Saturday, August 04, 2018

Not Ever Going To Quite Finish?

In a weird state of suspended animation this Saturday afternoon. Like a series approximation falling short of its limit. Jack the contractor fellow who has been painting my house and fixing stuff, has been slowed down and frustrated by all kinds of things, but mostly by the difficulty of working with the gutter.

Today we were certain the job would end, for sure, but he discovered he lacked a critical piece. He headed off to the hardware store, but after apparently purchasing it, his truck broke down. So, maybe we won't finish after all. I just hope he doesn't give it all up and join a monastery instead.

We're Right in the Smoke Plume

I'm thinking visibility of four miles. Not good for the lungs.

I'm just puzzled why the smoke is here. Winds are from the south, from the wrong direction.

Interesting photo from The Atlantic. Caption reads: "A DC-10 air tanker drops fire retardant along the crest of a hill to protect the two bulldozers below that were cutting fire lines at the River Fire (Mendocino Complex) near Lakeport, California, on August 2, 2018."

That Ranch Fire is making a big break east. Like trying to stop a freight train.

Friday, August 03, 2018

Orange Sky At Dusk

The unrelenting orange light of a typically apocalyptic California summer. With four major fires within 150 miles radius of Sacramento, and any number of smaller fires, there’s just no escaping the smoke plumes.

Getting Attitude From My Candy Bar

Where The Wind Blows (From Baz Luhrmann's "The Great Gatsby")

Can't shake this song:

Healthy, Then a Heart Attack

I guess I wasn't alone when I had my heart attack in February. This 46-year-old Sacramento personal trainer simultaneously suffered something very similar, but was hospitalized at Mercy instead.

I find this puzzling. About the "surge" they don't actually say. But there was a lot of flu and cold viruses going around at that time, people were getting sick, and I bet others were experiencing the same thing at the same time.
Robinson said that, for most of his life, he had been the guy who saw a doctor only once a year for an annual checkup. Last February, though, he got sidelined for a short time by the flu virus, he said.

Once Robinson felt better, he said, he returned to the gym but felt really tired. He took his dog out for a walk near his home in midtown Sacramento, he said, but he felt so exhausted he had a hard time getting back home.

“I was thinking it would just get better, but I noticed it wasn’t getting better,” Robinson said. “I checked my heart rate with an app on my phone, and my heart was beating at 155 beats a minute nonstop, so I made an appointment with my primary care.”

The doctor’s assistant took his vitals and then told him to get to a hospital right away, Robinson said, and even though he felt a little better, he went over to Mercy General Hospital in east Sacramento. The waiting room in the emergency department was packed with people who had the flu, Robinson recalled, but as soon the staff took his vitals, he got pulled to the front of the line.

Maybe Heading Towards a Truce?

I find these peace talks to be intensely-interesting. At least since 2011 it's been clear that that there was a path for the Americans and the Taliban to settle their differences, with the Taliban pledging to not host foreign terrorists and the Americans dramatically reducing their presence, but both sides kept fighting. Suddenly, though, both sides want to settle. Even though the article doesn't mention it, part of impulse may be the arrival in Afghanistan in 2014 of ISIS. The Taliban is likely as powerful now as it's ever going to get and they need to lock in their gains now:
In November, Chris Kolenda and Robin Raphel boarded a plane to Doha, Qatar, for a conversation with Taliban representatives. It was the beginning of a quiet channel, never authorized by U.S. officials—who neither paid them nor asked them to carry any messages—that proved to be instrumental in convincing the Trump administration, and particularly senior Pentagon and U.S. military officials, that there was a real chance to broker an end to the war.

Kolenda, an Afghanistan veteran himself, had been here before. He had been part of an ultimately fruitless attempt during the Obama administration to talk with the Taliban. But this time, talking with the Taliban in Doha, “I was struck by what I detected was a much higher level of seriousness about bringing the conflict to a close than I saw in 2011,” Kolenda told The Daily Beast.

An EF-3 Fire Tornado

The fire whirl, or fire tornado, that swept into Redding, California on July 26, appears to have had winds as strong — if not stronger than — an EF-3 tornado, according to the National Weather Service.

Why it matters: The Carr Fire now ranks as one of the state's largest and most destructive wildfires on record. The extreme fire behavior exhibited on July 26 allowed the blaze to jump a natural fire break — the Sacramento River, and enter the city of Redding. So far, the fire has claimed at least 6 lives.

The National Weather Service typically conducts damage surveys after suspected tornadoes, and determines the strength of such an event based on the damage it causes. In this case, the Weather Service and CalFire are conducting a joint investigation.

So far, they've found evidence, including transformers that were twisted and thrown to the ground, of winds in excess of 143 miles per hour, according to a tweet from the Weather Service office in Sacramento.

“It was definitely a massive one, and that just speaks to how intense the heating was,” National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Kochasic told the Los Angeles Times. “It created such a massive whirl that it looked like a tornado … and it takes an impressive amount of heating and local wind swirling up to create something like that. It was quite a monster.”
Maybe the most powerful tornado in California history:
The Los Angeles Times reports that the so-called fire tornado lasted about an hour and a half, measuring up to 500 yards (five football fields) in diameter, with wind speeds estimated as exceeding 143 miles per hour. Fire tornadoes are caused by the extreme amount of heat often generated by long-burning wildfires, the Times notes, but are still exceptionally rare. “Depending on the final number, this might actually be the strongest ‘tornado’ in California history, even if it wasn’t formally a tornado,” one scientist told the Times. “But this fire whirl was almost certainly longer-lived, larger in spatial scope and perhaps even stronger from a wind speed perspective.”

Here's Hoping!

I'll believe it when I see it:
The National Rifle Association warns that it is in grave financial jeopardy, according to a recent court filing obtained by Rolling Stone, and that it could soon “be unable to exist… or pursue its advocacy mission.” (Read the NRA’s legal complaint at the bottom of this story.)

The reason, according to the NRA filing, is not its deep entanglement with alleged Russian agents like Maria Butina. Instead, the gun group has been suing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state’s financial regulators since May, claiming the NRA has been subject to a state-led “blacklisting campaign” that has inflicted “tens of millions of dollars in damages.”

In the new document — an amended complaint filed in U.S. District Court in late July — the NRA says it cannot access financial services essential to its operations and is facing “irrecoverable loss and irreparable harm.”

Specifically, the NRA warns that it has lost insurance coverage — endangering day-to-day operations. “Insurance coverage is necessary for the NRA to continue its existence,” the complaint reads. Without general liability coverage, it adds, the “NRA cannot maintain its physical premises, convene off-site meetings and events, operate educational programs … or hold rallies, conventions and assemblies.”

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Madden-Julian Oscillation

The last month, what's known as the Madden-Julian Oscillation of the atmosphere has favored the Western Pacific with tropical storm formation, and depressed storms most other places. I've never seen a month like July 2018, where summertime skies were mostly-clear all the way between Florida and Africa, and summertime Atlantic tropical storm formation was non-existent.

That favorable pattern probably won't last the entire season, but every day without a tropical storm nearby is a good day.

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

That Building Rising at 19th & J Streets is Coming Along

"Treasures: Lost, Found, and Created" - Ballet Studio Summer Showcase - July 27, 2018

McClatchy High School Auditorium.

"A New Attitude": Dana Urban-Cole, William Alexander Freeland, and Erika Black-Mary.

Final bows.

"Streets of London"

Love these iPhone apps. Yup, 93 decibels in here.

Enjoying Baz Luhrmann Talking About His Version of "The Great Gatsby"

Awkward in the Neighborhood This Morning

It's August 1st, and two doors down, there is an enormous pile of furniture and personal belongings in the street.

Recreating The World of Ancient Greek Music

Getting a better understanding:
[T]he sense and sound of ancient Greek music has proved incredibly elusive. This is because the terms and notions found in ancient sources – mode, enharmonic, diesis, and so on – are complicated and unfamiliar. And while notated music exists and can be reliably interpreted, it is scarce and fragmentary. What could be reconstructed in practice has often sounded quite strange and unappealing – so ancient Greek music had by many been deemed a lost art. Indeed, ancient Greek music has long posed a maddening enigma. Yet music was ubiquitous in classical Greece, with most of the poetry from around 750BC to 350BC – the songs of Homer, Sappho, and others – composed and performed as sung music, sometimes accompanied by dance. Literary texts provide abundant and highly specific details about the notes, scales, effects, and instruments used. The lyre was a common feature, along with the popular aulos, two double-reed pipes played simultaneously by a single performer so as to sound like two powerful oboes played in concert.

But recent developments have excitingly overturned this gloomy assessment. A project to investigate ancient Greek music that I have been working on since 2013 has generated stunning insights into how ancient Greeks made music. My research has even led to its performance – and hopefully, in the future, we’ll see many more such reconstructions.

Another Day, Another Meal

Cryogenic freezing is considered to be more sci-fi than actual science, but now, worms that were trapped, frozen in ice since the late Pleistocene epoch — Ice Age — woke up from the longest nap and started looking for food and eating as if nothing had happened.

Ancient roundworms, also called nematodes were found in a chunk of Siberian permafrost that solidified about 42,000 years ago and remained frozen since then.

Researchers who made the latest find discovered that as soon as they thawed, they started moving and looking for food. The team of researchers includes scientists from Princeton, reports RT.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Carr Firenado

The Carr Fire continues to amaze:
The Carr Fire's rotating smoke plume acted as a chimney, venting heat and smoke away from the blaze, and sucking in air from surrounding areas. Plume-dominated fires, Lareau told Axios, occur in settings with relatively light winds but plenty of instability in the atmosphere, and their behavior can be erratic.

What's so rare, though, is to have a large part of the plume spinning like a tornado one might see in Oklahoma, creating damaging winds on its periphery, and rendering firefighting efforts futile.

1.) Lareau said when the rotating part of the smoke plume intensified, the top of the smoke plume suddenly ballooned from 18,000 feet high to 38,000 feet, a feat that might not have been possible otherwise.

2.) This growth sucked more air into the fire, and indicates it was burning hotter.

A key area of inquiry is how the fire's exhaust plume began rotating in the first place, at around 6:50 p.m. local time on July 27. By 7:45 p.m., the core of the vortex had stretched vertically all the way to 15,000 feet, a phenomena normally seen in intense tornadoes.

Physics is Just a Pesky Secondary Concern

Back in the 80's, I talked to an Electrical Engineer from India, who rolled his eyes as he described a Bollywood scene where the villain flicked a switch to detonate explosives tied around a distant damsel, yet the hero was able to race on horseback and rescue his beloved before the signal arrived.

Dog Stole the GoPro


Hotel Transylvania 3

Saw this a week ago. It just wasn't me. OK film, if you aren't me.