Friday, February 04, 2011

Where Did The Yogurt Shoppe Go?

It used to be right here! The place is gone!

I'm beginning to hate this recession....

Another Afternoon At The Office

What's this about? Beats me. No one ever explains anything around here.

The Murder Of Trotsky Was Planned From A Santa Fe Drugstore?

Really? Trotsky's assassination? Amazing!

Well, this burnishes New Mexico's already stellar reputation for Cold War skulduggery, like Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, David Greenglass, Trinity Site, and Los Alamos, by extending it into the past, and into the most-poisonous internecine Communist rivalry of the 20th-Century!

But a drugstore? Not your ordinary drugstore! A Santa Fe drugstore! Where they mix ricin in with the chocolate malts! Or, like they say in "Breaking Bad", 'ricin beans':
The KGB agent who planned the Bolshevik revolutionary's 1940 assassination first established a safe house in Santa Fe, 1,200 miles away in New Mexico, says a new book by intelligence expert E.B. Held.

...But its most provocative chapter concerns KGB hit man Josef Grigulevich's hideaway from 1940-41.

...When he arrived in Santa Fe, he was 27, "cosmopolitan, and a ladies' man akin to James Bond," Held wrote.

Katie Zook, 33 and single, was running Zook's Pharmacy, established by her father, son of Lithuanian immigrants. She had long braids, loved fancy hats and traveled widely.

..."Grigulevich laid low in Santa Fe until 1941, then parted company with Katie Zook," Held wrote.

Held said there is no indication that Katie Zook ever knew what Grigulevich was doing, or even knew his real name. He died in 1988, and she died a decade later.

The Bank Really, Really Wants To Find Out Who Unfriended It

As if dealing daily with a bunch of teenagers whose feelings were hurt on Facebook isn't bad enough, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia really, really wants to know who could possibly not like it:
THE Commonwealth Bank has threatened its employees with disciplinary action, including dismissal, if they do not report criticism of the bank made by others on social media channels, including Facebook.

...Bank employees have been told they must immediately notify their manager if they become aware of "inappropriate or disparaging content and information stored or posted by others", including non-employees, in the "social media environment".

..."Failure to comply with this policy is a serious disciplinary matter and may result in disciplinary action being taken against you, which may include the termination of your employment," the policy says.

..."Similarly, participation in a public debate about the four major banks increasing interest rates above the RBA increases or charging too much for their credit cards would also fall within the purview of the policy.

Sky News Reports On Yasi

Right now, Yasi is spinning away in the southeast corner of the Northern Territory. If one has to quarantine a vigorous tropical low, that's the place to do it, within the vastness of some of Australia's driest areas. Still, they aren't accustomed to lots of rain in those areas, so they will feel distress. And as the remains of the storm become caught up in the mid-latitude circulation, just like with Cyclone Anthony, there will be ample opportunities for heavy rains in Adelaide, Melbourne, and points southeast.

For such a powerful storm, the amounts of rain weren't earth-shattering, but that was only because the storm was moving so fast that heavy rain didn't linger too long. Flooding still occurred, however, because the ground was already saturated from weeks of prior rains.

In coastal areas, Yasi appears to have denuded all the trees that it didn't knock over first. Entire forests were stripped of leaves. Buildings that stood for generations caved in under the intense dynamic pressure. So, this was a wind disaster, first and foremost.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

DMTC's 2nd Annual "Cake Auction Fundraiser"

DMTC is going to do a cake-auction fundraiser on Saturday evening. We had one of these last year, but we had it on a Sunday evening after a show, and we are hoping that holding it in a prime-time Saturday-evening slot will be more-convenient for everyone. Last year's cake auction was fun: this year's cake auction will be better!:
DMTC's 2nd Annual "Cake Auction Fundraiser"

Bring a Cake, Buy a Cake (or Brownies, cookies, fudge, etc)

Bring your favorite cake, brownies, etc, to be auctioned off and come bid on the wide variety of delicious desserts available

Saturday, February 5, 2011 at 7:30pm
Admission is FREE!

There will be free lemonade and coffee served during the evening. Beer, wine and mixed cocktails are available to purchase from our bar during this event, there will also be entertainment! A fun evening for the whole family. All proceeds go to DMTC's various programs.

Cheryl Bly-Chester Starts Cable TV Ad Campaign

In her campaign for the Fourth Assembly District Seat, Cheryl Bly-Chester is starting a Cable TV ad campaign:
Cheryl Bly-Chester Launches Cable TV Campaign To Supplement Radio Ads

Cheryl Bly-Chester announced today that she has launched an aggressive district-wide cable tv ad campaign, focused on her experience as a small business owner working in the 4th district's key local industries.

"I want to keep this campaign focused on improving the economy of our 4th district communities - and all of California," said Bly-Chester.

You can view the ad at

TEXT: AD:30 "Work"

I'm Cheryl Bly-Chester. I'm a small business owner with 35 years experience working in our key local industries. I know how to get our local economy moving again. After being laid off in a merger, I started my own company, while raising three children as a single mom. I understand the pressures that many of you face worrying about job security, and your families. I refuse to leave our children a legacy of crushing debt and failed schools. I'm a business owner - with real-world experience. Let's get California back to work.

U.S. Agents Dying In Order Not To Offend The Gun Lobby

The ATF is scared of the U.S. gun lobby and their useful-idiot Second-Amendment-fanatic lackies, particularly since there is Big Money to be made from smuggling and illegal gun sales and the people making the Big Money have guns. It's no surprise that our border agents are being killed:
In a sign of the cost of widespread U.S. weapons smuggling into Mexico, federal law enforcement sources have confirmed that two guns, part of a series of purchases that were being monitored by authorities, were found at the scene of the firefight that killed a U.S. Border Patrol agent in southern Arizona.

Sources said U.S. authorities did not have the ability to adequately monitor the movement of the guns toward the southern border, in part because current laws and low levels of staffing.

..."My worst fear was that they would be used in a homicide of a Mexican military official or a Mexican police official. It crossed my mind that they would be used against U.S. forces, but I didn't think it would happen this soon," said another federal law enforcement source.

The disclosure comes amid a widening congressional investigation into allegations lodged by whistleblowers within the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. They allege the agency has been aware of the purchase of assault weapons in the U.S. by buyers suspected of selling across the border, but failed to adequately track them.'"

It's Our Product, But We Have Nothing To Do With Its Sale

Disastrous distance here:
The chief executive of Lap-Band maker Allergan Inc. said he doesn't support an independently run Southern California billboard marketing campaign that promotes the weight-loss surgery with slogans such as: "Diets fail! The Lap-Band works!"

"That isn't the wording I would use. We put patients' welfare and safety at the top, so I wouldn't support it," David E.I. Pyott said in an interview Wednesday.

The Irvine company does not fund the 1-800-GET-THIN ads that were created by a marketing company that directs prospective patients to clinics that perform the weight-loss procedure using Allergan's device. The Lap-Band is a silicone ring that's surgically fitted over part of the stomach to discourage overeating.

...His remarks came as the Food and Drug Administration considers Allergan's request to allow the surgery on less-obese patients, a decision that would add millions more Americans to the pool of potential customers.

...Three Southern California patients have died after Lap-Band procedures, according to family members and autopsy reports in Los Angeles and Riverside counties.

Kristen Schaal Explains Rape On Comedy Central

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Rape Victim Abortion Funding
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire Blog</a>The Daily Show on Facebook

The complete silence of the GOP about this issue on their Party organ, FOX News, was spooky and positively Leninist. Complete silence, imposed from the top-down, was their best ally for a sneak attack, and they exploited it for all it was worth.

If a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it, indeed, it didn't happen.

Yasi Bulletins

Yasi thunders on in the Outback, causing no end of distress out there.

I have to agree about the Weather Channel here in the U.S., though. They scarcely mentioned Yasi at all, and focused all their energies on the big U.S. snowstorm. People! It's supposed to be the 'Weather' Channel, not the 'Those U.S. Snowstorms Large Enough To Inconvenience Well-Heeled Travelers At Major U.S. Airports' Channel!

Here is a selection of the bulletins they are posting:

Left: Daryl Webber (Black shirt) Mick Pearson (no shirt) and Andrew Schirner hold a party in their loungeroom celebrating surviving the cyclone. Rob Maccoll Source: News Limited

3.22am. Daryl Webber has told how he celebrated his 42nd birthday on Wednesday night waiting for Cyclone Yasi to smash down on his home at Silky Oak, 5km south of Tully. Little of the home he shared with his mates Andrew Schirner and Mick Pearson was left yesterday. But they managed to celebrate the passing of the cyclone with a beer and a laugh.

"I was yelling out, 'Stay down and duck for cover'. When the cyclone hit we just hoped for the best, because if the house went, we knew we would be gone, too."

Left: Landfall (source AU BOM)

Cyclone Yasi weakened to a tropical depression overnight and the cyclone warning for inland towns including Mt Isa was cancelled, though locals were warned winds could still reach 90km/h.

The hardest hit communities are Cardwell, Tully, Innisfail and Mission Beach. There are major concerns of flooding in Townsville, Ingham and Giru. Police will search today for a man last seen moving his boat before the cyclone struck.

...In one good news story a dad called Storm after his own dramatic birth saw his baby daughter safely delivered as the cyclone bore down on Innisfail.

...Until as late as Thursday night, meteorologists were not sure whether Yasi would wipe out a large town. In the 24 hours before landfall, Yasi had been tracking straight for Cairns, before twisting south towards Innisfail.

Then, for three hours before it devastated even smaller communities along the Cassowary Coast, it started to slow - just in time to avoid coinciding with a king tide that would have produced killer storm surges.

Yasi's eventual landfall, in the tiny communities midway between Cairns and Townsville, made all the difference between property destruction and death.

...4.18am The Courier-Mail reports one of two men reported missing in the Innisfail area has been located and police are optimistic another man, last seen moving his boat in Port Hinchinbrook, will be found.

"He said he was moving his vessel into the mangroves to be safe from the storm surge. We haven't heard from him," a police spokesman said. "We can't get into that area by foot. We're trying to get a police water search as soon as we can, as well as do an aerial survey of the area."

...2.11am The Daily Telegraph reports that in a sweep by helicopter from Cairns to Ingham it has counted at least 100 totally unsalvageable homes and countless more damaged properties.

...8.00pm Residents of Mt Isa - 800km the coast - are preparing for something they see as beyond their comprehension: a cyclone. The latest weather bureau report has the cyclone reaching Mt Isa at 1am Queensland time (2am AEDT) as a category one event, which could bring damaging winds of up to 120km/h.

7.24pm People in remote parts of central Australia have been warned to prepare for possible isolation. They are urging anyone who doesn't want to become isolated in the community, or those who are frail or ill, to stay with friends and relatives in a regional centre such as Tennant Creek or Alice Springs

...5.34pm In Townsville today, Premier Anna Bligh say she's surprised category five cyclone didn't cause more damage but also warned that it is too early to know the true extent of the devastation.

It's been totally remarkable to me as I drive through and see the size of trees that were brought down in this event that we don't have massive structural damage here in Townsville.

5.12pm Farmers are unlikely to be covered for crop losses in the aftermath of Cyclone Yasi, the insurance industry says, as early predictions suggest more than 90 per cent of Australia's banana plantations were destroyed overnight.

4.54pm A church in Cardwell lacks walls and a roof. Its pews lie on the floor and a hymn book sits open at a page with the words: "We all thank our God with hearts and voices Who wondrous things hath done."

...1.08pm Here come the price rises. Remember when Cyclone Larry wiped out 90 per cent of our banana supply? The same applies to Yasi, with early estimates of $13 a kilo predicted right through 2011.

"It did then, and I can't see any reason why it wouldn't now," National Farmers Federation president Jock Laurie said referring to the 2006 disaster.
Reports from the ABC back then suggested prices would "skyrocket" to $6 a kilo. Australia doesn't import bananas, due to their pest-free status at home, so there's no avoiding it.

...11.19am This description of being in the eye of cyclone Yasi comes from Mission Beach local Ken Byce.

"It was very quiet, eerie, we could see the stars, it was clear, just amazing."
After experiencing hours of winds above 250km/h, the night suddenly turned quiet and serene at around midnight, Mr Byce said.

"Then it came back from the north. It had been blowing from the east and the south all through the first part, then she turned around and came from the north, that's what wiped out and flattened a few of the weaker houses."

...10.49am Anna Bligh spoke of victims who are suffering through their second bout of cyclone devastation after Larry. "They've lost their homes, they've lost their farms, they've lost their crops, they've lost their livelihood."

"Can I say to you: You are not alone."

...9.50am Daylight has revealed a devastated landscape at Innisfail, which was devastated by Cyclone Larry in 2006.

"It's just like the place has been sprayed with napalm," said Cassowary councillor Bill Horsford.

"There's hardly a green leaf around, all of the beautiful mountains are now brown."

...9.01am Callers to ABC radio describe their experiences in the cyclone, saying Larry was "nothing compared to this".

One woman tearfully pleads for people to think of those on farms as she tells of writing her phone number on her horses - which are now lost - in the hope they would be found again. Another resident describes "100 foot coconut trees" planted in 1918 bent in half by the winds.

...8.29am There is "virtually nothing standing" in Tully, says Tully Times reporter Linda Timms about the surrounding rainforest.

From her home at the base of Mount Tyson, Ms Timms said on ABC Radio she had no view of the mountain through the trees before the cyclone, but now it is a clear view.

...5.47am Funnily enough the US Weather Channel has gone nuts for the storm in the US, but makes no mention of cyclone Yasi. Their outlook for Cairns is for scattered thunderstorms and a 60% chance of rain.

...7.21pm Some historical context from one of the Bureau's forecasters, Alan Sharp, speaking to Reuters. If Yasi maintains its current intensity when it crosses the coast, it will be the strongest cyclone to hit Queensland since 1899

White Stripes- Live at Coachella

This was on the Coachella DVD. 2003, apparently. It's fun!

Yasi's Center Is Almost In the Northern Territory!

It's moving so fast! It must have simply wrecked northern Queensland as it passed through, like a locomotive passing through a living room....

The Real Ronald Reagan

This exchange with Newt Gingrich struck me as so idiotic:
VAN SUSTEREN: How is President Obama doing on Egypt?

NEWT GINGRICH: I don’t think they have a clue. I think it is very frightening to watch this administration.

VAN SUSTEREN: Would anybody?

NEWT GINGRICH: Reagan would have. Reagan would have had — Reagan would have thought about and studied radical Islam and Reagan would have had a strategy and would have pursued it. He didn’t do that in the 80s some are going to want to complain for a practical reason. Reagan had one foreign policy goal in the 1980s, defeat the Soviet Union. He didn’t divert himself because he wanted to defeat the Soviet Union.
that it reminded me of this:

Couldn't Get Anything Accomplished Tonight Because I Was Watching "Romy And Michele's High School Reunion"

Is that like, the best movie ever?

Like, duh!

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Puzzled By The Imprudence

Walking down the sidewalk, all I smelled was pot smoke. Where was it coming from?

Turned out, I was following a man who was walking down the sidewalk smoking pot from a pipe. He didn't seem to be deliberately provocative: all he was doing was walking down the sidewalk smoking pot from a pipe.

Which just strikes me as strange. But, hey, it's California....

Maude & Morty - First Meeting

The Adventures of Maude & Morty. First Meeting, sometime in the early 1980's.

'White Stripes' Folds Their Tent

Gabe also pointed me to this:
"The White Stripes would like to announce that today, February 2nd, 2011, their band has officially ended and will make no further new recordings or perform live," they said in a statement on their website.

"The reason is not due to artistic differences or lack of wanting to continue, nor any health issues as both Meg and Jack are feeling fine and in good health."

Rather, they said: "It is for a myriad of reasons, but mostly to preserve What is beautiful and special about the band and have it stay that way."
Gabe asked one question: "Who are the White Stripes?" and repeated another he saw somewhere on the Internet: "Does this mean the End of Rock?"

I responded to the first question with a brief capsule of information which proved to be incorrect (I thought they were a brother/sister duo, but apparently they are exes), mostly because I don't know that much about them. I like them a lot, from what little I know of them, but I'm just not that invested.

Now, regarding the question whether Rock and Roll can possibly survive the demise of a two-person band, that reminds me of a friend of mine who woke up one day and realized it wasn't 1980 anymore. The first question on his lips that day was "Is Rock Dead?" He started chasing down every young person he encountered to see what they thought.

Nothing must be scarier, if you are a normal 20-year-old walking down the street and minding your own business, than having a scary 50-year-old suddenly approach and demand an answer to the question "Is Rock Dead?" Some said yes, some said they preferred Rap, a few said no, but most apparently said they didn't know, and tried to squirm away.

So, to answer that momentous question, all I have to say is:

"We'll see."

Meanwhile, In Library News....

Gabe points me to this:
Look who is the featured speaker at the Special Librarians Association annual conference in June?
OMIGOD, it's Thomas Friedman, friendly enemy of all logical thought!

And what is Thomas Friedman doing today? According to Alex Pareene at Salon, Friedman has brought his special touch to Egyptian coverage:
What the turmoil in Egypt also demonstrates is how much Israel is surrounded by a huge population of young Arabs and Muslims who have been living outside of history — insulated by oil and autocracy from the great global trends. But that’s over.
Pareene comments: "I don't know what this means. Egypt has the Internet, and major world cities, and massive unemployment due in part to 'global trends,' and many young Egyptians attend college abroad, and they are basically as much a part of "history" as anyone else, anywhere."
Sadly, I don't think Matt Taibbi, renowned authority on Friedman's casual acquaintance with logic, is yet on Friedman's trail this week. The trail is too fresh. So, one must make do with Taibbi's greatest hits - like this!:
Thomas Friedman does not get these things right even by accident. It's not that he occasionally screws up and fails to make his metaphors and images agree. It's that he always screws it up. He has an anti-ear, and it's absolutely infallible; he is a Joyce or a Flaubert in reverse, incapable of rendering even the smallest details without genius. The difference between Friedman and an ordinary bad writer is that an ordinary bad writer will, say, call some businessman a shark and have him say some tired, uninspired piece of dialogue: Friedman will have him spout it. And that's guaranteed, every single time. He never misses.

Tully Looks Like Ground-Zero For Yasi

Tully and everywhere around is going to be a terrible mess:
YASI - the first tropical cyclone since 1918 to strike with the maximum intensity of category 5 - has slammed into the coast near Mission Beach midway between Innisfail and the evacuated town of Cardwell, 1500km north of Brisbane.

Tens of thousands of people were cowering in blacked-out homes and emergency shelters early today as the most savage cyclone to strike northern Australia in nearly a century unleashed 285km/h winds, ocean surges and destruction.

...Emergency services late last night received the first desperate call for help from a man and four other people, aged in their 60s, who were sheltering in a two-storey apartment building at Port Hinchinbrook, outside Cardwell, that was being engulfed by the storm surge. But there was nothing that could be done to help them because conditions were too dangerous.

"They have been told to go to the second floor and . . . bunker down. There is going to be a storm surge up to the top of the first storey and they are on the second storey," said Disaster Co-ordinator Ian Stewart .

...Ms Bligh warned record high seas were to be expected and that waves of 9.5m had been recorded off Townsville, the highest level since measurements began in 1975. Speaking a few hours before the cyclone was due to strike, the Premier warned the nation to brace for "devastation and heartbreak on an unprecedented scale".

Compounding this, the "central spine" of power transmission towers was at high risk, and she said there would be catastrophic electricity failure across north Queensland if they were brought down by the destructive winds.

..."We as as a community, as Queenslanders and Australians, need to brace ourselves for what we might find when we wake up. Without doubt we are set to discover scenes of devastation and heartbreak on an unprecedented scale," Ms Bligh said. "This cyclone is like nothing we have ever deal with before as a nation." With many people defying evacuation orders, despite the presence of soldiers and police, Mr Stewart warned that emergency services might not be able to reach them until the danger had passed.

"My message was simply that everyone has to be a first responder in these situations," Mr Stewart said.

...As Yasi advanced on the coast, the Bureau of Meteorology issued a tropical cyclone warning of unprecedented scale, covering 1100km of the coastline from Cape Flattery, north of Cooktown, to Sarina, south of Mackay.

Astonishingly, the warning also covered inland communities as distant as Mount Isa, 900km west of Townsville. While most cyclones quickly lose intensity once they cross the coast, Yasi was set to thunder on to hit the inland town of Georgetown, 380km west of Cairns, this morning, with category 3 winds of 90-125km/h.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Demonstration At 16th & J Streets Supporting Egyptian Protestors

Ever since the Governor moved in across the street, to the SW corner of this intersection, this traditional location for street protests has gained significance.

Today, starting about 4 p.m., local protesters supporting the protesters in Egypt were present at the NW corner. Their energy eclipsed that of the few regular protesters (like Jerry Frink) on the NE corner.

Kelsey B At Avalon

Apparently she's getting blogger buzz too for "Beauty Queen".

Massive U.S. Winter Storm

Bruce just called from Albuquerque, saying the high tomorrow is supposed to be 14 F, it's windy, and trucks are dropping cinders for traction on Lead Avenue.

This morning, John, in comments, talked about Oklahoma City:
It arrived last night in Oklahoma City. Currently there is around 6" of snow with a temperature of 7 F and 30-40 mph north winds. For perspective, we will be colder today through Thursday than Fairbanks, Moscow and McMurdo Base! My walk to work this morning (pointless since every business in the city except mine is closed) was one of the most extreme winter experiences I've had in 40 years.
Last night, using my newfound access to Cable TV, I watched the snowflakes in Oklahoma City, and watched the excitement building on the Weather Channel.

Jerry in northern Indiana echoes that excitement:
It has begun -- first flakes observed at 2:58 P. M. EST.

Have you seen the warning map at the weather service page? We are under a blizzard warning!

Winter storm warnings are out from New Mexico to Maine. This could be one for the record books!

Egypt's Problems Are Mostly About The Price Of Grain

I remember a televised interview with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat back in the 1970's (perhaps on Ted Koppel's 'Nightline') where he discussed, quite candidly, that his decision to back away from his alliance with the Soviet Union, and to ally himself instead with the United States, was driven almost entirely by his need to feed the insatiable, growing population of Egypt. He had recently visited North Dakota, and was stunned to learn that that state's population of only 600,000 people produced more food, more grain, than all of Egypt did (with its many millions). It scarcely mattered what the nature of the Egyptian government was like - communist, capitalist, Islamist, whatever - if it couldn't feed the population at a reasonable price, it would soon be history. Sadat gambled that the U.S. would be a more-stable partner than the USSR, leading to a more satisfactory outcome for Egypt, and he was right. For nearly thirty years, Hosni Mubarak was the beneficiary of Anwar Sadat's bold moves.

But times change....

Low grain prices depend on several things, including the price of petroleum. There have been few major oil strikes in recent years, Chinese demand is insatiable, and pumping is nearly at full capacity, which leads to higher prices and makes petroleum susceptible to price shocks. In addition, recent American policies, such as ethanol supports, indirectly raise the price of American grain, and have led to a bubble in farm-property prices in the Great Plains. Thus, through short-sighted policies, we have helped destabilize Egypt and made its government vulnerable. To the extent that our national security depends on Egyptian stability, our own agricultural policies have helped undermine our national security.

This article also points to "quantitative easing" as a problem too. We export our economic problems, caused by the housing bubble, causing yet new problems that aggravate our old security problems:
For U.S. farmers, Egypt presents the eighth largest export market, much of it wheat sales, since the country is the world's leading wheat importer. American wheat and corn are sold across North Africa and the Middle East, prompting worries by U.S. farmers that Egypt's problems will spread throughout the region.

Wheat prices have risen by more than 70 percent over the past 12 months, and corn prices climbed in mid-January to their highest level since July 2008, a period when global food prices soared.

..."There are a lot of different sticks in the fire here," said Jerry Gidel, the president of Midland Research Inc., which provides assessments of financial risk. What happens to the price of one food crop affects others, he added, because "it is a human-consumption commodity, and things can get emotional, and they do get emotional. And right now, we're kind of in one of those periods."

Category Five Cyclone Yasi Charges The Coast

Awesome in its destructive power, Category Five Cyclone Yasi is coming in fast for places like Innisfail, which only recently recovered from 2006's Cyclone Larry. Yasi is bigger and more destructive than Larry, though, and its power will be felt far, far inland:
CYCLONE YASI has been upgraded to Category Five and is likely to cross the coast earlier than expected at 10pm Wednesday evening, according to the latest update from the Bureau of Meteorology.

Cyclone Yasi is expected to cross just south of Cairns, in the latest update from the Bureau of Meterology.

...“Even as you go inland we will see very destructive winds,” a Bureau of Meteorology spokesman said.

“Even when it gets to places like George Town and Croyden we will still be seeing a category two, and cyclone watch as far as Mt Isa.

...“It is a very large system, certainly larger than what we saw with Larry and the damaging winds will be a lot stronger than Larry,” he said.

The eye of the cyclone, around 60km wide, is expected to cross through Cairns or just south of the city between Cairns and Innisfail.

More than 30,000 Queenslanders are being relocated in a desperate bid to protect them from the fury of Cyclone Yasi, as authorities brace for a massive assault on the state.

...``This is probably the biggest cyclone in living memory,'' said Cairns Mayor Val Schier.

...Yasi has also sparked flood fears in inland Gulf of Carpentaria communities such as Georgetown, Croydon, Forsayth, Einasleigh, Normanton, Burketown, Karumba and Doomadgee. Low-lying Georgetown homes are considered most at risk of flooding.

Hundreds of Cairns residents last night began fleeing up the Great Dividing Range to the Atherton Tablelands.

Tablelands officials have investigated the possibility of housing some of the displaced in the Lotus Glen prison.

...Entire supermarkets from Townsville to Cooktown have been emptied of supplies in a rush on panic-buying.

Motorists filling up vehicles with fuel formed queues hundreds of metres long outside service stations.

Power is likely to be cut for up to a week in some areas with the winds likely to damage powerlines and substations.

The only relief for residents was a down-grading of the forecast storm surge from 6m to between 2-2.5m, with Yasi due to hit at low tide, Ms Bligh said.

...Eleven planes ferried more than 250 hospital patients from Cairns to Brisbane on Tuesday night in what's believed to be Queensland's biggest mass medical evacuation, as the Government took the drastic decision to evacuate 255 patients from the Cairns Base and Cairns Private hospitals.

The evacuation involved some of the state's sickest patients, including those being treated in intensive care, as well as premature babies, heavily pregnant women, people with heart conditions and others requiring renal dialysis.

...Cyclone Yasi is twice the size of Cyclone Larry that devastated Innisfail in 2006 and is packing winds of 250km/h and over.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Dramatic Footage From Egypt

Back and forth for control of that bridge.

Preparing For Yasi

To me, right now, it looks like it's heading for Innisfail, just like Cyclone Larry did in 2006.

Mount Shinmoedake In Kyushu Erupts

That volcanic bombardment is amazing!

Kelvin-Helmholtz Instability, Twisting Contrails And The Lunatic Fringe

A member of the UFO conspiracy set dragged my blogpost from three years ago regarding twisting contrails (as observed by Traci Sotuela in Dixon, CA) into a discussion forum attempting to explain an interesting picture that appears to be of Kelvin-Helmholtz instability.

Despite superficial similarities, twisting contrails are a different phenomena, and probably shouldn't be brought up in this context. Part of me wanted to say, "hey, stop!" But it's important to remember that we live in a big, wonderful world full of amazing things, and we can't learn much if we don't compare and contrast things that might look similar, but are, in fact, different.


As if the Queenslanders haven't had enough on their minds, with massive flooding and Cyclone Anthony, here comes Category Three Tropical Cyclone Yasi, a serious monster which will come in with such vigor and drive, that even after it goes extra-tropical, it will still be recognizable after crossing through the entire interior of Australia and exiting around Adelaide. It's still way out there, though, so people will have lots of time to ponder their sorry fates. The path is still a little vague, but FNMOC suggests it will cross the coast between Innisfail & Townsville Wednesday morning California time (Wednesday night, their time).:
Premier Anna Bligh today said Hamilton Island, in the Whitsundays, was starting to evacuate its guests, and other resort islands were preparing to evacuate tomorrow.

The Bureau of Meteorology upgraded Yasi to category three at 5pm today.

...The cyclone was expected to intensify into a category four by 10am tomorrow as it moved west over the Coral Sea.

It is forecast to cross land between Innisfail and Mackay late Wednesday or early Thursday.

...Falls of up to 1000mm could hit areas that have already been flooded this month, and the Government was working on models to show what that would mean for central Queensland.

...Yasi was not expected to dissipate quickly, or turn off the coast, Ms Bligh said.

"All of the modeling right now says this is going to cross our coast ... and it may well be one of the largest and most significant cyclones that we've ever had to deal with," she said.

...If it hits as a category three, wind gusts up to 200km/h can be expected, and 250km/h if it builds to a four, as Cyclone Larry was when it devastated Innisfail and surrounding communities in March 2006.

It's currently off Vanuatu, about 1975km east, northeast of Townsville, and moving westward at about 30km/h.

...She said the last cyclone of that magnitude to hit Queensland was category four Cyclone Larry.

Larry left a trail of destruction including damage to 10,000 homes and a repair bill of more than a billion dollars.

Ms Farrell said there were many measures on which to judge cyclones, including wind strength and the physical size of the storm.

In terms of wind strength, Yasi had the potential to rival Larry, but it was of a far greater physical size.

"One measure is how far do the gales extend from the central eye. In this case, Yasi is certainly a bigger storm," she said.

She said forecasts for Yasi would be refined as it approached, but all the modelling showed it was on course to hit the coast.

She said Yasi was a fairly fast moving system, meaning it was unlikely, on current information, to stay in the same location and dump vast amounts of rain on an already flood-devastated state.

...Rockhampton Mayor Brad Carter said he had great concerns the Fiji storm could become a large rain depression. If it hit the Fitzroy catchment, it could have a major impact on his city, still recovering from flooding that started last month.

Hosni Mubarak On SNL

Powerful Storm Crossing U.S. This Week

Jerry is both worried and excited by this week's developments:
The shortwave (characterized as "tremendous" in the forecast discussion!) that's coming onshore in California looks like it will develop into a huge snowstorm in our area.

The 500-mb runs look very ominous.
453 AM EST SUN JAN 30 2011


Looks like classic trouble!

I was surprised by the strength of the storm as it came into CA. I didn’t expect much rain, so, warnings aside, I proceeded to do some painting outside early Saturday afternoon. Substantial rain overnight washed off a substantial amount of the paint I had applied, which will require a do-over.

I notice that it’s going to get freakin’ cold in NM (or freakin’ cold, relatively speaking, for the SW). It’s almost like it’s winter, or something….

Boob Of A Bartender

Most of the weekend, I was employed in various DMTC-related tasks. On Saturday night, I was virtually the only person available to bartend DMTC's bar.

I'm a complete boob with alcohol, and I didn't understand Jean's directions regarding the creation of cocktails. Thus, abruptly confronted with the need to slake the thirsts of the Saturday-night crowd, I created mixed drinks that were considerably stronger and certainly more voluminous than intended. As the evening progressed, sales for wine and beer slowed, and sales of spirits soared. I received generous tips and great praise. The audience seemed increasingly happy, and when they returned to their seats for Act 2, their applause for the show was very (perhaps even unnaturally) boisterous. I have since been chastised, and it won't happen again, but I was successful in bringing in more money from alcohol sales on Saturday night than on any other evening since DMTC started selling alcohol (with the single exception of New Year's Eve).

On Saturday around noon, it seemed dry enough to return to painting the back porch. I painted some of the porch's pillars a pastel green. Unfortunately, it rained harder than I expected Saturday night and Sunday morning, washing off a significant fraction of the paint I had just applied, thus necessitating a redo next weekend. The paint washed into a concrete basin under the porch, creating a nice but very peculiar milky tone to the water that gathered there.