The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Comment problems?

I've heard that people are having trouble leaving comments on the blog. Please let me know if you try to leave a comment and get an error message. I have an idea why this is happening—Das Blog has some defects in the way it handles multiple time zones—and I need more data.

Thank you.

Hurricane season finally ends--no, for real this time

Even though I previously reported that the 2005 Atlantic Hurricane Season had ended, it appears my entry of four weeks ago was premature. The season acutally ended today as Tropical Depression Zeta finally dissipated. Forecaster Stewart at the National Hurricane Center reports:

SHOWER ACTIVITY HAS CONTINUED TO DECREASE AND IS NOW LIMITED TO JUST A FEW SKINNY BANDS OF SHALLOW CONVECTION WELL TO THE EAST OF THE CENTER. AS SUCH... ZETA NO LONGER MEETS THE CRITERIA OF A TROPICAL CYCLONE... WHICH MEANS THAT BOTH IT AND THE 2005 ATLANTIC HURRICANE SEASON HAVE ENDED.
I SUPPOSE IT IS ONLY FITTING THAT THE RECORD-BREAKING 2005 ATLANTIC HURRICANE SEASON ENDS WITH A RECORD BREAKING STORM. TODAY... ZETA SURPASSED 1954 ALICE #2 AS THE LONGEST-LIVED TROPICAL CYCLONE TO FORM IN DECEMBER AND CROSS OVER INTO THE NEXT YEAR. ZETA WAS ALSO THE LONGEST-LIVED JANUARY TROPICAL CYCLONE. IN ADDITION...ZETA RESULTED IN THE 2005 SEASON HAVING THE LARGEST ACCUMULATED CYCLONE ENERGY...OR ACE... SURPASSING THE 1950 SEASON. SO... UNTIL THE 2006 SEASON BEGINS... UNLESS ZETA SOMEHOW MAKES AN UNLIKELY MIRACLE COMEBACK... THIS IS THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER SIGNING OFF FOR 2005... FINALLY.

This season was like a Beethoven symphony. Just when you think it's over, he throws another 64 bars at you.

 

And then another.

Yes, Virginia, there is a global idiot

I debated even calling attention to this latest bit of drivel from the mental midget extraordinaire, Pat Robertson. But he had this to say about critically-ill Ariel Sharon last night:

[The prophet Joel] makes it very clear that God has enmity against those who 'divide my land.' ... [Sharon] was dividing God's land, and I would say woe unto any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course to appease the [European Union], the United Nations or the United States of America.

Anti-Defamation League national director Abraham Foxman said, essentially, "STFU, Pat:"

His remarks are un-Christian and a perversion of religion. Unlike Robertson, we don't see God as cruel and vengeful.

So why not post this tidbit? Because it's never good to wrestle with a pig. You both get muddy, but the pig likes it.

Pop goes the hard drive

This morning I've been working in the Inner Drive Technology Comprehensive Testing Facility, trying to read an ancient hard drive I discovered a while ago. I've tried many methods to read this old 130 MB disk. It has two files on it, a "readme" file dated 23 February 1995, and a Doublespace volume with the same date. In other words, this hard drive is a snapshot of what I was doing 11 years ago.

In order to read a Doublespace volume, you need MS DOS 6.22, Windows 95, or Windows 98. I haven't had a Windows 98 computer in years, but Inner Drive does have MSDN Universal—and the IDTCTF. So last week I built a Windows 98 installation out of a computer that was, in 1997, my Web server, but has since 2001 collected dust somewhere. Too much dust, apparently.

It turns out that this computer has a bad disk controller. So, Plan B, I plugged the Windows 98 hard drive and the ancient Doublespace drive into a different computer, reconnected the power cord, and got a spark, a pop, and a wisp of smoke from the 11-year-old drive.

There are very few things less common or more totally destructive inside a computer than an electrical arc followed by smoke. (Fortunately the disk cage was outside the box at the time, and the two drives were more than 5 cm (2 in) apart, so the damage was localized.) I can therefore report, with unusual certainty, that the oldest hard disk in my possession is now a large paperweight. (I'll have a memorial photo up tonight or tomorrow.)

Goodbye, "WinSwap." I hardly new ye.

He even failed recess

The President yesterday made 17 recess appointments to positions requiring Senate approval, which gets the people into office until the Senate can meet.

In other words, the White House knows or has reason to believe that the Senate would not confirm, or would in some other way obstruct, these appointments. So the President just put them into office, where they stay until the Senate can hold confirmation hearings. This gives the Senate the opportunity to allow the appointments to stand without actually having the kind of "up-or-down vote" that the Republicans continually demand—the kind they refused to give more than 100 of Clinton's judicial nominees.

The Washington Post (reg.req.) reports:

President Bush yesterday made a raft of controversial recess appointments, including Julie L. Myers to head the Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau at the Department of Homeland Security, in a maneuver circumventing the need for approval by the Senate.
Myers, a niece of former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Richard B. Myers and the wife of the chief of staff to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, had been criticized by Republicans and Democrats who charged that she lacked experience in immigration matters.

Chertoff's chief of staff's wife? Well, I did make my wife my corporate counsel, but the confirmation process didn't involve the U.S. Senate or 50 million voters...

Sharon suffers major stroke

MSNBC is reporting this hour that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has suffered a "significant" stroke:

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon suffered a “significant” stroke Wednesday after being brought to the hospital from his ranch in the Negev desert, a hospital official said. Minutes later, a hospital official said Sharon had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage.
Dr. Shlomo Mor-Yosef, director general of Hadassah Hospital, said Sharon was put under general anesthetic and was receiving breathing assistance while doctors assessed his condition.
Cabinet Secretary Yisrael Maimon said Sharon’s authorities have been transferred to Vice Premier Ehud Olmert.

More as developments warrant.

Kill-a-Watt

My cousin Matt just sent me information about a portable power meter that you can use to see how much electricity your appliances are actually using. It's pretty cool.

It might be interesting to see how much power things use when they're off.

Zeta may become first-ever January hurricane

The National Hurricane Center reports this hour that Tropical Storm Zeta, only the second January tropical storm ever recorded, may become a hurricane. It probably won't, but it's already so close as to make the distinction irrelevant to any ships in the area.

I'm putting this in the Politics category as well as the Weather category because I believe it's one more example of the increased tropical activity predicted by the global warming hypothesis and ignored by current U.S. policy.

For those of you dying to know what the next tropical cyclone will be named, the NHC says the naming season begins January 1st, even though the "official" hurricane season begins June 1st. So the next Atlantic tropical storm will be named Alberto, even if it forms tomorrow.