By: sp34n119w , 9:35 PM GMT on March 01, 2012

What can one say about March in Southern California? There will be flowers. There will be sun. There will be wind. There may be rain. There may be snow in the high places. It's pretty much like early Spring anywhere else, but, milder. Except when it isn't. Spring, and March in particular, is notoriously unpredictable.

March brings the Spring equinox, falling this year on March 20th, at 5:14 UTC. That should be, um, March 19th, at 10:14 pm PST, I think. Unless the time changes before then, in which case it will be, er, 9:14 pm PDT. Somebody check me on that.
[oopsies. I was supposed to fix this days ago!]
[EDIT: somebody did check me on that - no surprise, it was LowerCal in comment #9 :)
Correct time = Spring Equinox March 19 at 10:14 PDT ]

The Romans called this month Martius, named for the god of war, Mars. It is no coincidence that the verb “march” means, among other things, “to walk in a procession; walk in a disciplined military manner” since it was at this time of year that armies began military campaigns, especially of conquest. Nobody fought in winter in the olden days.
In the wikipedia article on March (linked above) I learned that the term "Lent" comes from the Saxon name for this month.

I've always liked Mars/Ares. He's a bit of a coward, actually, and a wimp. He likes to incite violence but isn't always all that great at winning his own battles, so tends to run away a lot. He has no tolerance for pain. I find him comical, and a typical warmonger.
If you ever watched the tv shows “Xena” or “Hercules” I think that their version of Ares pretty much nails it, at least as far as I've read of the old stories. In fact, Ares is the main reason I watched any episodes of those two tv shows.

Ok, now I'm sad. Something I wrote up there got a song stuck in my head and then I remembered Kevin Smith (Ares) and the two kind of go together. Not least because both are pretty cheesy ;)
So I'll post the song …

And here is Kevin Smith being not Ares :)


Sallying Swirls:

For the bigger picture, have a look at the NE Pac WVloop.

Contentious Clouds :

Resistant Rain:

Rallying Randomness to follow in the comments …

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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86. sp34n119w
1:05 AM GMT on April 01, 2012
Raining! Weird! :)


Karen - because you are parent funded I'm thinking it's good to be busy - not that they don't know how valuable you are, already, only that it adds to your essentiality :)
Hope you are enjoying a rest this weekend!

LC - well, yes. Always more to say on that and it should be said whenever possible, I think.
Thanks for mentioning the wall and, elsewhere, your thoughts on your experience with it.


It's a TED talk on liquid metal batteries! What could be more fun?!?!

It's the Reason Rally in a nutshell! No speakers - just a nice voice-over and video.


Hope WU all are having a great weekend! :)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
85. LowerCal
11:24 PM GMT on March 30, 2012
.... "support our troops" means more than slapping a yellow ribbon sticker on your SUV, ....

Well said and I could expand on that but I won't in a comment on your blog. ;^)

I did read those stats and as a small but important gesture along those lines our Senator Boxer introduced a bill that encourages the President to issue a proclamation each year designating March 29 as “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day.” By sheer coincidence I spent half of yesterday to visit one of the traveling Walls.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
84. SBKaren
2:29 AM GMT on March 30, 2012
Is there no way to network those computers and do them all at once? That seems like a lot of extra work for you! Wait ... maybe that's a good thing :)

The computers are networked but they can't push out updates, because I've noticed that not all computers update at the same time. I have a desktop and laptop at home, and I'll get update notices at different times. Weird huh?

Unfortunately the extra work does not mean more time for me, it just means I have to squeeze in whatever I have to do in the time I have. :(

This was a week to remember....or not. Nothing terrible happened, just very unusually busy. I'm so glad that today, Thursday, is my Friday!

I was talking to my two aides this week and saying that I could stay quite busy just taking care of tech issues on campus and not teach a bit. But I do teach. Unfortunately, I know my hours will never grow because I am parent funded. But - because I am parent funded I am not dependent on the budget. I know - weird!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
83. sp34n119w
10:57 PM GMT on March 29, 2012
2:35 p.m. local (5:35 p.m. EDT; 2135 GMT)
DELAY. Launch of the Delta 4 rocket has been pushed back to Monday, April 2. The extra few days will give engineers more time to complete an assessment of the Delta 4's second stage engine, according to United Launch Alliance.

Liftoff on Monday will be at 4:04 p.m. local time (7:04 p.m. EDT; 2304 GMT). tml
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
82. sp34n119w
9:29 PM GMT on March 29, 2012
Howdy! I had some stuff to drop by ... but, decided to go with fun and/or interesting, instead ;)

I just heard of Where's George? and it looks like a lot of fun and would be interesting to do with kids, I think. You can track your money - with help from others.
I saw the name on a bill some months ago and had no idea what it was so I just spent it, lol Next time, I'll enter it!


A few moments ago I was walking past the TV and heard about which purports to be a list of all things made in America. The site is slow loading, right now, and I expect that has to do with the fact that it is on TV, right now. Also, I'm not sure what it's all about but the main page is a contest and I can't get past it.
Okay ... finally got in. Going to give them the benefit of the doubt on the sluggishness because of the free ad time on TV and check it out. Let me know if you do and what you think.
[And now I'm getting a security warning!]


The Delta 4 launch looks like it might go but I won't get a view through the fog :( Well, maybe, when it gets up to ... right in front of the sun! I'll keep my eyes peeled but not going to travel specifically to watch for it.
Launch time = 3:38 PM local


Weather is blah. Not too cold and not windy and overcast most of the day.

Happy Thursday :)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
81. sp34n119w
7:36 PM GMT on March 28, 2012
Hi Ylee. Hi LC. The joys of open source (and free) software, eh?


Weather is back to dull - cloudy but pleasant enough.
Let's play random!


The Rock Beyond Belief event at Fort Bragg, NC, is this Saturday and Sgt. Griffith is getting excited and nervous.
Yesterday he had a post about how the brass won't let them collect food for the homeless. Never mind that the evangelicals collected money for themselves at their own event on base. Collecting food for the homeless is and "illegal fundraiser". Anyway, he has some interesting stats on homeless vets and the source is linked there AND that's why I put the link here. The rest of the post may not interest you but, really, if you've got any sense that "support our troops" means more than slapping a yellow ribbon sticker on your SUV, you should read those stats.


TSA screening at airports - it's a hassle but it keeps us safe from terrorists. Right? Nobody believes that but we don't do anything about it, either. 7 Billion of our dollars.

Found at PZ's blog pharyngula, an old (2008) article wherein a journalist tells us how to get around security easily.
The guy who helped him do that is in a debate with the head of the TSA over at the Economist and oh, my, that's good stuff.


That's enough, I think. Have a great day! :)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
80. LowerCal
5:59 PM GMT on March 28, 2012
Quoting Ylee:
Open Office being discontinued? I thought I had just downloaded the latest version(v3.3). I guess someday I'll be using LibreOffice! :P
The original version of LibreOffice, 3.3.0, was released 2011-01-25. The following day the current version of OpenOffice, 3.3.0, was released 2011-01-26.

The current version of LibreOffice, 3.5.1, was released 2012-03-15.

Oracle Corporation donated OpenOffice to the Apache Software Foundation where it is in the Apache Incubator. That basically means the OpenOffice project is still working out how to get things done within the Apache Software Foundation framework.

LibreOffice was created from OpenOffice by members of the OpenOffice project. Development of LibreOffice is progressing much faster than OpenOffice and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future (- The Bright Future of LibreOffice | PCWorld Business Center).

I made the switch when I found LibreOffice offered better compatibility with Microsoft Office 2007 and 2010, Microsoft XML files (.docx, .xlsx and .pptx) and support for .svg image files.

Here are the features and improvements of LibreOffice.
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79. Ylee
6:54 AM GMT on March 28, 2012
Open Office being discontinued? I thought I had just downloaded the latest version(v3.3). I guess someday I'll be using LibreOffice! :P
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78. sp34n119w
6:01 AM GMT on March 28, 2012
I did go to the shop and asked a guy about the plant Cowania Mexicana, aka Mexican Cliffrose, aka Purshia Mexicana. He didn't have any there and he'd never heard of another species in that genus. So, no help there!
Hopefully, calpoppy, you get an answer - I'm plumb out of avenues.

I hadn't been through there before - it's right next to a place I do shop so I see it from the parking lot - and they have some really nice native plants. Lots of color and variety of sizes and shapes. Makes me wish I had a yard to grow things!
Until I consider the effort required, LOL

That was my adventure today :)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
77. sp34n119w
8:34 PM GMT on March 27, 2012
LC - yep, looks like our miracle is over ;)
The graphs really show how weird this season has been!

So, OpenOffice is going away? I'll read up on it - thanks for the links.

calpoppy - one plant was described as a "tree" and the other a "shrub" so maybe that's the difference? In pics they seem identical, but, for me, that's often the case! It may be that the name Cowania Mexicana or Cliff Rose is so well known that it's easier for suppliers to call them all that. Who'd know? lol
Now I have a hankering to stop by the native plant shop in Ventura and see if they know.
It's catching, this "need to know" stuff.


Nothing random today. Just stopping at WU to lurk and to say hello before I head out. Hello! :)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
76. calpoppy
7:14 PM GMT on March 27, 2012
Hi SP! A little confusion on that particular plant! When I order them from a certain grower they are listed separately. But side by side they are exactly the same. But the ones in my area have always been known as Cowania Mexicana. I will have to ask my grower what exactly is the difference! Maybe they are collected in different areas? Now I need to know! :)
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75. LowerCal
4:45 PM GMT on March 27, 2012
It's highly unlikely we'll see any more precipitation this month so here's an update including March.

Data source: Los Angeles Pierce College Weather Station

Graphs created with LibreOffice, a free download.

In answer to possible questions by those who didn't know:
As a result of the fork of into LibreOffice, and the resulting loss of developers, Oracle announced in April 2011 that it was terminating the commercial development of
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
74. sp34n119w
12:53 AM GMT on March 27, 2012
gg - it is amazing how plants respond so quickly when they get even a little of what they need.
Roxie, too :) So happy you are all out enjoying Spring!
The rest will fall into place.

LC - Glad the doggies got their walkies! Radar is awesome. How did we get by without it? Carried umbrellas, I guess, LOL

Things do look greener and I'm thinking the hills, anyway, will get some wildflowers worthy of a hike. The brown should turn to mulch, at this point, and today's green will become fire fuel. Same ol' same ol'.

calpoppy - you came in while I was typing - but I see you!
I think you've got a shot at some flowers, don't you?
The Joshua trees ... do they hang onto water for awhile before blooming?
How do you know the name of that plant? Those are common and I've never heard the name. So I went to wiki - Purshia mexicana and also found Purshia stansburyana - and ended up thinking that I would be a poor Botanist.
Love the flower, though! :)
Are they related to Manzanita? Doesn't it kind of look like it? Let me just ... oh. No. Not even close, LOL Back to "not-a-botanist"!
I don't know why that grabbed my attention - probably because I've got stuff to do and am procrastinating - but, thanks for bringing it!
And keep us posted on the wildflower watch :)


This is kinda funny - I was checking youtube to see if a video has been uploaded yet. It hasn't but there is a static picture where the video should be - they tried to upload it and it didn't work and they haven't fixed it so there is a non-video in place. Weird, huh? That's not what's funny. What's funny is that the non-video has 793 comments! Plus 42 likes and 23 dislikes LOL! That's probably more than they'd have if it had uploaded properly.

'k, I did say "kinda" funny. Just hadn't seen that before.

Done procrastinating!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
73. calpoppy
12:33 AM GMT on March 27, 2012
Should I hope for wildflowers??? Maybe some this year, the blue sage (salvia dorrii) has started to bloom. And my Joshua trees are going nuts with buds this year! Last year nada, this year with little rain tons of buds. One Joshua has eight buds on it. The moths that pollinate the Joshua flowers will be happy and so will the ravens who love to eat the seeds. I have a necklace made of Joshua tree seeds, can't say it is my favorite but it is very earthy, LOL!

Also the Cowania Mexicana or Cliff Rose is all in bud. They have a very sweet smell to them when they are in bloom.

I don't think it got cold enough to hurt the buds on my cactus. Only got down to 30 last night. All my cactus are in bud, a good month early.

Here is a pic of the Cowania Mexicana

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
72. LowerCal
12:06 AM GMT on March 27, 2012
After the thunderstorm pass last night and then a recurrent drizzle into the morning Woodland Hills ended up with nearly 2" for this rain event. Added to the rain earlier this month we might see some regreening on the hills with new grass. I don't know what will happen with what's already gone brown though.

Thanks to an evening break in the rain and radar that allowed me to anticipate it the doggies got their long walk without having to get their fur wet.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
71. GardenGrrl
7:50 PM GMT on March 26, 2012
Big rain. Glad no ill effects. It is amazing green around here from our big rain. Roxie has taken to finding soft grass again, flopping down with her eyes half shut and a little smile on her face.
I don't have the heart to drag her when she looks so happy so I stay and sun myself too.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
70. sp34n119w
7:04 PM GMT on March 26, 2012
Aw, man! I didn't get any thunder and lightning :(
That's okay - lots of rain! Happy you got your share, LC :)
Hope teh doggies managed okay.

My garage cat decided to spend the day out yesterday and the sneaky little thing got enough food (when I wasn't around to close the door) that he stayed out until after midnight. Came in all wet and bedraggled and yelled at me like it was my fault!
Now it's nice and sunny so what's he doing? He's curled up on his pillow! Stoopid cat.
Well, he did go out for a bit this morning to check out the birds - they were making quite a bit of noise while enjoying the after effects of the rain. They were as loud as SBKaren's (she has a video in her new blog of shore birds going nuts).

I'm about to go out and enjoy the after effects myself :)

Happy Monday!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
69. LowerCal
5:02 AM GMT on March 26, 2012
sp Yes, it is dangerous. There was a flash of lightning and a very loud clap of thunder a few minutes ago.

Woodland Hills received over 1¼" so far with more coming down right now.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
68. sp34n119w
3:29 AM GMT on March 26, 2012
Checking the weather ... that spinny thing looks like it is going right over my head! Is that dangerous?

Looking around the gauges it seems we have received more than 1.5" and it is raining again.
Only bad news I've seen so far are some trees down, so that's good.
The discussion says another front on Tuesday but probably no rain this far south.
Crazy, man. Crazy :)

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
67. sp34n119w
9:40 PM GMT on March 25, 2012
RAIN DAY!!! yippee :)

Ylee - I guess I figured your readers deserved more time and, if they are like me, they'd have read the comments and had it ruined before getting the chance to think about it! I needed a puzzle that eve and appreciate the challenge :)
Then Sandi got it by the time I went back to brag, LOL

Regarding operating systems - what I need is more computers to play with. I can't stand the thought of messing this one up and not having it to use!

WTS - looks that way, so far! On radar it looks like you are about to get some but I haven't even checked to see where it's going. The discussion has been pretty vague on the track leading up to today.
They had been saying for a few days that south facing slopes would get some extra and, though we are not technically a south facing slope, that usually does mean more for SP. Hurray!
Hope it makes it there - you and your lovely flowers need it!

Karen - see above, lol
Funny, I haven't noticed any unusual wind, but I just turned on the weather stations layer in WunderMap and the wind barbs are pointing every which way. From the water vapor loop it looks like our spinner has made the turn and is aiming to come onshore quite nearby - and that may bring you some rain! Sure hope so. We're agreed that if it's going to be gloomy and cold it dang well better be raining!

Is there no way to network those computers and do them all at once? That seems like a lot of extra work for you! Wait ... maybe that's a good thing :)


I am happy to have an excuse to stay in today. Have some things on the dvr that are of interest to more than just me so might get those done. That would be nice - so hard to find the time!

Happy Sunday, Happy Weather :)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
66. SBKaren
8:55 PM GMT on March 25, 2012
Hey sp - you are hogging all the rain. I just came from CalPoppy's blog and you have already had over an inch? We've gotten a mere .07". It's been raining for nearly 2 hours now. It's not the rain that is a menace right now, it is the wind! Gosh it's windy!

And, I see you finally downloaded Firefox! I've been using Firefox for years. I love the built-in security features and I also use ABP. Love the fact that it has a spell checker built in. Of course, it still doesn't recognize things like unusual screen names, but at least I am able to get the obvious.

My school district has installed Firefox on all our computers. Of course, the bad part of it (well, it wouldn't really matter if it was IE), is I have to sign onto the computer as myself to do any updates. Teachers and students - when they are signed on as themselves, or our generic student log on - can't do any updates. So, about every couple of weeks, I have to sign on as me (at least on all our lab computers - over 60), to complete the updates. That goes for Adobe and Java as well.

I'm trying to create a maintenance schedule for the teacher's laptops, and have a grade level bring them up to me at every Tuesday staff meeting so I can update theirs. It takes a while! It's funny though, since most of our staff meetings are held in the media center, I'll have 5-6 laptops set up on my counter, and I'm trying to update all at the same time! Whew!

So - send some more rain down here. As long as I'm housebound, might as well get some good from it!
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65. WatchinTheSky
8:39 PM GMT on March 25, 2012
I hear you are catching all the the rain from this system, not leaving me any!

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64. Ylee
11:37 PM GMT on March 24, 2012
SP, why didn't you jump on my blog and give the answer? It would have been most impressive(to me, anyway, and that's all that counts, as it is MY blog, lol!)

I have Ubuntu loaded on my secondary HD as a backup in case Win7 bites the dust. Considering downloading Win8 beta(If it walks like a beta and talks like a beta, it's a beta) but with 1.5mps DSL, it's like a 3-4 hour download! :P

Hope your weekend is going well!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
63. sp34n119w
12:42 AM GMT on March 24, 2012
Ooops. VTX - I knew that.
Didn't even do that one on purpose, LOL!

Pretty sure I knew the other info, too, but I'm obviously having a bad brain day. Thanks for making up for it, LC :)

GOES loops are all caught up now. Pretty streaming clouds over the mountains. I have high hopes for that big spinner.

Think I'll go seek some brain lubricant ...

Happy Weekend! :)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
61. sp34n119w
9:02 PM GMT on March 23, 2012
Sheesh. Give him an inch and he wants a mile! LOL!
Yes, LC, your (oft repeated) recommendation to try Firefox was finally heeded ... but, Linux, again? I suppose I'll eventually run out of interesting hobbies to try ...
harhar ;)


I was actually perfectly happy with IE7. Then I started having trouble several months ago on some sites so decided to move to IE8. I hate IE8. I can't even articulate why I hate IE8, only that I do. I honestly think it has more to do with HTML5 (whatever the heck that is) or some other new webby stuff but IE8 definitely wasn't handling it effectively, whatever it is.
Firefox is nice and smooth, for sure.
More, there is a website that I've been avoiding because of really insanely stupid crazy-making ads, and abp (used with Firefox) makes that site accessible. Yea, more time-wasting! lol

FTR: I have no real issue with ads - I'm happy to have content providers make money - just don't want to see jiggly fat or rotten teeth when I'm reading or watching something online. Honestly, I have mirrors in my house.
Well, now I see no ads, unless I specifically say it's okay. Who wins? Not the jiggly fat people. Not the content providers who are stuck with the jiggly fat people.
So it goes.


Speaking of ... GOES is back on track and we can see our next swirly in all its spinny goodness. Wonder what happened?

Our doppler radar (LOX) is meant to be out of service some time soon. The newspaper didn't provide a date and I haven't looked elsewhere, but, they said it would be for 10-12 days for a software upgrade. I wonder if it will make my rain show up, for a change.

I'm looking forward to more rain this weekend but not the cold :(
It's good to have a week between rains - the ground is wet but, of course, not anywhere near saturated, and the next little bit should soak in nicely.

Okay, nothing else random today ... except that Firefox also has a built-in spellchecker so I can't pretend that a word like "spinny" is for real, anymore. The Red Squiggly Line calls me out.

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
60. LowerCal
2:11 PM GMT on March 23, 2012
Does this mean you're going to try Linux next? ;^)

I recommend Ubuntu. The interface will feel very familiar to a Windows user.

You can run Ubuntu within your current system with the Windows installer (Wubi). That way, you can install and uninstall Ubuntu in the same way as any other Windows application. It's simple and safe.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
59. sp34n119w
3:52 AM GMT on March 23, 2012
Ooooh, that was too easy, my friend.
Like shooting fish in a barrel ;)

And twice in one blog - w00t! LOL


I came to see if the goes thingies were updating, yet. Nyet. Maybe tomorrow and hopefully before STORMWATCH time :)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
58. LowerCal
12:35 AM GMT on March 23, 2012
Bogon, that is a more tractable and precise definition for programmers who mostly (but not all) grasp recursion. However there's always the risk that a program manager with weak or no technical skills will overhear the term in use and by nature assume it means definition #2.

sp, I must have a false memory of urging you to try Firefox to see how you liked it. :^/

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
57. sp34n119w
10:25 PM GMT on March 21, 2012
mush! We don't want fire. No, we don't! Hope it evens out, in the end.

Bogon - well, I guess that skit helps in that it did seem pointless ... LOL
Still makes me think of yarn, though.

Okay, but, the meaning of "begs" in the phrase "begs the question" is not synonymous with the meaning of "raises" in the phrase "raises the question", which is how it is most often mis-used. That's all I'm saying. No more ranting ;)


I am also not ranting on yet another State's Bill of Death but, finally, saw a doctor's take on all this (where the heck are all the doctors, anyway? The AMA? Helloooooo) at, of all places, Whatever. There are over 600 comments and he'll be turning them off later this evening. I haven't read any of them so can't vouch for the wu-safety level but Scalzi's pretty good with the banhammer.
Anyway, it's a call to action that I feel doctors should implement - I don't know why they aren't talking about it. Maybe I've just missed it?


How about an Evil Scientist for today's fun? Try Victor Stenger at HoPuff from his talk in Orlando.


Lovely day here! Warm-ish and sunny and not too breezy, for a change. They say rain again on Sunday! And marine layer tonight, I think.

I'm drinking the most marvelous tea, right now. It is from the Republic of Tea, called Ginger Peach, and the jam of the same name is also very good. Normally I don't like flavored teas - they tend to give me a headache no matter how tasty they are - but this is really nice.

I guessed Ylee's mystery webcam last night and dug around to confirm. Got the right country pretty easily but not the town, of course. I don't want to ruin it for anyone else so I'm not saying ;)

I installed Firefox a few days ago, and ABP. Why didn't anyone tell me how awesome it is?!?! What kind of friends are wu, anyway?!?!?

Done rambling. For now.
Happy Middle of the Week!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
56. Bogon
8:40 PM GMT on March 21, 2012
Cal - Thanks for "yak shaving".

From urban dictionary:
Any seemingly pointless activity which is actually necessary to solve a problem which solves a problem which, several levels of recursion later, solves the real problem you're working on.

This definition seems more tractable.

I also checked on the etymology. Sometimes the history of a word can serve to break a tie when mutually contradictory meanings are possible.

In this case the available evidence doesn't seem to help much.

sp - By "face value" I meant the meaning of the phrase you would get if you parsed each word naively, with common knowledge of English words but without specialized knowledge of the history of logic or rhetoric.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
55. unclemush
10:31 PM GMT on March 20, 2012
Hi SP Yes it does feel like summer here.Kinda scary.All the snow is gone.It doesn't green up till May.Fire weather for sure!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
54. sp34n119w
9:39 PM GMT on March 19, 2012
Spring Equinox March 19 at 10:14 PDT
Happy Equality Day! :)

Looking at the various rain gauges hereabouts, I'd say we received just over an inch of rain with that storm. Also, it is cold.
There was some snow on the top of the Topa Topa mountains yesterday - very pretty.

Karen - yep, cold! That's a respectable amount of rain for a spring storm. I didn't see any of the promised lightning, either, but that's okay. Still fun and some nice cloud formations on Sunday.
Glad to hear you had a good time at dinner and hope the party went well, too :)

gg - wah! I wish I could've been there with y'all, any of the days! I'm glad you had fun and I saw your trophy this morning - what a riot! :)
Knitters can be very nerdy, I'm learning, LOL

LC - Thank you! I feel validated!
Thanks, too, for the rain update. It has been a disappointing season and it was nice to be surprised, even if it was less than a miracle.

That's an interesting example of language drift within a community (if I saw that term I'd think of shearing for spinning yarn, but, whatever) and reminds me of another. You know I've been on this kick to learn about biology for a few years and it turns out that that's another community where that kind of difference occurs. I guess the various sub-disciplines end up using similar terms in very different ways, sometimes with totally incompatible meanings. Also, for a long time, biologists were isolated from each other – didn't meet or read each others' papers, especially if they were in different countries, but even if in different areas of the same country. Weird, huh? So, nowadays, with the internets and all, there is occasional confusion (and outright outrage) over terminology. Fascinating.

Bogon - Language does change over time. Language is for communication.

Latin is not English. It's a different language. If someone speaks Latin/Russian/ Arabic/Tagalog/etc. to me there will be little communication between us. Using a word/phrase from a different language is entirely different from using an English word (or phrase) incorrectly.
"Banding grubs he ulterior fecund ask trill forth dished poultry."
Perfectly good English words in a sentence. My spellchecker likes them all just fine. I used my own grammar rules but, that's not important – you can figure it out. Right? ;)

Acronyms are also a separate issue. I agree that they can be used to obscure meaning but they are also useful shorthand for the in-group. It doesn't bother me so much. If a group does not want to be understood by me then I probably don't care what they're saying, anyway. If I do, I'll look up the acronyms myself (which is what I would do for other-language words that I want to know the meaning of). This is all fundamentally different from taking a phrase with a known and very specific meaning and using it to mean something else entirely.

What is the "face value" of the phrase, "begs the question"?

It isn't that folks know what "begs the question" means but have decided that the phrase can have a better use with another meaning, a meaning that is needed. It's that they don't know what the phrase means to begin with, they are guessing at what it means, so use it incorrectly by accident, and the phrase that they really want ("raises the question", usually) is perfectly useful in itself. They are making a mistake, not changing the language to increase communication. This misuse of the phrase actually decreases communication.

It's like Spanglish for Spanish speakers.
Favorite example: The Spanish word for bookstore sounds like the English word for library (both derived from Latin, of course) so people call the library a bookstore. Then, the Spanish word for library sounds like it could mean bookstore (Latin, again) so that's how it's used. It isn't correct and if a Spanish pro writer used those words in those ways (outside of quotes) s/he would be rightly condemned for failing to communicate meaning.

Just felt like ranting today, Bogon - it's not about you and I appreciate your input. I do see a distinction but could be totally wrong here :)

So, it was either going to be a rant about this phrase or about the pro-death movement. Figured my wufriends would prefer this.


Enough with the ranting ...

Spend a moment thinking about our place in the sun on this day when the whole world gets to see (approximately ;) ) the same amount of our star's life-giving light.
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53. GardenGrrl
5:20 PM GMT on March 19, 2012
Told ya you should have come to the All-Con, they had a knitting work shop!
It was on Friday, I only went on Saturday.

Right now we have you alls left over weather front. Not much rain yet, but good gosh it's windy. If my toy anemometer reads 11mph it is probably close to thirty. The higher the wind speed the more the accuracy degrades.
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52. LowerCal
4:44 PM GMT on March 19, 2012
Bogon, I accept your axioms. Dictionaries document usage. Common misunderstandings of words can become alternate definitions with the passing of years. From the derivation history one can see that many words have come a very long way in meaning as well as distance from their origins.

Inappropriate acronym usage could become a second paragraph in my "I Hate When That Happens" lament and the offenders aren't limited to techno types. When the entire audience can reasonably be expected to understand the acronym then it is a great time saving shorthand; otherwise, it is just counterproductive and rude.

Allow me to illustrate my inclination to completely abandon a corrupted term with another example.

As a fellow computer professional you may already know the term but for those who don't here is an excellent description of the original concept: "Yak shaving" is a programmer's slang term for the distance between a task's start and completion and the tangential tasks between you and the solution. If you ever wanted to mail a letter, but couldn't find a stamp, and had to drive your car to get the stamp, but also needed to refill the tank with gas, which then let you get to the post office where you could buy a stamp to mail your letter - then you've done some yak shaving.

There are now two usages of the term with a nearly opposite meaning - yak shaving - Wiktionary. There is the original concept of "apparently unrelated but necessary" vs. "apparently related but unnecessary" rendering the term worse than useless for purposes of communication.
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51. Bogon
9:07 PM GMT on March 18, 2012
sp and Cal, I hesitate to weigh in on "begging the question", because I can see sense on both sides of the argument. Here's my considered opinion.

First I would offer the following statements as axiomatic:
  1. Languages evolve.
  2. The purpose of language is to communicate.

So, if you wish to communicate with a few stodgy old pedants, you need to learn Latin and figure out what petitio principii means. If you're talking to anyone else, i. e. most speakers of American English, I think that you would do well to take the expression "begs the question" at face value.

Otherwise you run the risk of sounding like the techno-weenies who speak entirely in acronyms. Their attitude seems to be that, if you are in with the in crowd, then you will know and understand all the acronyms. All other members of the audience can safely be accorded ridicule and disdain.
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50. LowerCal
8:00 PM GMT on March 18, 2012
I Hate When That Happens

A useful term can become meaningless and even confusing when frequently used by those who have incorrectly assumed the meaning. When a term's usage is headed in this direction I agree it is best to abandon the term.

I Love When That Happens

The usual evolution of rain events in SoCal is a day by day reduction in expectations followed by radar echos without rain reaching the ground and then *maybe* some rain but in totals disappointingly less than forecast. Relative to those considerations this weekend's rain was happily a "through the looking glass" event.

Woodland Hills received nearly an inch. Since our average for the entire month is only two thirds of an inch I'm calling the event a March miracle. However since it only brings the season total to less half the rain season average of 14 inches this is *not* a "miracle March".

Critiques of my usage of and creativity with idioms are welcome.
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49. SBKaren
4:41 PM GMT on March 18, 2012
So, here's what we ended up with

Yesterday: .44"
Today: .25" (so far)

It is windy and COLD outside. Party to continue as normal. At least the kids will be able to get in the bounce house without a tarp over it. Hopefully they'll jump enough to keep warm. Might have to get in there myself! (NOT!)

Dinner last night was fun - hit and miss rain showers all day and night long. Never any thunder and lightning, as they said we might have. Already been for a walk on this cold, windy morning, but I see lots of clearing. Just cold! Did I say it was cold out? It's COLD!
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48. sp34n119w
5:36 AM GMT on March 18, 2012
Not now. About half an hour before sunset.
Now there's just a lot of rain. It's been more fun than the quiet rain earlier.

I'm sure LC and Karen got rain but wonder how WTS is doing away down there.
Prolly out drinking green beer under clear skies, lol

gamma - see? Saints don't have that great sense of humor! :)

calpoppy - lucky you with the graupel! That stuff's so neat.
Do hope you get to play in the snow!


Ok. Now my favorites are gone from the wuclassic sidebar. Whatever. Back to my own greenery ;)
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47. calpoppy
11:39 PM GMT on March 17, 2012
Graupel is here:)) soon to change to snow!
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46. seflagamma
10:36 PM GMT on March 17, 2012
ROFLMAO!!! That is so true! I've been told that before! LOL
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45. sp34n119w
10:31 PM GMT on March 17, 2012
Oooooh hail! Teeny-tiny hail. Still, hail!
Followed shortly by sirens. And sun but no rainbow :(

The VC Watershed rain map is a good overview of the totals for quite a wide area.

What? I'm taking a short break. We had hail, after all :)

ETA: and there are a bunch of cows travelling SB on I5 near Lake Hughes, apparently. Not in a truck, as would be usual. You know, just fyi ;)
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44. sp34n119w
8:12 PM GMT on March 17, 2012
Woohoo! Rain :)
A light rain actually started around 10 last night but didn't show up on radar at all. It's remained light and fairly constant and we are ohsoclose to one inch. Don't know if we'll get there. The front is passing, temp dropped 5 degrees in about an hour (more since I started typing), so we'll wait and see how much shower activity we get behind that. You can see the low spinning away just off the coast, still north of SLO, and I wonder where it's going. Anyone know? I suppose I could find out ... but it's easier to ask those who have already looked, LOL
Wind has been gusty but no higher than the usual around here. Feels worse, because it's cold and it's slamming rain against the windows. Like there's a storm, or something!
Anyway, it looks like we may see some sunshine, here and there, in a bit.
No graupel, as yet - I'll keep wu posted ;)


bf - oh yeah, I saw you at Rood's, too - a place I'm even less inclined to frequent, lol, but his post was well done and I wanted to see if anyone actually addressed what he wrote, for a change, rather than just continuing their same old arguments. Oh, well. Glad you had some luck there.

gamma - thanks! That's a very cheerful graphic and I just might see a rainbow today!
I saw your blog title and I bet someone's already said this - you are a wonderful person but you ain't no saint! heehee ;)

Karen - when I was four my family went on a cross-country trip. I don't remember much of it and doubt I'd remember any of it if it weren't for the fact that I put my arm through a glass door and got tons of attention over it for the rest of the vacation. And lots of pictures of me with my bandage, LOL

Aw, poor Sadie - "Where you guys going? Really? In the water? Oh, maaaaaannnn! Fine, then!"
I had a dog who liked water up to her belly and no more. She'd run through the shallows at the beach chasing birds (they were at no risk, believe me) but if a wave got her she'd run away and then stare at it with a hurt look on her face like, "whad ya do that for? I was having fun!"

Yeah, you'll have a good time with your big boys today - and tomorrow :)
Remember to say "arghh!" a lot!


Okeedokee. I need to get back to doing what I said I was going to do with the rainy day, but ...

Another plug for Rock Beyond Belief, coming up on March 31, already - a brief write-up of the history of the event in the Washington Post by the prez of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.

Richard Dawkins is going to be there but also several other locations on the east coast and then the west coast. It begins with the Reason Rally in DC. He'll be in Santa Barbara and San Diego and Seattle early next month. (no "www") provides all of his schedule and more. Hmmm, Harris will be at caltech next week, with other interesting people.
Well, just figured there might be someone amongst my readers who might be interested.


Oh, I know what I wanted to say.
I have a request. A request addressed to all English speakers and writers. Can we all agree to stop using the phrase "begs the question", please? Seriously, you think you know what it means, but, 95% of the time, you are wrong. Use the phrase you mean and leave this one alone. Even if you know what it means, and always use it correctly, by so doing you are encouraging its use by others who are less clear. It is really only useful in formal argument and, even there, not so much. There are other options. So, hey, why don't we all just agree that nobody will use it at all? This will save me, and a handful of others, from hurting ourselves through the uncontrollable physical reaction to improper usage. I left a dent in my head from the spine of a book the other night. Really.
So, do we agree? Please?


Now I really am going to go do what I said I'd do, LOL

Happy Saturday - enjoy your weather, if you can :)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
43. SBKaren
5:57 PM GMT on March 17, 2012
well I don't want the boys' party rained out, but ...
It'll help them remember it forever and ever - the year they and their friends tore up the house because it was pouring rain or too cold to go outside, LOL
What are they doing turning six already anyway?!?! That can't be right.

You're thinking the way I am thinking. How can they be six already? But they are :( Going way too fast. You know, you are right about the memories. The vacations I remember the best are when something didn't go right. We had a vacation back in 1993 - to Lake Tahoe (where else) and we went with another family. They towed their boat up there and we had great plans, that never transpired. We had the most violent thunder and lightening storms. Our camp actually got washed out. We went to stay with my sister-in-law up in Kingsbury Grade (at the top of Kingsbury grade on the way down to Nevada), and our friends were welcome too, but the opted for a hotel room. We finally drove down the mountain to Folsom Lake. But we all remember that camping trip!!!

I think what you got this morning was heavy marine layer, from what I saw on the news - they said it was drizzling at the beach this morning.
Does Sadie like the rain? Some dogs seem to revel in it and others just hate it.

I think you are right- it was pretty much drizzly. Much more like a heavy marine layer than rain. Sadie doesn't seem to be bothered by the rain. She has such a thick coat of fur that it pretty much just stays on top. But makes it hard to dry her! She's not crazy about going in water. We've taken her down to dog beach a few times, and the only way we can get her in the water is if we go in. Here's a picture - you can sense her resistance, but she is trying to follow us!

I'm going to try to hunker down, too, for sure. You have much better reason to be out than I :) Hope you all have a fun and safe weekend celebration!

We should have a good time regardless. I hear my daughter is here now. She needs to run to Target and I promised to go with her. Sounds like we're having a little break....wonder how long it will last!
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42. seflagamma
3:59 PM GMT on March 17, 2012
Hello SP,

Happy St Patti's Day!!!

Rainbow image
St Patricks Day Graphics
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41. Barefootontherocks
3:27 AM GMT on March 17, 2012
Hi, and good to see you also, sp. and your pals here.
Saw me on the main blog. lol. Yes I have been having some fun there. And at Ricky Rood's (Add: Where a couple bloggers did unlock horns for a moment and try to talk about solutions. lol) But, you know, these are only fleeting attempts at balance.

Interesting about the router. I have had to switch my internet service last month or so and ended up with a wireless router, so that's good to know - also what Bogon said.

Came by mostly to say
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40. sp34n119w
3:08 AM GMT on March 17, 2012
LC - my, that is depressing. Colorful, though! I suspect it would look about the same for SP. Will we have November and March as the rainiest months? Weird!
Thanks for the tv tips!

Ylee - that's good thinking!
The area Karen mentions seems at greatest risk of slide, at the moment. Of course, it can happen anywhere.
Heavy (for us) rain after a long dry spell means the ground is hard-packed and water won't sink in well. That leads to a lot of street flooding and overflow of the systems meant to whoosh water away.
This is why I wrote, "And wouldn't that be loverly? Mostly." If we get more than a couple inches at once somebody somewhere will be sorry.

I think they sped up the front a bit so it looks more like low-end amounts at high rates.
Thanks for checking up on us :)

WTS - YES! Graupel for meeeee!!! LOL
I agree - no March Miracle this year. We don't need it as much as the year that term was coined, though.
That's totally from memory of memory - no idea which year that was! Otter look that up ... ah! 1991, apparently. I think it actually started in late February so, yeah, not enough March left.

Here's hoping you get your share!

Karen - well I don't want the boys' party rained out, but ...
It'll help them remember it forever and ever - the year they and their friends tore up the house because it was pouring rain or too cold to go outside, LOL
What are they doing turning six already anyway?!?! That can't be right.

I think what you got this morning was heavy marine layer, from what I saw on the news - they said it was drizzling at the beach this morning.
Does Sadie like the rain? Some dogs seem to revel in it and others just hate it.

I'm going to try to hunker down, too, for sure. You have much better reason to be out than I :) Hope you all have a fun and safe weekend celebration!


The rain is in Monterey. Still sliding this way. Will it make it? Stay tuned!
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39. SBKaren
11:47 PM GMT on March 16, 2012
Hey sp - the rain already started here today. Well, I should say that the drizzles already started here today. It was drizzly wet when I took Sadie for her walk this AM. We were wet when we got home. Had to use a large beach towel to get her all dry. Matter-of-fact, I just checked my weather station and we've already had .02" of rain! Now I know that's not much, but since we weren't really expecting anything today - we'll take it! We actually got up to 64º today too!

But boy, is it ever gloomy outside now. There was a break of sunshine and it looked like it was right over the coast. That is highly unusual.

Ylee - mudslides in this area are always of concern - well, at least in the areas where there are the right conditions. We're pretty flat where I live - so nothing to slide. But San Pedro has some special concerns: San Pedro Landslider

I've been gone most of the day - it was the day to help mom - but I also took her out to lunch. Part of her Christmas present. We decided (hubby and me) to run our own errands afterwards, since this weekend looks like a good weekend to hunker down.

Except we're going out to dinner for the boys' birthday tomorrow night (maybe it will have stopped, or at least lessened by then), and then their party is on Sunday. I'm more concerned about that than anything. They say hit and miss showers on Sunday, but it's going to be COLD! Guess 5 and 6 year olds won't feel the cold though - they are too busy moving! LOL
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38. WatchinTheSky
11:26 PM GMT on March 16, 2012
LowerCal's charts look pretty gloomy, and match what we see in north San Diego county. I don't think there is enough March (Martius) left to have a March Miracle, oh well. I would be real pleased to get an inch of rain from the 'storm of the season' but that doesn't say much for the season.
Graupel for sp!
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37. Ylee
10:40 PM GMT on March 16, 2012
SP, when I see that SoCal is getting a lot of rain after a dry spell, I think of mudslides. Is that a legit concern there, or am I being alarmist? :)
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36. LowerCal
11:56 AM GMT on March 16, 2012
I haven't updated these charts for February but the difference wouldn't be significant. Pierce College in Woodland Hills only recorded .03" for February.

Source data: Los Angeles Pierce College Weather Station

The technical term for this weekend's rain event is "March Miracle" ;^) and there's a chance for another in the final week of March. In any case the season deficit won't be erased so we won't have a "Miracle March". The fire season might be postponed until late spring anyway. :^/

I've watched about 30 minutes of the 2 hour Science Channel's "Are We Alone?". So far it's been a good survey and update on what we know about the possibility and nature of life elsewhere.

The hummingbird thing is PBS so you can always find more information and watch online Hummingbirds: Magic in the Air.
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