I had planned to take two co-workers up for a sightseeing flight around Nashua last Tuesday, but the 500-foot ceilings and 24-knot winds argued against it. So we postponed until today.
The terminal area forecast right now calls for northeast winds at 14 gusting to 24 knots with 5,000-foot ceilings, with both winds and ceiling diminishing to 12 knots and 1200 feet respectively by 9pm (01:00 UTC).
So, once again, I'll use the #1 Aviation Safety Procedure: "staying on the ground."
Phooey. I wanted to fly.
I'm still getting to know the Canon 20D that Anne gave me last month. I've introduced it to my (15-year-old) 80-200 zoom that hitherto has hung out with my old EOS Rebel film camera. Because the image sensor on the 20D has only 63% of the area as a pane of 35mm film, lens lengths are extended 1.6x, making the lens, in effect, a 128-320 zoom. Combine that with bright daylight and selectable ISO speeds, and you get 1/3200 shutter at f/5.6, which eliminates camera shake:
Sadly, after carefully examining the raw version of this photo and the lens I used to take it, I have discovered that the 20D forgives absolutely nothing. Here's a detail of the original without any processing (though at higher compression than raw). Notice the subtle blue shimmer along the branch edges, and the general lack of focus? I believe those are lens artifacts. Given the dust visible inside the lens (in the sealed parts where cleaning is impossible without dismantling it), and the aging of the visible lens surfaces, I think it's time for a new long lens.
Rocky Raccoon checked into a room. Here's the AP story:
Raccoon found atop Loop skyscraper
A wayward raccoon has been living on top of a 43-story building in Chicago's Loop.
A construction manager didn't believe it at first when a worker reported seeing the raccoon on the 36th floor of the Kluczynski Federal Building, but a cell-phone photo provided proof. The critter was climbing scaffolding at the building, where the facade is being restored.
Construction boss Tony Slavic used tuna to bait a humane trap on the roof and eventually captured the raccoon. On Tuesday, he released it into a forest preserve in suburban Chicago.
The National Hurricane Center just released a bulletin about the first tropical depression of the year, now developing off the Western coast of Cuba. This would be an exhibition game, I suppose, since the regular season isn't supposed to start until June 1st...
(No link yet; apparently NOAA's Web guys are still hibernating.
Well, this is interesting. Ten states and two cities today filed suit against the Environmental Protection Agency seeking enforcement of the Clean Air Act to force cuts in greenhouse gas emissions:
The states, led by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer [quel surprise—ed.], want the government to require tighter pollution controls on the newest generation of power plants.
In July 2005, a three-judge panel in the same court upheld the EPA's decision not to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from cars and trucks under the Clean Air Act. The agency argues the law does not authorize them to regulate emissions to reduce global warming, and maintains there is not enough scientific data to support such a move.
Not enough data? Tell that to Kiribati and Nunavut.
(Found first on Dr. Heidi Cullen's blog at weather.com
Let's sum up: The administration's energy and foreign policies have helped create a dire shortage of oil and prevented creation of alternatives. Yet, Bush is "probing" rising gas prices. There are only two possible conclusions: either he does not understand the connection, or he is lying about not understanding the connection.
"Energy experts predict gas prices are going to remain high throughout the summer, and that's going to be a continued strain on the American people," Bush said....
Under pressure from GOP leaders, Bush is taking a tough public line with the U.S. oil companies that are recording record profits and paying hefty salaries and retirement packages to executives.
Remember Upton Sinclair's wisdom: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."
This story directly connects to two important milestones for today. First, as of 1pm Eastern time today (17:00 UTC), there are no more than 1,000 days left in the Bush administration. Let's start the countdown; it's our own "thousand points of light."
Second, as many people know, today is the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster. The Russian and Ukrainian governments are still cleaning up from it, yet nucular—sorry, nuclear—energy is starting to look more environmentally friendly than its principal competitors, oil and coal. This suggests that our problem isn't from where we get our energy, but how much we use. What a concept.
Just perfect for Earth Day.
I'm even wearing vegan shoes that the Vegan Fashion Scout found for me.
I thought of this lovely poem around 5:30 this morning.
I woke early one morning,
The earth lay cool and still
When suddenly a tiny bird
Perched on my window sill,
He sang a song so lovely
So carefree and so gay,
That slowly all my troubles
Began to slip away.
He sang of far off places
Of laughter and of fun,
It seemed his very trilling,
brought up the morning sun.
I stirred beneath the covers
Crept slowly out of bed,
Then gently shut the window
And crushed his fucking head.
Economist Paul Krugman (sub.req.) in today's New York Times lays out exactly how Exxon-Mobil has tried to undermine climate research since the mid-1980s:
The people and institutions Exxon Mobil supports aren't actually engaged in climate research. They're the real-world equivalents of the Academy of Tobacco Studies in the movie "Thank You for Smoking," whose purpose is to fail to find evidence of harmful effects.
But the fake research works for its sponsors, partly because it gets picked up by right-wing pundits, but mainly because it plays perfectly into the he-said-she-said conventions of "balanced" journalism. A 2003 study, by Maxwell Boykoff and Jules Boykoff, of reporting on global warming in major newspapers found that a majority of reports gave the skeptics—a few dozen people, many if not most receiving direct or indirect financial support from Exxon Mobil—roughly the same amount of attention as the scientific consensus, supported by thousands of independent researchers.
I still haven't forgiven Exxon for the Exxon Valdez disaster (and neither have the sea otters, who are still affected). This is just one more nail.
Because Passover begins at sundown. Use the Weather Now sunrise calculator to figure out exactly when that is. (It's 7:25pm in Nashua, 7:29pm in Chicago, and 7:39pm in Monterey, Calif., for those keeping score at home.)