun Has Critical Thickness Way South

NAM 12Z Sun Has Critical Thickness Way South

Weather Bottom Line:  The story line generally remains the same with a bit of an update.  It’s not out of the question that we push 70 on Thursday.  The cold front doesn’t really come through until Friday morning.  The best chance for rain and t’storms shows up well after sundown Thursday night and that will inhibit severe weather chances.  That’s fine with me.  The mercury takes a tumble throughout the day on Friday so a mild morning may surprise you coming home from work if you don’t have a coat.  Low 40’s on Saturday with perhaps some light showers.  Now, Saturday night and early Sunday, several models insist on a little snow.  The trof is digging down as mentioned yesterday but the key will be a developing low.  The Canadian wants to shoot a guy around through the Dixie states and throw some moisture over us.  It is the most aggressive with snow.  The GFS sends a lead shortwave our way and also brings some snow but in far lighter amounts.  As the trof digs all the way into South Alabama, a strong short develops on all models.  It moves up the east coast and brings
Canadian Still has -13 850 temps on Sunday Evening

Canadian Still has -13 850 temps on Sunday Evening

a potentially pretty significant snow storm in the northeast.  The severity willl depend on how far off the New England coast it is.  I’m sure you’ll be hearing about this on the national news this weekend.  That is for early next week.  The Canadian model makes that low so intense it still drags down pretty cold air…the European goes along with this for Sunday into Monday before becoming milder by Tuesday.    The Canadian wants to extend the cold air for an extra day.  What I suspect we will see is not just below normal temperatures from Friday afternoon through Tuesday  with 30’s on Sunday and possibly Monday for highs.  There will be a chance for most likely light snow on Sunday morning.  Maybe something similar to what we had last

Severe Threat Thu/Fri Mainly South

Severe Threat Thu/Fri Mainly South

Saturday.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see a morning start on Monday in the teens at least.  It’s still possible that it may in fact be somewhat colder as some of the data wants to bring 850 temperatures as low as -14.  But, the colder weather will not be especially long lasting.    As I said yesterday, my guess is that the numbers will be somewhere between the extreme cold and the somewhat warmer, but still below average, numbers showing up still on several tv outlets.  Either way, we do warm up by midweek and it may stick around for a few days after that. 

   DAY 2 CONVECTIVE OUTLOOK 
   NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
   1156 PM CST WED FEB 25 2009
  
   VALID 271200Z – 281200Z
  
   …THERE IS A SLGT RISK OF SVR TSTMS FROM THE LWR MS VLY INTO THE
   SRN APLCNS…
  
   …SYNOPSIS…
   BROAD…LOW AMPLITUDE…MULTI-STREAM CYCLONIC FLOW WILL EVOLVE OVER
   THE SERN QUARTER OF THE NATION OVER THE NEXT TWO DAYS AS A SERIES OF
   DISTURBANCES NOW OVER THE WRN AND N CNTRL U.S. CONTINUE GENERALLY
   ESE.  BY 12Z FRI/27…LEAD IMPULSE NOW OVER THE DAKOTAS EXPECTED TO
   HAVE REACHED MI/IL…WITH ASSOCIATED COLD FRONT TRAILING SW THROUGH
   WRN KY/TN AND BECOMING STATIONARY OVER SRN AR/NRN LA AND NE TX.
  
   AS THIS OCCURS…CURRENT SATELLITE DATA SUPPORT GFS AND ECMWF FCSTS
   SHOWING THAT A SEPARATE DISTURBANCE WILL EMERGE IN BRANCH OF FLOW
   ROUNDING BASE OF STRONG UPR LOW NOW OVER THE PACIFIC NW.  AS THIS
   FEATURE AND ITS ASSOCIATED UPR DIFLUENCE APPROACH THE SRN PLNS EARLY
   SAT/28…IT APPEARS PROBABLE THAT A WAVE WILL EVOLVE OVER STALLED
   FRONT IN NRN LA.  THIS WAVE SHOULD MOVE ENE TO NEAR BHM BY 12Z SAT.
  
   …LWR MS VLY TO SRN APLCNS…
   EXPECT ONGOING CONVECTIVE BAND LINGERING FROM DAY 1 WILL PERSIST
   THROUGH AT LEAST LATE MORNING ALONG/AHEAD OF AFOREMENTIONED COLD
   FRONT OVER PARTS OF THE TN VLY.  SLIGHTLY ELEVATED WAA/MOISTURE
   TRANSPORT…AND 40-50 KT CLOUD LAYER SHEAR…SHOULD BE SUFFICIENT
   FOR AT LEAST SCTD SUSTAINED/POSSIBLY SVR STORMS.  HAIL SHOULD BE THE
   MAIN THREAT…WITH WIND POTENTIAL LIKELY REMAINING ISOLD GIVEN
   EXPECTED PERSISTENCE OF NEAR-SFC STABLE LAYER.
  
   DURING THE DAY FRI…EXPECT ADDITIONAL DEVELOPMENT WITH SFC HEATING
   ALONG OUTFLOW BOUNDARY AND/OR STALLING FRONT ASSOCIATED WITH MORNING
   ACTIVITY.  A FEW SFC-BASED STORMS WILL BE POSSIBLE.
   RESIDUAL/ELEVATED MIXED LAYER WILL MAINTAIN CONSIDERABLE CIN DURING
   THIS PERIOD.  THIS SHOULD RESULT IN A FAIRLY SHARP SRN AND WRN
   CUT-OFF TO THE STORMS.  BUT AMPLE /50 KT/ DEEP WLY SHEAR…MOISTURE
   /MID 60S F SFC DEWPOINTS/…AND LOW LVL CONVERGENCE SHOULD BE
   PRESENT TO SUPPORT SUSTAINED SUPERCELLS. DEEP FORCING FOR ASCENT
   WILL…HOWEVER…REMAIN WEAK UNTIL UPR IMPULSE APPROACHES LATE IN
   THE DAY.
  
   DEEP UVV AND LOW LVL CONVERGENCE SHOULD INCREASE ACROSS THE LWR MS
   VLY E INTO AL AND GA FRI NIGHT/EARLY SAT AS CYCLOGENESIS OCCURS OVER
   NRN LA.  COMBINATION OF INCREASING ASCENT WITH CONTINUED SFC-BASED
   MOISTURE INFLOW AND STRENGTHENING SWLY LLJ MAY SUPPORT OVERNIGHT
   STRENGTHENING OF STORMS…AND POSSIBLE DEVELOPMENT OF ONE OR TWO
   CONVECTIVE CLUSTERS.  THESE SYSTEMS SHOULD MOVE GENERALLY E…WITH
   EMBEDDED STORMS POSING A THREAT FOR SVR HAIL…WIND AND ISOLD
   TORNADOES.
  
   ..CORFIDI.. 02/26/2009

Ali Shocks, TV and Taxes Arrive; Cold Air May Too
February 25, 2009

Cassius M Clay; Muhammad Ali's Father's Namesake

Cassius M Clay; Muhammad Ali's Father's Namesake

On This Date In History: Muhammad Ali shocked the world with a forecast any meteorologist would love. On this date in 1964, the 22-year-old Louisvillian and Olympic Gold medal champion defeated the feared World Heavyweight Champion Sonny Liston in one of the greatest upsets in sports history. The legend of Ali was well on its way and today, Ali stands as a champion to many, not just in sports but also as a living icon.

Fight Between Ali & Wilt Chamberlain Once Proposed

Fight Between Ali & Wilt Chamberlain Once Proposed

Born on January 17, 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky as Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr.  His father supported his family by painting billboards while his mother worked as a domestic. Many people probably don’t know this but  Muhammed Ali’s father, Cassius Marcellus Clay, Sr. was named for a famous 19th century Kentuckian, Cassius Marcellus Clay, who was a stout  emancipationist.   When young Cassius was 12, he took up boxing under the direction of Louisville Police Officer Joe Martin.  Clay was a superb athelte with a true boxing talent.  But, that was not enough.  He worked hard and rose through the amateur ranks, culminating with a gold medal in the 1960 Olympic games.  As a professional, his speed, power and showmanship was nothing the sport had ever seen before.  When he was to fight the heavyweight champion, Sonny Liston, he was a decided underdog as Liston was a big, powerful man who was feared.  But, the intimidating champion refused to answer the 6th round bell and the 22-year-old Clay was crowned heavyweight champion of the world.  Two days later, he announced that he had accepted the teaching of the Nation of Islam. On March 6, 1964 he changed his name to Muhammad Ali. While some may suggest that he had a controversial career and life, the man has become a symbol of

Celebrities Can't Wait To Pose with World's Ambassador, Muhammad Ali

Celebrities Can't Wait To Pose with World's Ambassador, Muhammad Ali

resolve, pride, dignity and intestinal fortitude. He has become an international ambassador of peace and goodwill and is revered as one of the most beloved and respected American athletes of all time. He always called himself “the greatest” and over time that has been difficult to dispute on many levels. He is an inspiration to millions…and he’s a Louisvillian!

You can visit the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville. It is a cultural attraction and international education center with the mission “to preserve and share the legacy and ideals of Muhammad Ali, to promote respect, hope and understanding, and to inspire adults and children everywhere to be as great as they can be.”

On this date in 1928,

the Federal Radio Commission issued its first television licence to Charles Francis Jenkins Laboratories for a television station in Washington, D.C. This guy Jenkins must have been sorta experimenting…either that or he was the forerunner to PBS.

Felix the Cat 1st TV Image

Felix the Cat 1st TV Image

1928 First Television

1928 First Television

See…government has been getting its nose into new technology almost as quickly as it gets started, though they seemed to have hit a wall with the Internet…so far. The Wireless Act of 1910 required ships at sea broadcasting wireless transmission to have trained and licensed personnel at the radio. Did the Titanic alot of good in 1912 when the operators, trained and licensed, were more interested in sending personal messages of the passengers instead of listening to ice warnings. In the 20’s, Congress passed a bunch of laws regulating commercial stations, how much power they could use and the use of commercials and such. In 1927, the Radio Act created a new bureaucracy with the creation of the Federal Radio Commission, which became the Federal Communications Commission in 1934. All this regulation and last year on this date, CBS still switched from the Kentucky game with less than a minute to go to the Duke tip-off! There ought to be a law!! We got all sorts of calls from irate UK fans convinced that our station had a bias against UK.  It was always great fun when the folks in New York flipped the switch off of either  UK game, an IU game or a UL game.  The complaint calls were always the same, just the team name changed.

Check Out How Low the Top Tax Rate Was and Where it Went...Give and Inch..Take a Mile!

Check Out How Low the Top Tax Rate Was and Where it Went...Give and Inch..Take a Mile!

Not long after Henry Ford’s Model T’s started filling the roads, on this date in 1919 Oregon introduced the first state tax on gasoline…and they haven’t stopped taxing since. Seems like every time we get a new invention, we get a new tax….and in fact we have been getting taxed since…

On this Date in 1913, when the US Secretary of State, Philander Knox, proclaimed that the 16th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified by the required 3/4 of the states and became the law of the land. This amendment allowed the Congress to tax the income of Americans. Now, it didn’t Require that Congress tax Americans but Congress couldn’t resist and by October of that year, President Wilson had signed into law the Revenue Act of 1913 that re-introduced the income tax on Americans.  We gave Uncle Sam an inch and he  thought that he was a ruler.

SPC Issues Early CYA Forecast

SPC Issues Early CYA Forecast

Weather Bottom Line: We have a couple of issues regarding the week ahead.  First off, we will continue our warm-up.  Mid 50’s on Wednesday and to around 60 on Thursday.  We have a cold front to deal  with that may bring some thunderstorms around here late Thursday.  Probably not overly robust.  The boys at the Severe Storms Prediction Center don’t seem too enthused but they have covered themselves with the menacing 5% risk area.  I suspect the reason why its to our west is because by the time the action gets here, it will be in the evening or night time.  The models are a little bit in disagreement as to when the heaviest rain will fall.  Both the GFS and NAM though do have rain chances from say Wednesday through Friday.  My guess is that the best chance will be late Thursday with the front.  While the two models can’t agree on the timing of the heaviest rain, they both throw out about an inch overall.  Following the front, our temperatures will be below average through the weekend into next week.  That’s where the other issue comes in.

Both the Canadian model and the European model at 12Z Tuesday both have a big dip in the jet stream late in the weekend into next week.  Very cold.  They both seem to want to throw out some snow with a low swinging up from the Gulf of Mexico to our south and east throwing moisture on the cold air.  The GFS has something similar but not that cold.  From what I’ve seen on the TV with the longer range forecasts, my guess is that you will see the folks on the tube lowering the temperature forecasts.  It remains to be seen if the jet digs as some of the data advertises.  In my mind, it does make some sense, but we’ll have to wait and see how it shakes out.  There are variables.  If it pans out…look for very cold conditions.  The truth will probably be some where in between the extreme cold of some of the models and the cold, but somewhat milder, conditions advertised by the tv outlets.  After this winter, I’m not sure thats the kind of change we need.  Here is the discussion from the SPC regarding Thursday morning to Friday morning:
DAY 3 CONVECTIVE OUTLOOK
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
0129 AM CST TUE FEB 24 2009

VALID 261200Z – 271200Z

…NO SVR TSTM AREAS FORECAST…

…MID-MO VALLEY/OZARKS/LOWER OH VALLEY…
A SUBTLE UPPER-LEVEL TROUGH IS FORECAST TO MOVE FROM THE PLAINS
STATES THURSDAY MORNING INTO THE MS VALLEY BY AFTERNOON. A LOW-LEVEL
JET ASSOCIATED WITH THE TROUGH IS FORECAST TO MOVE FROM THE SRN
PLAINS INTO THE MID-MS VALLEY BY 00Z FRIDAY. THIS SHOULD RESULT IN
LOW-LEVEL MOISTURE RETURN NWD INTO THE OZARKS AND MID-MS VALLEY
DURING THE DAY. CONVECTION SHOULD BE ONGOING ALONG THE AXIS OF THE
LOW-LEVEL JET THURSDAY MORNING WITH FORECAST SOUNDINGS SUGGESTING
THIS ACTIVITY WILL BE ELEVATED. SFC-BASED THUNDERSTORMS SHOULD
BECOME MORE LIKELY ACROSS THE OZARKS BY THURSDAY AFTERNOON AS SFC
TEMPS WARM AHEAD OF A COLD FRONT MOVING SEWD THROUGH THE CNTRL
PLAINS. FORECAST SOUNDINGS THURSDAY AFTERNOON SHOW COLD AIR ALOFT
ASSOCIATED WITH THE UPPER-LEVEL TROUGH ALONG WITH STRONG VERTICAL
SHEAR WHICH MAY SUPPORT AN ISOLATED THREAT FOR HAIL.
HOWEVER…INSTABILITY IS FORECAST TO REMAIN WEAK SUGGESTING THE
THREAT WILL REMAIN MARGINAL. BY EVENING…THE MODELS FORECAST
CONVECTION ALONG THE COLD FRONT FROM WRN KY WSWWD INTO AR WHERE SFC
DEWPOINTS SHOULD BE HIGHER. IF THE TIMING OF THE COLD FRONT IS
REASONABLE…THIS ACTIVITY COULD HAVE A MARGINAL SEVERE THREAT WITH
WIND DAMAGE AND HAIL POSSIBLE.

Court Takes Power; Bad Polar Ice Data; Stimulus Debate
February 24, 2009

Is Barbour Really Being Slap Happy?
Is Barbour Really Being Slap Happy?
Clyburn Feels Insulted By Governors Opposing President's Plan
Clyburn Feels Insulted By Governors Opposing President’s Plan

Two Points of View on Stimulus From Same Man; Different Sources

This is sorta interesting.  On February 20th, the Miami Herald posted a story concerning the comments of Congressman James Clyburn of South Carolina regarding the stimulus package recently passed and signed into law.  He names four Republican governors who are considering not accepting some of the federal monies and says its an “insult”  to Black Americans.  The four Republicans in question are all from Southern states.  Curiously, the Congressman does not mention that the Republican governors from Alaska, Idaho and Minnesota have taken the same position.  The story is also interesting in that it sorta buries the part about how Clyburn is clashing with the governor of his own state who also is considering turning down the cash and how Clyburn wants the legislature to by-pass the governor if he indeed follows through.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Plan Seemed To Grow On It's Own

Plan Seemed To Grow On It's Own

On February 23, the District Chronicles put out a story concerning the stimulus and the reaction from the Congressional Black Caucus.  In the story, Rep. Clyburn is featured but the story makes no reference at all concerning his accusations against the southern governors in opposition. 

Then we have News Blaze, out of California.  News Blaze has a story on the subject of Clyburn’s comments with a group that it calls “Black Activists” discounting Rep. Clyburn’s comments.

Who Knows What It Really Looks Like

Who Knows What It Really Looks Like

Here is the video of the interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” in which Clyburn made the comments.  Click here to decide what you think.

This story, it seems to me, has not gotten the attention that it might otherwise get.  While there are opposing viewpoints on the internet and in local papers, a few cable channels have gone over it a bit but the national news shows seem to have chosen not to look into it too much.  In my view, the charge is so powerful that it probably should deserve a bit more scrutiny and discussion by the main stream press.  I don’t get why its not a bigger story.  But, the next time there is a shark attack in Florida, it will be the lead story.

Correct Sea-Ice Graph In Red...Quite a Difference, eh?

Correct Sea-Ice Graph In Red...Quite a Difference, eh?

Would You Like Some More Ice? Well, it seems that there has been another error related to Global Warming.  This one comes from the National Snow and Ice Ice Data Center.  They report the monthly change in Arctic Ice.  In 2007, the Arctic Ice was reported at an all-time low since it has been studied, which only goes back about 30 years.  Last year, there were reports that the polar ice cap might melt away altogether over the summer.  Instead, the ice actually grew, at times quite rapidly.  It was generally reported as the second lowest ice coverage ever recorded, which was true, but it also could have been reported as an increase in the coverage from the previous year.  After a trend of growth, suddenly at the outset of this year, the growth seemed to have slowed dramatically.  It seems that careful observers noted a problem in the data.  That prompted the folks at the NSIDC to review the data and, sure enough,   they had sensor problems.  As it turns out, there is a lot more ice than previously reported….like enough to cover the state of California. (Arctic Sea-Ice News Feb 18, 2009…search if the date has changed)  Now, this doesn’t mean that the polar ice cap is just fine and dandy; it’s still below the 30 year average.  And the amount of “extra ice” is not necessarily as large as it sounds in relative terms.  But, this data could cover up a trend and it does raise questions about data collection and the doom and gloom prounouncements that follow.  Just last year, a report came out about a huge increase in global temperatures until it was discovered, again by outside observers, that the data was in gross error as a huge chunk of stations in Russia malfunctioned and put out data from the previous month. (See Whatsupwiththat) That made a big difference because the month in question was the transition from Summer to Fall(October 2008)  so a bunch of summertime temperatures corrupted the turning-fall data.

Two things….how much other data is corrupted?  The two I’ve cited here are not all there is..here’s some more questionable data. It should be troublesome that outside sources had to discover the errors and that the experts otherwise would have not noticed.  Should we be basing geo-political policy on a data collection system that is obviously flawed?  Perhaps it’s coincidence, but the errors in collection always seem to favor the Al Gore perspective.  Aren’t there ever any mistakes that say we are cooler than we really are?

Marshall Grabbed His Share

Marshall Grabbed His Share

On This Date in History:

We’ve seen power grabs by presidents…how about by the Supreme Court?  Much of the accepted power of the various branches  of government is not spelled out by the Constitution but instead it was just assumed and everyone just shrugged their collective shoulders.  In this case, it was the Supreme Court itself that on this date in 1803 assumed a role that was not specifically granted in the Constitution.  What is odd is that the court took power by claiming it had no power. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Marshall Gave Court Tough Referee Job

Marshall Gave Court Tough Referee Job

                                                                         

John Marshall No Doubt Not an FDR Favorite

John Marshall No Doubt Not an FDR Favorite

In the final hours of his term, President John Adams made 42 judicial appointments.  Due to bureaucratic bungling, some of the commissions were not sent out until after Adams’ term expired.  The new President, Thomas Jefferson, told Secretary of State James Madison to refuse to accept those appointments.  One of the appointees did not roll over and went to the Supreme Court to force the administration to accept his commission.  Now, the Constitution says nothing about the Supreme Court having the ability to rule regardng the constitutionality of acts of Congress.  William Marbury wanted his judicial appointment and James Madison opposed it.  Thus we had Marbury v. Madison before the court.  Chief Justice John Marshall knew that Madison and Jefferson wouldn’t accept the ruling if they ruled in favor of Marbury and that would weaken a Supreme Court which at that time really didn’t have equal power to Congress and the President. 

His solution was to rule that the court had no jurisdiction since the Judiciary Act of 1798 was unconstitutional.  Jefferson called Marshall’s logic “twistifications” but otherwise did not object.  Neither did anyone else.  Marbury didn’t get his seat but the United States Supreme Court assumed the power to interpret the Constitution and determine whether or not laws were unconstitutional, a provision the United States Constitution does not contain.  Perhaps some day a Supreme Court will rule that the Marshall Supreme Court was itself unconstitutional!

Weather Bottom Line:  Nothing too exciting or different.  Everyone will get above freezing by early Tuesday afternoon.  Highs will be in the upper 30’s and low 40’s. High clouds may help hold a lid on things.  Warm front on Wednesday may produce a few showers but more noticable will be the afternoon temperatures moving into the low to mid 50’s.  We’ll be around 60 or so on Thursday.  As a cold front comes through, rain chances will rise by Thursday night and Friday morning with the possibility of t’storms.  Still too early to tell if there will be strong storms in the area.  My guess is that the best chance will be in the lower Mississippi Valley and Red River Valley but its not out of the question that area of unsettled weather might migrate our way.  There will be a fairly strong subtropical jet nosing up but I suspect that the timing will not be all that suitable for stronger storms in our region. Worth watching though.   Colder than average temperatures reappear for the end of the week into next weekend.

Liberty Bell Not All Its Cracked Up To Be
February 23, 2009

Arthur S. Mole "Human Liberty Bell" (1918) Featuring 12,500 soldiers

Arthur S. Mole "Human Liberty Bell" (1918) Featuring 12,500 soldiers

 

On This Date in History:  There are many things that are supposed to be a part of history that is really more of a myth.  I suppose some items sound so good or had been part of a long ago propaganda campaign that was so brilliant that the myth became reality.  I’m not sure of the origin of the story of the Liberty Bell, but the myth does sound better than the truth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  liberty-bell

The story always was that the Liberty Bell was cracked on July 4, 1776.  Supposedly a small boy came running to Independence Hall in Philadelphia with the news that independence had been declared.  Upon hearing the news, the feeble old man who was in charge of ringing the bell got so excited that he pulled the clapper with such ferocity that he cracked the bronze bell.  Now, the bell itself found its way to Philadelphia in 1751 and had nothing to do with national liberty, but instead the bell had been ordered from London to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Pennsylvania’s democratic constitution.  Remember, it wasn’t until the latter part of the 18th Century that America began to get any sense of nationalism.  The bell was inscribed with the words “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All The Land Unto the Inhabitants Thereof.”  It was hung in the steeple of what was then the State House, later to be known as Independence Hall.

Liberty Bell Used As Political Tool For Nearly 200 Years

Liberty Bell Used As Political Tool For Nearly 200 Years

So, if the bell wasn’t cracked through the steroid induced efforts of a little old man, then how was it cracked?  It was first cracked before it really got going.  The first time they tested it, a crack developed.  So, it was melted down, recast and hung again.  Though its not entirely clear exactly when it cracked again, speculation is that when it was rung to mark the death of US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall in 1835, the bell split again.  The trouble with that idea is that the clappers probably would have been muffled.  What is certain is that on this date in 1846, the bell tolled for the last time to mark the birth of George Washington.  I have no idea why they did not toll the bell on February 22, which was Washington’s true birthday except that February 22, 1846 fell on a Sunday that year…as it did in 2009!  My guess is that Sunday’s were considered the Sabbath and so such activities were put off until Monday.

                                                                                                                                                                    

Bell Used To Sell Mugs

Bell Used To Sell Mugs

Now, the Liberty Bell was not always known as the Liberty Bell.  It wasn’t until 1839 that abolitionists borrowed the bell as a symbol of their struggle to end the practice of slavery because of the inscription proclaiming Liberty across the land.  The story about the little boy telling the old man about the Declaration of Independence and the man ringing the bell on July 4, 1776 and cracking it was made up to help sell books.  Truth is, the news of the declaration wasn’t made public until July 8, 1776.  A guy named George Lippard invented the story in 1847 for his book, Washington and His Generals or Legends of the American Revolution.  That kind of thing makes one wonder how many more “legends” were put forth in that book and then accepted as fact by history teachers.  See…that’s one way how myths get created in the first place. 

Popular 1898 Slot Machine

Popular 1898 Slot Machine

So, the bell from the outset was used as a prop for someone’s cause or purpose.  The name Liberty Bell was created to help symbolize the struggle for abolition.  Lippard used the bell to fill some pages of a book and help line his pockets.  A San Francisco entrepreneur, Charles Fey, thought in 1898 it would be great for a slot machine jackpot symbol.  Thus, the Liberty Bell machine came into being.  People use the image to sell shirts and neckties and coffee mugs.  Even Uncle Sam used the imagery when Liberty Bonds were sold to help finance the war.    Then of course, there are banks in almost every state that use the name “Liberty” asi f your money is safer there.

So, it turns out that the Liberty Bell, conceived simply to commemorate the constitution of a colony has ever since been used as either a political tool or prop to increaswe commercial profits.  And you know what…that in itself sounds pretty American to me…that is unless the Federal Government doesn’t buy up all of the commercial interests.

Weather Bottom Line: I think the biggest alteration with the forecast for the week ahead is that the system that will lift out and probably result in some strong t’storms somewhere will not get here until later in the week.  Honestly, I haven’t done that much of an in depth study of it but something is preventing the long wave pattern from digging down in the middle of the week.  My guess is that there is probably a ridge upstream off of the maps that I have reviewed so, a little short wave that comes through late Wednesday  may bring some showers but the long wave pattern will not dig down, hence, no cold air.  On Thursday, we get the stronger storm coming up from the southwest.  Ahead will be a warm front that will continue rain chances on Thursday.  Then, late Thursday or early Friday, the storm comes by from Southwest to Northeast.  We could see some t’storms then.  After the storm passes, then the long wave pattern…the jet stream…digs down south and we get colder air back in for next weekend.  I still think it will be tough to get above freezing on Monday but some of you may  get to 35 or so for a little while.  I think we moderate on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday, perhaps pushing 50 by  Wednesday and then mid to upper 50’s perhaps on Thursday behind the warm front and ahead of the cold front.  GFS is wanting to extend prepitiation into the weekend in the form of some light snow but we’ll have to wait and see about that.  The Severe Storms Prediction Center  doesn’t even have any sort of outlook for the 4-8 day period as things have been pretty inconsistent.  I would think that eventually there will be some sort of severe threat later in the week for the South, but not probably not into the Ohio Valley.

The Most Important Man in US History-Perhaps the World
February 22, 2009

Gilbert Stuart's Familiar Painting of President Washington

Gilbert Stuart's Familiar Painting of President Washington

 

On This Date in History:    On February 22, 1732 George Washington was born.  His birthday used to be a national holiday until a few years ago when it was determined that there needed to be a birthday holiday for Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.  The government did not want to increase the number of holidays so they eliminated the holidays for the birth of President Lincoln and President Washington and combined the two into a holiday commemorating all presidents and they called it President’s Day.  That is utter nonsense.  I mean, do we need a day to remember Millard Filmore, Franklin Pierce and Chester A. Arthur?  If they wanted to eliminate a day, it could have been Columbus Day.  I suppose they didn’t want so may holidays in January and February. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

General Washington Resigning His Commission to Congress.  He Voluntarily Surrendered Absolute Power, Not Once, But Twice.  The Definition of the man, his character and integrity.

General Washington Resigning His Commission to Congress. He Voluntarily Surrendered Absolute Power, Not Once, But Twice. The Definition of the man, his character and integrity.

Recently, they came out with another poll of historians ranking the presidents.  Lincoln came out on top followed by Washington.  In my mind, General Washington is and always should be at the top of the list.  In many regards, if it were not for him, there very well may not have been a President Lincoln, or William Henry Harrison or Warren G. Harding.  He should be studied more in school and his day should remain.  Instead of using my words to put out a biography, instead, I am choosing on this day to commemorate his birth and life with some verbiage put out by historian David Hackett Fischer from Washington’s Crossing; (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004) 7-8.

“He was a big man, immaculate in dress, and of such charismatic  presence that he filled the street even when he rode alone.  A crowd gathered to watch him go by, as if he were a one-man parade.  Children bowed and bobbed to him.  Soldiers called him ‘Your Excellency,’ a title rare in America.  Gentlemen doffed their hats and spoke his name with deep respect:  General Washington.”

“As he came closer, his features grew more distinct.  In 1776, we would not have recognized him from the Stuart painting that we know too well.  At the age of forty-two, he looked young, lean, and very fit-more so than we remember him.  He had the sunburned, storm-beaten face of a man who lived much of his life in the open.  His hair was a light hazel-brown, thinning around the temples.  Beneath a high forehead, a broad Roman nose bore a few small scars of smallpox.  People remembered his soft blue-gray eyes, set wide apart and deep in their sockets.  The lines around his eyes gave an unexpected hint of laughter.  A Cambridge lady remarked on his ‘appearance of good humor.’  A Hessian observed that a ‘slight smile in his expression when he spoke inspired affection and respect.’  Many were impressed by his air of composure and surprised by his modesty.”

We could use General Washington today.  Without him, there may never have been a United States of America and the freedom that has spread around the world in the past two centuries may never have come to pass.  May his life always be remembered in the singularity of respect that it deserves and demands.

Weather Bottom Line: Kinda interesting the snow on Saturday.  Down by the river the rain fell first with a little sleet and then an extended period of snow.  But the accumulation was little more than a dusting.  On the east side of town, it looked more like an inch or so of accumulation as I suspect the ground temperatures fell to freezing sooner than the areas along the river.  All in all, it turned out pretty much as expected though the airport did get to the upper 40’s before the snow fell.

GFS still insisting on light snow or flurries on Sunday.  Really nothing much of consequence if we do get some passing snow showers.  On Monday, there is some indication of a slight move above freezing for an hour or two but, as I’ve said before, if you’re not a thermometer you won’t know it and it won’t last long.  Move to the low 40’s for Tuesday afternoon.  Warmer Wednesday and toward 60 on Thursday.  Some of the models are pushing back the threat of t’storms to late Thursday night.  If that happens, any threat for strong storms will back off.   While the rain chance in this scenario for Wednesday is diminished, I would still suggest that rain chances at least increase on Wednesday with a higher chance on Thursday.  Colder, below seasonal conditions return for next weekend.

Creator of Language Gets Tree Honor; A Bit of Snow
February 21, 2009

How Did The Giant Sequoia Get Its Name?

How Did The Giant Sequoia Get Its Name?

 

sequoia1On This Date in History:  Ever wonder how a language was invented or who took the time to take an oral language and turn it into a written language?  How about words?  I mean, I’m looking at Nit and Wit and I”m the one who came up with their names, including their alter egos Barfette and Poop-a-lot and Fat and Cat.  Now…the last one…cat.  Where did that originate?  Why is a cat a cat and a dog a dog and not the other way around?

I’m not sure of all of those answers but I do have an answer for a couple of items.  Seems that the Cherokee Nation had a language but it was never written down.  There was no alphabet.  In the early 19th century, a young man became fascinated by the books of the white man.  He was the son of an Indian woman and a white man.  Some kids have dreams of being a ball player or an astronaut or something.  This kid dreamed of creating a written language.  First, he took all of the Cherokee sounds and separated into 85 syllables.  Then, he used the Bibles of missionaries as a guide and created a new alphabet.  He took letters, presumably the arabic letters used by europeans, and turned them on their sides or even upside down.  He also added some additional features such as curlicues.  Regardless of how detailed the design of each letter was, the usage was relatively simple. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Driving Through A Tree?

Driving Through A Tree?

This language creator tested his new system on his five-year-old daughter.  She learned to read his new language in less than a week.  In 1821, tribal chiefs were skeptical…that is until they also took but a week to learn the alphabet.  With their quick learning, the chiefs were convinced it was a good idea and gave the man permission to teach the language to everyone.  It was on this date in 1828 that the first Cherokee Phoenix went to print. It’s still in print today.  The first edition came out in English and also the new Cherokee language.

Created Language; Memorialized With Tree

Created Language; Memorialized With Tree

When the creator of the language died in 1843, he was honored in such a way that his name would be remembered forever by millions around the world.  You see…the man’s name was Sequoyah and the giant trees that are among the largest on the earth bear his name, though I believe the spelling used for the trees Sequoia.  Either way, now at least we know how one language came into written form and how one tree got its name.  Now…if we could just track down the word “cat,” though one look at my kitties and you can tell the derivation of the word “fat.”

12Z Fri NAM Snow 60 hrs

12Z Fri NAM Snow 60 hrs

Weather Bottom Line:  The forecast looks pretty much on line.  Most of the TV guys were claiming a high of 40 or 42 on Friday and I said it would be in the mid 30’s for a short time.  Well, we get a split decision.  We were at 36 at the airport for several hours with a brief high of 37.  Much of the area was probably a degree or two colder.  So, it was a longer period of above freezing than I said but not as warm as the tv foofs said.  Who cares, right?  No one really and it really doesn’t matter much unless you are a thermometer or have a bet or something. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

12Z Fri GFS Snow 60 hrs.

12Z Fri GFS Snow 60 hrs.

 

Anyway, we have our southwesterly flow ahead of the next system.  Temps will probably bottom out at 30 or so on Friday night before beginning to rise prior to sunrise on Saturday.  The NAM insists on all snow but I find that hard to believe because it has surface temps at around 40 with snow.  I think the GFS solution of rain turning to snow is a better solution.  With the ground being a bit too warm to begin with, my guess is that the first part of the snow won’t really accumulate.  Both models want to toss out about 2 inches but I suspect actual accumulations will be less.  The GFS and to some degree the Euro and Canadian models want to continue with some flurries for the first part of Sunday.  Don’t look for above freezing conditions until Tuesday afternoon.  There is no data that suggests anything above freezing after around midday on Saturday.  Now, the GFS, NAM and Canadian models do indicate a potential for some strong storms on Thursday.  The ECMWF (european) is not too interested at this point with just some rain on Wednesday.  We’ll have to see how it shakes out.  We chill down a bit after Thursday but nothing to terribly cold is showing up at this point after this weekend.

Green Envy Can Be Costly; A Bit of Snow
February 20, 2009

Being Green with Envy Can be Costly

Being Green with Envy Can be Costly

 

 

On This Date In History: On this date in 1777, Benedict Arnold turned green with envy and it probably led to his becoming one of the most infamous figures in American history. On the previous day, the Continental Congress promoted a bunch of Brigadier Generals to the rank of Major General. These guys were all junior to Benedict Arnold but by making them Major Generals, they all leap-frogged him in rank. The reason was that Congress was trying to even out the number of general officers from each state.  See, Congress has been playing politics with war from the very beginning.  Nevertheless,  Arnold didn’t see it that way. He felt snubbed and he wanted to quit and offered his resignation. General George Washington wouldn’t accept it and talked his friend out of it. Probably a mistake for the Father of our Country because Arnold remained miffed for several years until he became a turncoat and tried to hand over the American fort at West Point,  New York to the enemy.                                                                                               

Traitor Poster Boy Arnold

Traitor Poster Boy Arnold

Now, its not entirely clear that the elevation of the other men to Major General is what caused Arnold to turn traitor but it’s probably a pretty safe assumption it played some role. In any event, Arnold became a general in the British army and he ended up on the losing side. After the war he went to live in the Mother Country but he wasn’t much better received than he would have been in the new United States. Seems the Brits didn’t look too kindly on a traitorous scoundrel, even if the scoundrel hailed from the other team. Arnold died in Britain in 1801 as a destitute, largely friendless, man.

So…the moral to the story is green with envy doesn’t always result in green in the pockets. Keep the ego in check and keep the pride in storage and you’ll probably end up fairing better than Benedict Arnold.

taxes_1

taxesWho’s Gonna Pay For This? All of this talk about the stimulus package and the costs and such made me wonder who was paying for all of this.  Well, when you’re running a deficit, obviously no one is paying for it today, but someone else supposedly will tomorrow.  During the presidential election campaign, there was a debate about having the rich pay their “fair share.”  But, the question is, “what is fair?”  I mean, I pointed out several days ago that the headlines always read how much money ExxonMobil made last year, but you never read about how much taxes that that ExxonMobil paid. The company made about $45 billion, paid a 47% income tax rate to the tune of over $36 billion with a total tax bill of $116 billion.    When you look at the numbers, Uncle Sam loves it when Exxon makes a bunch of money. 

So, I found the November 10, 2008 Fortune magazine and an article on page 83.  Many people wish to become wealthy but, if your grasp reaches your envy, you may be surprised to find how much it will cost you…or how much you find that the definition of a “fair share” changes.   Here’s the breakdown regarding taxes in 2006:

 

Income $1-$50,000  Avg. income: $21,000;  Avg Tax Paid $1300  This income group represents about 66% of all taxpayers and this group paid about 8% of all taxes paid.

Income $50,000 to $100, 000;  Avg. Income: $71, 000; Avg. Tax Paid $6400.  This income group represents about 22% of all taxpayers and the group paid about 18% of all taxes paid.

Income $100, 000 to $200,000; Avg. Income $133,000; Avg Tax Paid $17,000.  This income group represents about 9% of all taxpayers and the group paid 20% of all taxes paid.

Income $200, 000 to $500,000; Avg. Income $287,000; Avg. Tax Paid $57,000.  This income group represents about 2.3% of all taxpayers and the group paid 17% of all taxes paid.

Income $500,000 to $1.5 Million; Avg. Income $540,000; Avg. Tax Paid $187,000.  This income group represents about 0.5% of all taxpayers and paid 14% of all taxes paid.

Income $1.5 Mil to $5 Mil; Avg. Income $2.5 Million; Avg. Tax Paid $606,000. This income group represents about 0.1% of all taxpayers and paid 10% of all taxes paid.

Income $5 Million Plus; Avg Income 15.2 Million; Avg. Tax Paid $3.2 Million.  This income group represents about 0.3% of all taxpayers and paid 13% of all taxes.

 Kinda interesting that there are more people who make over $5 million than those that make $1.5 million to $5 million.  Not sure why that is.  Nevertheless, the statistics show that 66% of the taxpaying population provided  8% of the taxes collected.  It shows that the top 3.5% of wage earners provided 54% of all taxes collected.  Less than 4% pay more than 50%.  I’m not anywhere close to the top tax bracket..especially these days.  But, you look at the numbers and then ask yourself how much is “fair” next time you hear a politician say that some Americans do not pay their “fair share.”

NAM Backs Off Snow A Shade For Saturday

NAM Backs Off Snow A Shade For Saturday

Weather Bottom Line: Very odd situation here in model world.  Typically this winter, the NAM has been the one that is not enthused about snow and the GFS has gone bonkers.  The last couple of runs, this time around has been flip flopped.  While the afternoon maxima at the airport on Thursday was just 31 with some morning snow reflected more closely what the GFS was advertising, the GFS is now really backing off its snow forecast for Saturday. 

It throws out about a third of an inch of rain before beginning some very light snow Saturday evening and spitting

Not Sure If I Buy The Sliver of Less Snow Over Us From the GFS

Not Sure If I Buy The Sliver of Less Snow Over Us From the GFS

snow on Sunday for a total of just about a half inch or so.  Meanwhile, the NAM is not too interested in rain and just goes straight to snow midday on Saturday and puts out about 1.7 inches of snow with nothing on Sunday.  What we have is a shortwave coming through the flow.  On Friday, after a cold start, winds may turn a little more southwestrly from westerly and with some sunshine get to the mid 30’s.  Then as the shortwave approaches, we get a bit more of a southerly flow and so we don’t get too cold on Friday night.  Probably down to about 30 or so.  Then, ahead of the disturbance on Saturday morning…we get somewhere above freezing.  Then, the question is about the precip type and amounts and such. Keep in mind, if you look at the GFS snow total map on the right, you see that we are sandwiched in between the higher snow amounts approaching two inches.  I’m not so sure that the GFS is smart enough to believe such a sliver of less snow surrounded by more.   My guess is that the truth will be somewhere in between the two models. I betcha we get some rain at first and then some snow.  Accumulations will probably be limited due to a warmer ground…so lets say about an inch or so.  Then, because the European has some wrap around moisture as well as the GFS on Sunday…I would think that its reasonable to expect some useless flurries on Sunday.  I would not expect above freezing temperatures from midday Saturday until Tuesday afternoon.  It appears that there will be a chance for strong storms midweek in the plains and it will be interesting to see if it shakes out to where on Thursday we get into any part of the act.

Medicine With a Magic Wand; Light Snow/Colder
February 19, 2009

Nations First Quack Had 11 Mouths to Feed

Nations First Quack Had 11 Mouths to Feed

 

 

Society Founded By Perkins Later Turned On Him

Society Founded By Perkins Later Turned On Him

On This Date in History: 

In 1741, a well thought of physician and his wife introduced a new addition to Norwich, Connecticut.  Elisha Perkins entered the world and seemed to have the world as his oyster.  From his well to do roots, he too became a physician and built a pretty good practice.  He was so successful that he became one of the founders of the Connecticut Medical Society. 

But, Perkins was not only good at building a practice, he was also quite adept at building a family.  I don’t think that there were any fertility clinics in existance at the time so old Elisha must have done it the old fashioned way as he produced 10 children.  I’m sure his wife would suggest that she did most of the work.   Nevertheless, it was Elisha’s job to figure out how to support such an army of kids.  Around the time, a new theory having to do with “animal electricity” was going about.  It was a theory put forth by Luigi Glavani regarding electric generation within animals. I suppose it had something to do with magnetism and the doctor with the sterling reputation decided to cash in.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Galvani's Device Producing Electric Cell From Frog Fluid

Galvani's Device Producing Electric Cell From Frog Fluid

On this date in 1796, Dr. Perkins received a patent for his miraculous Metallic Tractors!  Now, remember this is 1796….this guy got $25 for a pair of metal rods that  looked something like a couple of long hairpins.  All one had to do was to move the device across an affected part of the body for the relief of any pain or ill that one may be suffering.  His very own Connecticut Medical Society was non-plussed.  He was summarily expelled.  Nevertheless, he still kept a high profile client list including several congressmen, United States Supreme Court Chief Justice Oliver Ellsworth and some say even George Washington may have used the magic wand. 

Undeterred by the Connecticut Medical Society, Perkins firmly believed in his device.  I mean, why not?  Twenty-Five dollars was a lot of money in the late 18th Century and with a list of customers like his, what’s not to believe?  In 1799, a yellow fever epidemic took hold of New York and Perkins went to the scene to save the day.  Not only did he bring his Metallic Tractor, but he also brought a touted “antiseptic”.  The term “antiseptic” is interesting because I do not believe that the notion of germs had come into the medical scene just yet.  Anyway, this magic potion was simply vinegar and sodium chloride.  Perkins ride into the history books came to an abrupt end when he entered New York, promptly developed yellow fever and died.

"Tractors" Case of Mind over Matter

"Tractors" Case of Mind over Matter

But…his brilliant device did not die!  No, his son was smart enough to know a good deal when he saw it.  He continued to sell the metal rods at great profit.  The Danes fell for it when a scientific committee in Denmark called the Metallic Tractor highly effective.  In London, Perkins son decided to build on the potential promotional impact of the endorsement and he opened the Perkinean Institute!  Not sure what it did, but it is said to have “flourished.”  

Finally, the Metallic Tractors were left on the ash heep of history when somoene tested the device, finding that wooden bars instead of metal ones worked just as well.  But, it wasn’t a total loss because the test helped build the notion that the power of suggestion can be helpful when looking to recover from an ailment.

00Z Thur NAM still Bullish On Saturday Snow

00Z Thur NAM still Bullish On Saturday Snow

18Z Wed GFS Has Best Snow East Saturday

18Z Wed GFS Has Best Snow East Saturday

Weather Bottom Line: 

I’m knuckling under a little.  I had said that we’d be above freezing maybe for a time on Friday.  Okay, that still holds.   But, much of the data now shows that the low swinging through the flow does so a little later.  As it approaches early Saturday, it would draw up warmer air so we push up into the low 40’s for a time on Saturday morning before we dip back below freezing.  What is more interesting than that is that the NAM is still insisting on a snow burst for the area.  The 00Z Thursday run has moved the blob of heavier snow from our north to our south and east.  It is calling for 3 inches in our area Saturday afternoon into Saturday night.  The GFS is similar but has the heaviest snow in Eastern Kentucky.  Since there is a warmer streak ahead of the precip with the NAM, then I would suppose that we would not have a 3 inch accumulation because the ground probably wouldn’t be freezing.  Then again, it dumps it so fast that maybe it would still accumulate to that level.  I’d expect 1-2 inches on Saturday.  The GFS is still calling for light snow on Thursday but, as I said in previous posts, even if the more bullish GFS comes to pass, I don’t think accumulation will be an issue except perhaps for creating a few driving problems, especially on elevated surfaces.  We stay cold through Monday and then moderate a bit on Tuesday.