Waxing Warmer

By: Bogon , 4:09 AM GMT on May 04, 2014

Since February this blog featured a polar projection of snow cover in the northern hemisphere. In my part of the world that view is no longer germane. Except on high mountains all the snow and ice are confined north of the forty-fifth parallel. In the eastern hemisphere frozen stuff has retreated north of sixty degrees. Only in Canada around Hudson Bay does snow linger south of that latitude. Folks in Labrador are still waiting for spring. It may be a long wait this year.

Here in the Dry Slot it's time to start looking south for clues to what the weather has in store. While it is still too early in the season to worry much about hurricanes, it will be tropical heat, not polar chill, that drives the circulation in my neighborhood this summer.

There's a literal sea change in conditions in the tropical Pacific. Here's an animated loop from the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center. It shows sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean over the last ninety days. Note the shift from blue to orange in the region west of the Galapagos Islands.

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The beach is a work in progress. Wind and waves are constantly shifting sand. Here bits of sea shell add darker tones to the mix.
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Robin Nest I
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on Boston Common
Central Burying Ground
Cactus Flower (Bogon)
Once a year the spiky little green lump shows a softer side.
Cactus Flower

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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108. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
9:48 PM GMT on June 30, 2014
Bogon has created a new entry.
107. Bogon
4:55 PM GMT on June 29, 2014
Well, it's been a week since the MJO arrived, and already we're watching blobs in two places.

Two are in the East Pacific, where the wave of rising air has had more time to work. The other is the one you're talking about, Ylee, down by Florida.

Currently we're on the other side of a front from that blob (invest 91L). The front has brought us a taste of New England summer with a dry and relatively cool northeast wind. The blob is interacting with the front, which has pushed the blob south (away from me) and continues to siphon off its energy. The storm looks less well organized today than it did last night. (Doc Masters says it's better organized. Better listen to him.)

In the short run I figure we're more at risk of rain from the mesoscale storms blowing across the Mississippi than we are from 91L. WU's forecast track takes 91L toward Florida. It's going to hang around down there bothering Skyepony through midweek. After that it blows back up the coast. Depending on how big the storm grows, and how far west the track veers, we might get some rain from 91L the second time around. According to the models that won't happen before Thursday or Friday (which is long enough for the models to change their minds).
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106. Ylee
2:14 AM GMT on June 29, 2014
That blob to the SE of you could always throw some stuff your way, perhaps?
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105. Bogon
6:40 PM GMT on June 28, 2014
Had a setback on the waxing this morning. It got cooler, thanks to a high up north somewhere.
Oh, well. Wax on; wax off.

For a couple of days there it was kind of rainish. Clouds came drifting this way and that. I went for a drive yesterday afternoon, and it rained on my car two or three times.

Not for long, and not much. It was enough to clean the bird poop off my windshield. The local weather history lists several rain events at the airport, but it's a hundredth of an inch here and two or three hundredths there. Add it all up, and it's still dry. WU's local forecast offers little hope for more rain before midweek.
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104. Bogon
4:16 PM GMT on June 26, 2014
Hey, Ylee. Thanks for that input.

I expect I would like having a search window handy at all times. One issue I have with carrying a phone is the purely physical consideration of where to keep it. Any device large enough to have a useful screen is big enough to make an uncomfortable lump in a pocket somewhere. I already have a list of items (keys, wallet etc.) competing for space about my person. I like hands free, don't wear much jewelry. I don't like having a lot of stuff hanging off of me. I'm not used to it. When I worked in electronics, my job didn't permit rings, bracelets, necklaces etc., because they could touch the equipment and short something out. Not to mention presenting a shock hazard to me. =8o}

Ha, I might like something like Google Glass, because I wear glasses anyway. A heads-up display without having to drive an F-16!

    *    *    *

We got a pretty good rain shower last night. It was a tiny little cloud, so it only rained about ten minutes, but it was steady moderate rain while it lasted. That ought to keep the yard going for a little while.
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103. Ylee
3:55 PM GMT on June 26, 2014
I'm not that much younger than you, so I'm not sure if my thoughts are relevant for the Millennials. Calpoppy's excellent photo hikes, or my webcam blogs, are no substitute for experiencing the mountains or the seas in person, IMO.

I use my smart phone as a tool(looking up business phone numbers and addresses, bank account info), instead of social stuff like FB, or swapping photos.
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102. Bogon
8:04 PM GMT on June 24, 2014
Mass, I don't know anyone our age who welcomed Windows 8 with enthusiasm. For the last year or two, when I read a computer review, there is usually a section that talks about whether you can still get version 7, which was widely acknowledged as a pretty good version of Windows. Reports on Windows 8 mention innovation, or the fact that you can run it on mobile devices. They don't talk so much about being user-friendly. Some of them come with instructions for disabling the new look and feel in order to restore the classic Windows user experience. From what you say about version 8.1, Microsoft may have decided to back off the novelty and cater more to older customers, who have had time to form habits and preconceptions about how their computer should work. A lot of folks have learned to be productive in a certain kind of environment. Why throw away that human capital?

I'm still running Vista on both a desktop and a laptop. One of these days I'll have to upgrade the hardware. That will be soon enough to worry about what operating system to use. My current desktop is home built. I enjoy doing that, so I'm liable to do it again. When you build it yourself, you have to choose and install the OS yourself. If I buy a commodity system, the choice will be made for me.

So far I have successfully resisted the temptation of mobile devices. Wife has two smart phones (one for work, one for private life) and an iPad. That seems like enough for one family. My cousin really likes his Droid. I have looked at it; there is a lot to like about it. Part of my problem is that I get tired of seeing so many people, especially young people, focused on a handheld plastic widget. It's as if the minute virtual world inside the gizmo is better than the real world outside.

I guess I still think the larger universe has a lot to offer. Does that attitude date me?
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101. masshysteria
3:57 PM GMT on June 24, 2014
Hi Bogon!

Thanks for your post the other day and the link to the sensitive key issue. Unfortunately, the information on the link is for those with Windows 7. My difficulty is with vanishing posts or words while posting and seems to be a common thread amongst other Windows 8 or 8.1 users I know. Hopefully, when I can find the time, I'll be able to check out all the tutorials that come with Windows and this laptop. Just now, the narrator button accidentally switched on and a voice kept telling me what words I was typing. ARGH! LOL! Ah, better, now that I switched it off again! Nevertheless, after seven long months, I'm just so thankful to have a working home computer that gives me much needed daily access to the internet and WU blogs again! Hopefully, these keyboard irritants will straighten themselves out with a little time, information and practice.

It seems our respective regions have been fairly in sync as far as the lack of needed precipitation is concerned. Tomorrow night into Thurs. am could bring some needed local relief via thunderstorms and deluges of rain. Thankfully, our lawn hasn't seemed to suffer from the dry spell as yet and keeps my hubby busy mowing at least once a week. I'm so glad he enjoys the exercise! LOL!
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100. Bogon
12:34 PM GMT on June 24, 2014
Funny how that works, Ylee. :o)

It seldom has a noticeable effect in winter. During the cool season it can get downright soggy. But now, in the summer... these are the conditions that earned the blog its name.

For several days we were getting regular afternoon thunderboomers. In most cases they either missed or passed overhead as virga. One night (see #95) we got rain, but it was hard to tell how much. We went to the movies that night (Edge of Tomorrow, which was pretty good, by the way). At the mall, where the theater is located, there was a short but thorough soaking. I know, because wife sent me out into it to fetch the car. The ground was still wet when we got home. I don't know how much actually fell here, though. Judging by the condition of the yard I would guess not very much.
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99. Ylee
2:04 AM GMT on June 24, 2014
I keep forgetting you are in the Dry Slot. Silly me! ;' )
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98. Bogon
1:02 AM GMT on June 24, 2014
The leading edge of the Madden-Julian Oscillation is moving into the western hemisphere. That augurs a trend toward better rain chances. It may take a while to cancel the lingering effects of the brown downer.

Maybe that's why, in the phase chart, they plot the MJO's location at the trailing edge of the rising wave, which is currently in the western Pacific.

Add: in India the monsoon has stalled. I blame it on the brown downer, the negative half of the MJO wave. The Indian monsoon affects the fate of over a billion people.
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97. Bogon
11:27 PM GMT on June 23, 2014
Hey, Ylee.

The solar system simulation may be hackable. I noticed that, while a simulation was running, the address bar contained numbers, which I assume relate to the orbits and masses of planets. I didn't try to figure those out, but there are surely people out there who would.

Sometimes, when I log onto the site, there is a hall of fame list at the lower right. The top entries on the list boast in excess of 400 million points. The items are clickable. Not all the entries worked for me, but in some cases at least you can see what that person did to earn the listed score.

Speak for yourself about that saturated airmass! I mowed the lawn this morning, because today is somewhat cooler and dryer: high temp in the low to mid 80s, dewpoint in the low 60s. Such an opportunity is not to be wasted.

I only mowed to lop off the weeds and seeds. The yard is bone dry. The grass is growing unevenly. Parts of it are turning brown. Rain chances return later this week. If the current trend continues, I won't have to mow again for a good while. Next time it's liable to be 100°!
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96. Ylee
10:01 PM GMT on June 23, 2014
400 million points? Somebody must've hacked it! :' )

The SE is definately under a saturated airmass now......
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95. Bogon
12:17 PM GMT on June 21, 2014
We finally got some rain last night.

For a couple of days in a row the thunderclouds rolled by, but somehow they missed. Friday morning I played disc golf, and it was easy to see that the park had had a lot of rain. There were runnels where water had displaced leaves and soil. The grass was still wet. The rain clouds must have sphinctered shut as they passed over my house, then loosed all that retained water a few miles south.

Yesterday it happened again, but this time there was a second wave. The rain came after dark — better late than never.

We have elevated chances for more rain today. There is a front hanging around. Sometimes it is a backdoor cool front; sometimes it retreats as a warm front. It's Saturday, so Wife and I don't have to go anywhere. We plan to watch World Cup soccer on the tube. It wouldn't hurt to see rain falling outside the window, too.
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94. Bogon
2:25 AM GMT on June 20, 2014
Like Ylee, I kept looking for ways to increase my score on the planet smashing game. The crowded one was frustrating. I got it set up with a brown dwarf at the center, and everything looked perfectly stable. It was racking up a million points every couple of years. The simulation must include some relativistic effects, because there was slow creep, precession and momentum transfer even though the planets did not approach each other. I don't know, maybe that stuff can happen even with purely classical mechanics. Whatever the cause, the outer planet's orbit always expanded and went over the line before the 500 years finished. Shucks, could have scored maybe two hundred million points! The best scores on the list are like 400 million, so somebody either figured something out, or they got really lucky.

As far as fun goes, the last item on the Template list is best for smashing and crashing. Doesn't take long either. :o)
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93. sp34n119w
9:51 PM GMT on June 19, 2014
It took me 11.5 years to get an ice planet to crash into a gas planet and get ejected from the system. That was fun.
What? Wasn't that the goal? Maybe I should read the rules of the game.
I don't think I have y'all's patience for waiting 500 years, though.

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92. Bogon
2:05 PM GMT on June 19, 2014
Nope, Ylee, we were having a late dinner, and I missed it. Thanks to your link, I can watch it now!
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91. Ylee
1:53 PM GMT on June 19, 2014
Did you watch the Nova episode last night about sprites? Pretty cool!
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90. Bogon
1:16 PM GMT on June 19, 2014
Too many words and not enough pictures. Here's a picture:

The top map is the same as the animation in the header, sea surface temperature. The lower picture compares that temperature with 'normal' (ascertained over some recent period from the Climate Prediction Center's database). You can see that, although light blue is creeping back into the eastern edge of the temperature map, that cooler water remains warmer than the historical average. El Niño is still on.
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89. Bogon
1:53 AM GMT on June 19, 2014
There are high mountains around Yellowstone, Ylee. I expect the snow is falling there. The radar shows shower activity over a lot of dry places tonight, all the way down to New Mexico and Texas.

The templates offer a few non-standard scenarios. One of them jams everything into 0.15 AU. That one is good for working the Crowdedness bonus. One has a massive planet in a disruptive highly elliptical orbit. So far I haven't found any way to get that one to last long, but it is fun to watch. If you could ever get it to run to completion, you would rack up major score!
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88. Ylee
9:43 PM GMT on June 18, 2014
It doesn't help that I'm running a quantometer program and a furnace monitoring program at the same time on an old Pentium 4, either. Took maybe an hour for the 500 years?

I haven't checked the templates yet.

A cam check at Yellowstone and Glacier shows snow at the higher elevations, but I don't know if any of it is fresh or not.
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87. Bogon
9:30 PM GMT on June 18, 2014
Yep, Ylee, your score goes up with the total mass of planets. I've been putting a dwarf star near the sun, where it disrupts the smallest area. Your solution suggests I might be able to get away with two! The main problem is that you can't start from scratch. There is always one earth-sized planet on there somewhere, and you have to be gentle with it. Ideally I would like to put one of everything, but that's a tall order.

Have you looked at the Template systems? There are possibilities for big scores there, but some of them take a long time to run. Sometimes it feels like real time, five hundred years. It doesn't help that the simulation won't run in the background. If you switch to a different window, it stops. :o(

This afternoon I looked at weather models on the WUndermap. The outlook for the ULL in Wyoming doesn't look any worse than the mesoscale storms that have been happening all this week. Henry at Accuweather may have overreacted.
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86. Ylee
9:07 PM GMT on June 18, 2014
For max points, stick a dwarf star on the outside edge, a gas giant at about 1/2 AU, and an earth-size as close to the star as possible. I'm on pace to get over 10,000,000 points! Don't know what the record is, but my score looks good! :' )

I think JoeAk is in Wyoming........
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85. Bogon
4:50 PM GMT on June 18, 2014
The weather radar shows snow in upper Wyoming this morning. I guess that if it's going to snow in midsummer, Yellowstone Park is as good a place as any.

The upper level low that is causing the snow is the storm forewarned in comment 70. In a day or two the ULL will step out onto the Great Plains, where it will begin to encounter Gulf heat and moisture. Folks out that way may want to retrofit guy wires onto their umbrellas.
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84. Bogon
1:43 PM GMT on June 18, 2014
Pursuant to our conversations about soccer, I took (literally) a moment to look up FIFA on the wiki. It turns out that the proper name of the sport is "association football". Why that should be so escapes me, except that it serves to distinguish association football from other kinds, such as rugby or the American gridiron sport. The word 'soccer' arose through some mysterious process of mangling and abbreviation. You can see that the 'soc' part naturally resides within the word 'association'.

Now I understand my difficulty with the name of the international organizing body. It is a case of bad translation. In English FIFA might more reasonably be rendered as the International Federation of Association Football.

ycd, I don't know how accurate the Super Planet Crash simulation is supposed to be. I was able to cram five or six small planets within the habitable zone to take advantage of the habitability multiplier. As long as I didn't disrupt them with an ice giant, they could rub elbows for five hundred years without necessarily crashing.

Of course, five hundred years is nothing compared to the life expectancy of our real solar system. Fortunately the real system is much less tightly coupled than the simulation. The orbit of Neptune is about 30 astronomical units in radius. The 2 AU limit in the simulation would not even reach Mars.
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83. ycd0108
5:00 AM GMT on June 18, 2014
Got a number of earth size orbiting in the habitable zone but had to try an Ice Giant on the fringe. Game over. Even Slartybartfast limited his designs to the fjords so I don't expect my first solar system design will stand the test of time. Here's hoping the original engineers got it right!
So far so good eh?
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82. Bogon
9:47 PM GMT on June 17, 2014
Do you get megalomaniacal, when you stand atop a tall building looking down on the ant-like people below? Let's take it up a notch. Click here to try your hand at designing an entire solar system.
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81. Bogon
6:12 PM GMT on June 17, 2014
uk - The American football is a curious invention. Most 'balls' are round (hence the name). Not this one. The American football has pointy ends. It doesn't bounce true. It's hard to catch. It takes a particular skill to throw accurately.

The soccer football is altogether round. It is easy to throw and catch. The trouble is, only the goalie can legally catch and throw it. Everybody else has to stumble along with the ball between their feet. Go figure.

An American football game is neatly divided into series of four advertising-friendly downs with lots of time out. The intermittent action is much better suited to the short American attention span. The game takes only an hour by the clock, versus 90 minutes for soccer. Yardage markers are designed to document organized progress toward a goal. There is no milling around.

My junior high school curriculum introduced me to soccer. Even when I was a teenager there was some awareness in the United States that soccer enjoys widespread popularity in other parts of the world. Thus soccer shared time in my physical education class with football, basketball, softball and other traditional American pursuits. I didn't like soccer, because I was a nerd. After I ran about a quarter mile, I was ready to sit down and rest. Some of the fitter students were better able to chase the ball, at least for a while. My strategy was to stand in the middle of the field panting to catch my breath, until the ball came by going the other direction, whereupon I would try once again to wade into the mêlée. None of us brought specific skills or knowledge to the game, nor did we have much opportunity to develop any during the time allotted. Our coach knew little more about the sport than we did. Most of us never played soccer again. (Huff, puff. Whew!)

ycd - I understand that Ghana defeated the US team the last couple of times the World Cup paroxysm occurred, so I guess we owed them one. Obviously I don't know a lot about the sport, but even I could tell that some of the other teams (e. g. Germany, Italy, Argentina) play with greater smoothness and polish than the US team. I wish the squad well. They're going to need lots of luck.

This weekend Wife looked up 'FIFA' on her smart phone. Why does International Football need to both federate and associate? Sort of redundant, if you ask me.
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80. ycd0108
2:51 PM GMT on June 17, 2014
Don't think I could be defined as a "fan" of any spectator sport but I do watch some of the world cup soccer or football because Tloml likes to judge the best looking "Fine Young Cannibal" so she has the Tube shining away throughout most of the contests (that would be the next few months from the schedules I have seen).
I did make some effort to enthuse about hockey and "Grid-Iron" local teams but B.C. teams generally choke in the finals after doing fairly well during the season. A few years of that type of performance cured my addiction.
If I know a player in any sport I can fill a seat with the best sports fan so I will attend the "Seniors Friendlies" if an old buddy comes to town and watch my grandchildren play soccer or baseball.
Part of our interest this year is related to the fact that we have spent time in Brazil. Manaus, Rio de Janeiro, Recife, Brasilia and Salvador bring back some memories.
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79. insideuk
11:33 AM GMT on June 17, 2014
You should count yourself lucky that you don't have to live, breathe and block your ears to the FIFA World Cup Football tournament as I must for the next few weeks! It gets a bit too much attention over here.


Last nights PRIME TIME main channel televisual pleasure was Iran v Nigeria. If I hadn't just discovered the pleasures of an authentic Italian made limoncello gelato (and the way it deep freezes your alimentary canal for a very oddly pleasurable 20 minutes) I might have been complaining.

I personally have long since forgiven the use of the term 'soccer' for what is known as just plain 'football' over here. What is harder to understand is why America took the name football for what you call football. It is a little bit like you having invented a whole new sport based upon an area of land that looks very much like a golf course, using a small ball similar in size to a golf ball but differently shaped, picking up the ball and running with it as opposed to using a golf club, and then running hell for leather across the golf course bashing into all the other players before throwing the ball down on the ground just to the side of the flag sitting in the cup....and then deciding the best thing to name this new sport is, well....GOLF.

And what was known as the sport of golf for hundreds of years around the world should now be called WHACKER, because you fear calling it by its original name might cause a misunderstanding somewhere along the line.

It takes a special kind of logic to create such a notion and run with it for so long.

Bravo for having the balls to do it.

Albeit misshapen ones...
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78. Bogon
5:51 AM GMT on June 17, 2014
I watched a good-sized chunk of that game myself, ycd. Nephew played in school. He has been following the FIFA proceedings with interest, so the match was dialed in on our teevee. The show provided background distraction while we ate dinner tonight.

Normally I'm not a futbol (For some reason we gringos call it 'soccer'.) fan. It helped to watch with someone who understands the dynamics of the game. I like how the sport appears on television with limited commercial interruption. From that standpoint it's WAY better than American football. You just have to learn how to make sense of all that milling around. Sometimes the ball comes shooting out. Once in a while it veers toward the net. |oO Zzz
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77. ycd0108
5:11 AM GMT on June 17, 2014
High 5 Bogon!:
I watched the U.S. win a football match way down in Brasil today.
"Life goes on"
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76. Bogon
12:18 AM GMT on June 17, 2014
One of my first acts as a WUblogger was to weigh in on the subject of anthropogenic global warming. At that time the subject was very much under FUD attack, to the point that any expression of concern invited one's being labeled a heretic. Now, with a lame duck president and a well-formed groundswell of proactive public opinion, I'm gratified to see the topic getting the attention it deserves.

This afternoon I found time to watch the last two installments of Years of Living Dangerously, a documentary airing on Showtime. I hope you have been watching, too. If you're not hooked up for Showtime, the introductory episode is on YouTube. The link here is for the series' home page at Showtime. If you poke around you may find additional streamable video. At the very least you can get an idea of what you've been missing.

The take-home message is that most of us have something to lose from global warming. The problem may show up first for people in low-lying countries like Bangladesh. A meter rise in sea level will flood 17% of that nation, displacing millions of people. If you live in the mountains, you are at risk from melting glaciers, drought and forest fires. If you live far from the tropics, your way of life may disappear along with the snow and ice. Weather models suggest that global warming will affect high latitudes disproportionately.

Even if the weather doesn't change noticeably where you are, you are at risk from geopolitical destabilization. People who are hungry, thirsty or dispossessed will be on the move. When they arrive by the million, they will not make happy neighbors.
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75. Bogon
8:53 PM GMT on June 16, 2014
In the heat of the afternoon showers are popping along the front range of the Blue Ridge from North Georgia to near Lynchburg, Virginia. Sometimes those mountain storms hang together as they drift down toward the Dry Slot. If they do get here, it won't be until much later tonight. Precipitation chances are low.

My favorite view of MIMIC, the animated precipitable water product from the University of Wisconsin, shows a collision where the westerly monsoon (possibly abetted by the MJO) meets easterly trade winds over the Philippines. Jeff Masters and Mike Ventrice have been talking about westerlies bucking the flow in the western Pacific. That temporary reversal kick starts transoceanic Kelvin waves that contribute to El Niño.
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74. Bogon
12:32 PM GMT on June 15, 2014
Good morning, Ylee. We woke up to gray skies this morning. The forecast says the overcast will burn off, though. It should be sunny again by the time the golf cranks up. It's going to be a degree or two warmer today than yesterday.

High pressure is building over the Dry Slot. That should suppress convection for the next few days. Those crowned greens in Pinehurst should only get faster, unless the groundskeepers water 'em down. I think that's all part of the plan, as far as the PGA is concerned. They know what people want to see. Yesterday's leader dropped a couple of strokes. Fortunately for him, so did pretty much everybody else.

Thanks for the greeting, Prose. Wife and I aren't parents; we were already old enough to be grandparents when we got hitched. I guess you could say we're acting in loco parentis for our nephew and his girlfriend this week. They're old enough to be legal, but his folks are halfway around the world. Girlfriend hails from up north somewhere. We're happy to provide them a place to stay. Nephew begins his career next month down in Raleigh. Probably won't be long until he has a house and kids of his own.
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73. Proserpina
11:40 AM GMT on June 15, 2014
 photo FathersDay_zpsc3322b9a.jpg
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72. Ylee
3:26 AM GMT on June 15, 2014
A lot of talk about the drier conditions speeding the greens up considerably, but I think if the course keepers wanted to, they could irrigate enough to slow it down.

But what fun is that? I like seeing golfers struggle.... ;' )
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71. Bogon
6:31 PM GMT on June 14, 2014
High pressure rolled through in time to enhance play at the US Open this weekend. Pinehurst is about sixty miles south. We're sharing pretty much the same weather: sunny, high temperatures running in the mid eighties, humidity 50%. The sky is flawless blue here. On the television it looks like a few cumulus clouds over Pinehurst #2.
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70. Bogon
4:12 PM GMT on June 13, 2014
Henry at Accuweather warns of bad weather in the plains and Midwest next week. An upper level low left over from late spring will collide with hot air from early summer. It's a recipe for convection.
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69. Bogon
12:52 PM GMT on June 13, 2014
Throughout my life I've had an uneasy relationship with mathematics. I guess I persevered farther into that subject than most people, but it was rough going. I was an early adopter of the electronic calculator, which relieved my poor brain of the burden of arithmetic.

I'm also a little suspicious of math. While equations can enhance our understanding of this world, math lives in a special little closed world of its own. It may contain infinities, but it does not contain the universe. The universe contains math.

I heard about the math (or physics) version of Hamiltonians (named for an Irishman) while listening to on-line physics lectures from Perimeter Institute. Sometimes those get mathy. I don't for a moment pretend to understand everything they say, but I enjoy listening to the way the professors talk. They makes more sense to me than most of the folks inside the Beltway.
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68. ycd0108
3:27 AM GMT on June 13, 2014
Checked the "Math" link and certainly that could confuse me if I knew where I was going in the first place.
However exposure to page wide equations is not new - I passed a course in atmospheric science sometime in '83. The way I did that was go to tell the prof I was quitting the course. He sat me down and ran through the solutions (I think he rewrote the final exam since I was very likely the only student who talked to him).
Concerning the politics:
No option there appeals to me.
If anything I'm probably a Lao Tzu
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67. Bogon
8:49 PM GMT on June 12, 2014
I once read a scholarly article which pointed out that there are two kinds of Americans.

1) The Wilsonians (i. e. Woodrow) want to make world peace and live happily ever after.
2) The Jacksonians (named after Andrew, a.k.a. "Old Hickory") keep their guns polished.

Both groups have left their mark on American history. The Jacksonians extirpated the "Red Menace". Whenever there is a war, they're ready to go defend their nation. The Wilsonians are responsible for engineering e. g. the United Nations.

The Jacksonians are quick to get into a scrap. They're also more likely to pay lip service to "Christian values". I don't know how they resolve the logical inconsistency in that, but obviously they manage somehow.

I no longer remember where I saw the article in question. I'm pretty sure it was back in the days of print media, a thick glossy magazine. You can get some of the same flavor on the internet, for example, here or here. Sounds like I might have left out Hamiltonians and Jeffersonians. Oh, well, it has been while. When it comes to Hamiltonians, you can get confused with math.

Really, seriously confused. :o)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
66. ycd0108
5:00 PM GMT on June 12, 2014
I got to "enter my initials" on "Missile Command" in the arcade room on BCFerries:
It just doesn't make sense to me that any country needs to have planes wandering about overhead looking for something to shoot at.
Nowadays everyone knows if there is any incoming even before it takes off.
Wait for it ....
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
65. Bogon
4:12 PM GMT on June 12, 2014
Mornin', ycd. I expect defense contractors and Pentagon pooh-bahs are way ahead of you on the drone thing. I can see two problems with that:

1) There is a control-response lag between a drone and its remote pilot. At minimum there is the physical limitation of light speed. (One might imagine a motivational lag, too. After all, the remote pilot's rear is not literally on the line. Is he browsing porn in another window? [Oops, that sounds sexist. Is s/he browsing, uh, Amazon in another window?]) That may not matter much for high altitude reconnaissance or taking an occasional potshot at a ground target, but it surely becomes problematic in a dog fight.

2) Lots of people want to go Mach 2 and pull ten gees, especially if they can get a medal for it.

Oh, what the heck. 3) If you were a grunt in the mud, would you rather have your air support delivered by a passionless robot or by a sympathetic fellow-countryman? Okay, I admit that one is debatable. Sort of a religious question there.

Add: With respect to item number two, these days there are probably a lot of kids who would like to win a medal for playing a video game. So, yeah, there is that.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
64. ycd0108
2:44 PM GMT on June 12, 2014
Mornin' Bogon:
"I spent a long time watching.."
videos and Wiki specifications regarding the latest "Go-Fastee" jet fighters.
My take this morning is:
Get the pilot out of the machine.
A drone could fly faster, turn harder and carry more deadly armament than anything designed to keep a person alive at the wheel.
I'd imagine this has been noticed by the folks who actually fund such things but some acknowledgement for the "splendor" of weapons (temporary supreme commanders love the "Fly-Over" portion of the parade) has to be factored in.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
63. Bogon
8:06 AM GMT on June 12, 2014
Here's an update to the ocean heat map last displayed in comment 29.

Looks like the Gulf is open for business.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
62. Bogon
10:46 PM GMT on June 11, 2014
Wooh! Got done just in time. By the time I cleaned up and changed clothes, the sky was gray. By the time I pulled up the WUndermap to find out what was going on, the first raindrops were hitting the roof.

There's a warm front stretching from near Chicago to upstate New York. Behind it a broad sweep of tropical air is flowing due north. (Looking for Nanook?) South of New York the front bends parallel to the coast. Over Virginia Beach it is backing up as a 'cold' front. That combination provided enough instability to create a row of showers across the northern Piedmont of North Carolina. Those showers are being fed by, and are moving northward with, the juicy air from the tropics.

Geez, it was hot behind the mowing machine this afternoon. Supposed to be cooler tomorrow, but tomorrow the grass is likely to stay wet.

Hopefully it won't rain out the US Open down in Pinehurst.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
61. Bogon
9:12 PM GMT on June 11, 2014
Johnny Carson used to make jokes about Nanook of the North. Now we have Jeff Masters talking about Nanauk of the Middle East.

Meanwhile, life goes on. Need to finish mowing the lawn. ':o]
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
60. Bogon
3:47 PM GMT on June 10, 2014
Hey, ycd. I'm hardly an apologist for Congress or defense contractors, but I can remember the last cycle circa 1970, when the planes (F-16, F-18, A-10, AV-8), that are presently candidates for replacement, were developed. There were constant uproar, scandals, allegations and wrangling back then, too. Did taxpayers get fair value for their billions? Are we happy at how things turned out? Most of those planes have a good reputation* now. They are the standard by which the F-35 will be judged.

If you want to know more about the Joint Strike Fighter program, I can recommend the awesomely long and copiously documented article at Wikipedia. Speaking as a former software engineer, one line caught my attention:
Maintenance personnel have discovered that it is possible to correct deficiencies in the F-35, which is a software-defined aircraft, simply by rebooting the aircraft's software and onboard systems.
Simply? What is a pilot supposed to do, if he needs to reboot at Mach 1.6?

Speaking as an ex-software engineer, I can think of a lot of reasons why that might be more than a rhetorical question. Twenty-two year old hotshot pilots probably won't worry so much.

* As far as such things can apply to a war machine.

Last month I noticed an ugly black gizmo mounted over a plaque in the middle of Boston Common. The plaque informed me that the gizmo was a naval mine from World War I. During the war some fifty thousand of the devices were scattered around the North Sea. What a horrible concept! From the wiki,
Clearing the barrage after the war took 82 ships and 5 months, working around the clock.
Yet Bostonians and other passers by are presumed to be proud of this achievement.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
59. ycd0108
4:20 AM GMT on June 10, 2014
Went to CBC and danged if a few commentors don't have a sense of humour:

"Yeah, so what has 10 wheels and flies ?

A garbage truck.

Still a better joke, than what this purchase could ever be." (F-35)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
58. Bogon
6:26 PM GMT on June 09, 2014
ycd, one of the complaints in the video (#53) is about the whole theory of a "multi-service fighter". The Navy likes the twin engine design of the FA-18. The Air Force wants something fast, light, agile (and numerous at less than $20 million per copy) like the F-16. The Air Force has runways, and the Navy has catapults. Only the Marines seriously need the STOL capability. Trying to load everything but the kitchen sink into one design makes it heavy, expensive and less well suited for all three missions.

The F-16 and AV-8B Harrier are single engine planes. The Navy wants two engines, because there are no airports at sea. You have to make it back to the mother ship. The Navy needs a stronger (heavier) airframe and suspension for landing on a lurching carrier deck. The Navy also likes folding wings to save space in a crowded hangar. The Air Force doesn't ever want to see the wings fold up.

Ylee, the yard is dry, but the sky is often cloudy. We have low but believable rain chances all this week. Daily heating raises the probability of afternoon thunderstorms. There will also be fronts and disturbances passing through. Thursday looks like our best chance to get wet.
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Retired software engineer. "What is that?", you may ask. It's someone who has time to blog about the weather...

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