June 13, 2006
Viral Video of the Day
February 17, 2006
Kip And A Cup
Wish I'd heard of this way to get twice the alertness:
January 24, 2006
It's what, 5:16 p.m. We're nearly done with The Most Depressing Day Of The Year!
December 08, 2005
Overheard in my house:
Son No. 1: "So we wear our pajamas inside-out and sleep with spoons under our pillows?"
Son No. 2: "Yeah, that way there's no school tomorrow."
Mother: "One way to make sure there IS school is to not do your homework tonight."
You play 20 videos of people smiling and tell it whether their expressions are natural or not.
I got more wrong than right.
Afterward, it will tell you how to spot the real thing. I won't give the secret away, but it's something to keep in mind.
December 04, 2005
I was going to check in on Philadelphia Weather's Rate-The-TV-Meteorologists report, describe my dog's early-morning, white-whiskered romp, tell of my 81-year-old cousin who still gets dancing feet on snow days.
But Buzzstuff has brought together science (the most snow to ever officially fall in Phoenix was one inch. Happened twice.), movie history (Frank Capra revolutionized fake snow in It's a Wonderful Life by introducing the quieter foamite, soap and water mixture) and foreign language (gives 32 Eskimo words for snow or snow-related things) with a good wintry post.
As for Philadelphia Weather's contest - he's announced he'll hold local meteorologists to their predictions this winter - the official measurement was .6 inches, landing at 2 a.m. Sunday.
CBS3 called for a slushy inch of snow turning to rain between 1 and 3 a.m.
6ABC said look for a coating to one inch from 1 to 4 a.m.
NBC10 said one to three inches between 2 and 3 a.m.
Fox29 went with a quarter inch to inch and a quarter from 2 to 4 a.m.
National Weather Service predicted an inch or so after midnight.
So, not very dramatic, these differences.
We get the opportunity to see Philadelphia Weather's own stuff Monday after 3 p.m., when he is calling for two to four inches of snow in Philadelphia. (More in Jersey) Accuweather is calling for three to six in the city.
The rest of the forecasts makes you want to load up on milk and bread:
CBS3: 2-4 City/I-95 Corridor, 3-6 S Jersey/DE, Starts 4-7 PM Philadelphia
6ABC: 3-6 City/S & E, 1-3 N & W, Starts by 4 PM Philadelphia
NBC10: 3-6 City/S & E, Less N & W, Starts Between 12-4
FOX29: 5-8 City/I-95 Corridor, 2-5 N & W, 8-11 S Jersey/DE, Starts between 2-3 PM Philadelphia
NWS: 5-7 City/Delaware County, 4-6 N & W, 5-8 S Jersey/DE
November 14, 2005
What Is The Frequency, Kenneth?
Those aluminum hats that protect you from the government's steady efforts to control your mind through radio signals?
They might just amplify the signals.
Some guy at MIT did a paper on it. Used Reynolds Wrap. The team worked up designs named Centurion, Classical and Fez. The pictures are impressive.
November 10, 2005
Weather forecasts scarier than the weather.... Giving snow storms names.... Predicting The Storm of The Decade! and then watching as no snow falls....
Ever wonder how much television weather people really know about what's headed our way?
Weather blogger Tom Thunstrom has. He's begun a contest to measure which Philadelphia-area station is best this winter at predicting the snow and rain that falls.
He's a hobbyist, not a meteorologist -- a non-profit organization manager who was struck by the weather bug at age 10 in Minnesota, when a tornado roared over his house. After that he was charting mini-forecasts for his parents on toy chalkboards, telling friends everything they always wanted to know about barometric pressure - and more.
If it hadn't been for differential equations and calculus, he figures he'd be a household name, paid the big bucks on TV to tell you about your drive home. Instead, he wound up majoring in history and poli sci, and runs a group that preaches about financial education.
In July the 29-year-old from upper Montgomery County, Pa., launched his blog that gives him outlet for atmospheric passions he says makes him more than a weather geek - he says he's a weather weenie. The site pulled fairly modest traffic over the summer, but picked up in the fall as the big storms hit - Katrina, Wilma etc.
Now he's looking to score with his 2005-2006 Winter Forecast Challenge:
Watching promotions for each of the TV stations in town, you hear claims that 3, 6, 10, or 29 is better than the competition for whatever reasons. Yet when you hear the ads, they don't tell you how accurate their forecasts are or how much more accurate their forecast is than their opponent.
He started keeping book Nov. 1, charting each low pressure system that visits Philadelphia. He will check measurements on snow and rain at Philadelphia International Airport. His system rounds predictions to the nearest inch and accounts for the frequent ranges given by meteorologists. (The narrower, the better score. And the lower the score, the better.)
For example, Channel 6 forecasts rain for the city, snow for the burbs. It rains at the airport with no snow accumulation. Channel 6 speculates the rain event to start between 5-8 AM and it starts at 9. They would score a 0 on precip and would score a 2 on timing (for being one hour off) for a total of 2 points for the event.
Example #2, Channel 29 forecasts 2-4" of snow for the city and says it starts around 7-9 AM. The airport gets rain but it starts as predicted, at 9 AM. 29 scores a 2 on precip but gets a 0 on timing for a total of 2 points on the event.
So far some local TV people are paying attention. CBS 3's weather producer Andy Rice has suggested some improvements to Thunstrom's methodology. Thunstrom has incorporated them.
November 07, 2005
Lines In The Water
The Sunday Telegraph ran some tests on the Thames River, and figured that every day the equivalent of 80,000 lines of cocaine are dumped into the water after passing though the users' and city's plumbing.
Doing some extrapolating, the paper figured that means 1 out of 25 Londoner's are tooting up regularly (or a smaller share is doing a whole lot of the stuff).
Understandably, officials are calling the results evidence of a "health care time bomb."
October 22, 2005
I remember Cancun before and after Gilbert. My folks used to have a time share down there. One image isl still in my dad's head from their trip in 1989. "A new hotel on the beach was leaning at about a 15 degree angle," he wrote in an email. "Eventually it had to be torn down. I can imagine what is happening now that Wilma won't go away. I hope the fish still have heads."
As for Florida, Masters says that Wilma could stick pack category 3 hurricane winds when it makes landfall. Or it could be merely another tropical storm. It depends on how much time Wilma spends hanging out over the water.
Given all these factors, I don't see any reason to change the range of probabilities I gave yesterday for Florida. I'd give Wilma a 10% chance of arriving on the Florida west coast as a Category 3 or higher storm, 20% as a Category 2, 40% as a Category 1, and 30% as a tropical storm. On Florida's east coast, knock these value down by half a Category (10 - 15 mph).