Advertisements

Warning: I’m about to rant.

If I hear one more person say “look at this winter and all this snow… global warming… yeah right” I’m going to punch them in the fucking face. If you believe for one second that this winter’s excessive snow and cold weather in the southeastern US proves global warming is a myth, then you are simply solidifying your incredible ignorance and utter stupidity. There is a big difference between the terms “weather” and “climate.” Weather refers to the day-to-day changes in precipitation, temperature, barometric pressure, wind, etc… Climate refers to long-term, general trends in weather. We’re talking decades and centuries. That’s why global warming is referred to as “climate change,” not “weather change.” We will still have variations in seasons, even as global warming continues. Some winters will be colder and snowier than others, and some summer will hotter and drier than others. Some springs will be stormier, and some falls will have more hurricanes. These small-scale variations can be affected by long-term climate change, but there are many MANY other factors that come into play with small-scale weather events. One thing you may not realize about this winter (if you’re from anywhere east of the Mississippi) is that while we’ve had a cold, snowy winter in the east, most areas in the American west have had a very warm, dry winter. This is why there have been so many problems with Olympics. The mountains around Vancouver have not had as much natural snow as usual, and it’s also been warmer than usual. The direct reason for this winter’s weather is best described as a perfect combination of El Nino and the Arctic Oscillation. The AO is in a more negative phase this year than it has been in decades, which means the cold air at the northern latitudes is dropping farther southward into the US. This, combined with the very active and moist southern jet stream (which resides mostly over Mexico, Texas, and into the Gulf states), has resulted in a snowy winter for the southeastern US. This does NOT mean global warming is false! The average GLOBAL temperature is still warmer than normal. All this is explained in a much-less rant-y fashion at the Weather Underground blog. More details about the negative AO can be found in this AccuWeather article. Hey, Sen. James Inhofe, you just proved your massive ignorance and incompetence with your little igloo stunt next to the Capitol.

Rant over. Now for some much more pleasant science goodies…

The latest shuttle mission to the ISS, still in progress, delivered the new Tranquility node with a huge 7-panel window called Cupola, which was officially opened on Wed. Check this article on Universe Today for more details and to see pics of it. Look for many spectacular photos from this window to be released soon.

What would normally be a fairly unimpressive, routine rocket launch turned into a spectacular event last Thursday. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory satellite launched on top of an Atlas V rocket. What makes this so special is the amazing coincidence of the rocket’s sonic boom (created as it surpasses the speed of sound) with its passage through the cirrus cloud layer. The weird looking ripples you see at about 1:50 into the video below are REAL. It looks like some kind of computer effect, but it’s NOT. There are still shots of them as well. What’s even more amazing is that another atmospheric phenomenon called a sun dog was happening at the time as well, and it appears that the sonic boom disrupted the ice crystals in the cloud, destroying the sun dog. All this via Bad Astronomy.

Advertisements

Here we go again. I recommend investing in Kroger stock this year, because they’re gonna get a big boost in sales in TN from all these “snowstorms” wherein a meteorologist utters the word “snow” and 75% of the population immediately clears the milk, bread, and egg isles. (Apparently people only eat french toast during snowstorms?) As usual, I’ve been monitoring the progress of the forecast and find it interesting that the NWS hasn’t issued the winter storm warning yet, only a watch. I’m sure the warning will come, but it’s kinda funny that they’re hesitating, no doubt because of the giant snow fail from a few weeks ago. (To be fair, some areas around the midstate did get something close to the forecasted amounts, though no one really got the full 2-3 inches that was initially forecast…) This system is a little different than the last one, however. This one will most definitely have enough moisture to generate the 3-5 inches, unlike the last system which had moisture “issues.” The big limiting factor with this system will instead be temperatures. Nashville will literally be right on the dividing line between having an ice/rain mix and having an all snow event. If this system decides to track just 50 to 100 miles further north than the models think it will, that will cause more warm air to advect farther north, and we’ll end up having mostly rain friday changing to a little snow on the backside fri. night into sat. morning. If it decides to track slightly further south, we’ll have all snow, but much less of it, and areas to the south of us could actually see more snow than Nashville does. This system has a little better chance of “success” in giving us a good ol’ fashioned snowfall than the last one, but I wouldn’t place any bets yet.

Big rumors abound in the blogosphere about Obama’s budget proposal due to land in Congress on Monday. The biggest rumor is that it will completely cutout NASA’s Constellation program, which is the rocket system currently under development to not only replace the Space Shuttle, but also put men back on the Moon. I reported many times on the progress of the Augustine Commission and its recommendations for how NASA should proceed given that its current “trajectory” was financially unsustainable. One of the options they proposed was to eliminate the Constellation program and let commercial spaceflight companies like SpaceX takeover the duties of getting astronauts to the International Space Station and other low-earth orbit missions. I have a feeling that if the budget really does cut the Constellation funds, that’s where we’ll be headed next. Honestly I think it may not be a bad idea, because it would allow NASA to focus more on getting man further out into the solar system, and eventually to Mars. I tend to agree with Dr. Phil Plait’s (the Bad Astronomer) sentiments on the issue (as usual) but I’m not in total agreement with him that we should still go back to the moon. But then again, he’s the astronomer with a Ph.D and I’m not. For even more info, check out Universe Today. Check those blogs again on Monday afternoon, as I’d say they’ll be able to update waaaay sooner than I will once the actual budget info is released.

May ’08 ‘stache

January 5, 2010

So it looks like the ladies of Nashvillest decided to make my May 2008 ‘stache famous by putting my ugly mug on their blog this morning (probably yesterday morning by the time you read this). Due to the fact that I’m in the midst of moving into a new house with Megan, I haven’t kept up with the blogosphere for the past few days. I actually find it quite hilarious. There are much worse photos of me out there, so I can’t really complain. I could try to find a funny picture of Morgan or Christy (though I’ve only actually met Christy in person, ha…) but no one would really care because let’s face it, they have at least 10x as many readers because they’re a “real” blog. If you don’t read Nashvillest, you’re either a) several years behind the curve in local interwebz happenings, or b) not from Nashville. But even if you aren’t from here, there’s plenty of interesting stuff on there for non-locals, so get over there!

I hope everyone is prepared for the Great Nashville Blizzard of 2010. (A.K.A. a couple inches of snow) I really can’t wait to see Nashville drivers on Thursday. I’m probably going to take a video camera around with me everywhere I go…

Total eye-gasm. In fact… multiple eye-gasms. The Boston Globe’s “Big Picture” comes through as always with another set of amazing imagery. This is a collection of images from satellites. Click the image to get to the site.

Anamalia: Mikel Uribetxeberria. Not sure what country this guy is from, but his images are amazing. These images of different animals in completely odd places make me very happy and yet uneasy at the same time… and I’m not really sure how this was pulled off technically.

In music news, Devo is playing this year’s SXSW, and Pavement is heavliy rumored to be re-uniting to play ATP NY. I’m contemplating joining my friend and bandmate Seth on an adventure to SXSW this year. I’ve been talking about it for a few years now, and now it’s time to just DO IT.

Nashvillians are stupid sometimes. Metro schools are closed today because of the cold. Come on people, because of the cold? Seriously? Apparently a lot of kids walk to school… but why can’t you just bundle the hell up? Layers, people, it’s all about layers! You people are bunch of of pansies! Via Nashvillest.

Remember that scene in A Christmas Story where the kid is dared to put his tongue on a metal lightpost and ends up with his tongue frozen to it? Well, I guess kids still actually do that.

A tutorial video from a xhardcorex kid on how to do a xone-stepx and xtwo-stepx xwall flipx. That’s sooo xhardcorex dude.

A US Airways plane taking off from LaGuardia airport in NYC had to abort and land in the Hudson river yesterday, which I’m sure you’ve seen in the news by now. Apparently it was caused by a bird flying into one of the engines. Thankfully no one was hurt. A quick youtube search for water plane landings yielded this terrifying video of a plane barely missing some buildings near a beach, then landing in the water.

Advertisements