Saturday, May 28, 2011

Lose the attitude

This is Gary England. If you don't live in Oklahoma he's just some old weather man with a funny accent. If you live in Oklahoma, this is the man you turn to to tell you when the EF5 tornado is going to hit your trailer house.

In short, he is a god, a god of weather prediction, or perhaps he is the patron saint of weather, you get the idea. He is(was) the man. He is a local celebrity and worshiped by many. The Lost Ogle (a local OKC blog) even markets and sells shirts in his honor. That's where I picked up this clip of Gary laying down the law.

I've been watching Gary on TV since 1971 when we moved back to Oklahoma from Guam. Norman Oklahoma is the home of the National Severe Storms Center. In the shadow of that institution the 'big three' channels (CBS, ABC, NBC) in OKC spent ridiculous amounts of money on weather radar. The competition is fierce too. The "big three" all have their signature weather men. There is something for everyone.
If you want to hear about how you are about to die: Mike Morgan, NBC
If you are sure you are not going to die: Rick Mitchell, ABC
If you want a no nonsense approach to what the weather is doing: Gary England, CBS

I have literally heard Mike Morgan tell us we were all going to die during the Christmas Eve Snowpocalype of 2009. It was a blizzard. We've seen them before. Chill out man.

We've once again been the victim of the brutal weather on the plains. Deadly weather. The tornadoes that wrecked the state on May 24, 2011 killed 25 people (as of this post) in Oklahoma. They could have killed hundreds more if it were not for these weathermen and their amazing radar technology. We are fortunate to have hours to prepare or get out of the way due to their storm tracking broadcasts.

While we all joke about what Okies do when they hear the tornado sirens, they go outside and film the tornado of course but we manage to survive. The news room is no place for attitude when someone out there is facing this... May 24, 2011, Piedmont Oklahoma Tornado, (5:54) or this... April 14th, 2011, Tushka Oklahoma, Multi-Vortex Tornado (5:06)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Well played you cheeky bastards

More than one person has wanted to call Barack Obama a 'smart alec', and now British police will get the chance to do so without getting reprimanded.
That's because Scotland Yard has tapped the codename 'Chalaque' to refer to the U.S. president for security reasons during his upcoming state visit to the United Kingdom May 24-26.

Indarjit Singh, a Punjabi speaker in the UK who is director of the Network of Sikh Organisations, told the Sunday Times the word 'is sometimes used when we want to denigrate someone who we think is too clever for their own good'.

I'm sure President Obama would appreciate the humor in the name.

If you can't laugh at yourself, then how can you laugh at anybody else? I think people see the human side of you when you do that.
- Payne Stewart

Thursday, May 26, 2011

What do nerds talk about in their nerderies?

Which topic are science journalists most likely to talk about when they get together?
A) The epistemological issues raised by multiverse theories;
B) The revival of social Darwinist ideas in Tea Party rhetoric;
C) The relevance of experiments on sea slug brains to the debate over free will;
D) Statistical evidence linking global warming to this spring's tornado outbreak;
or E) None of the above.

The answer is E, because what science journalists usually talk about when they get together is the sorry state of science journalism (including health and technology).

Richard Hayden: My fellow nerds and I will retire to the nerdery with our calculators. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 Headline: This isn't 'Nam; this is gopher hunting. There are rules

It's springtime in Montana, and that can mean only one thing: gopher hunting.

But while going afield in search of vermin is a popular rite of spring here, the hobby can exasperate landowners who have not invited people to open fire in their fields.

A major problem, as Sheppard sees it, is people shooting from public roads at the critters - which are actually Richardson's ground squires but referred to as gophers everywhere between here and wherever Caddyshack was filmed.

DDDN: "Correct me if I'm wrong, but if I go shooting all the ground squires they are going to lock me up and throw away the key."
Editor: Ground squirrels....DOH!

I love to catch editing mistakes.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Whether you like it or not...

Next month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is expected to declare that all vehicles must contain an event data recorder, known more commonly as a “black box.” The device, similar to those found in aircraft, records vehicle inputs and, in the event of a crash, provides a snapshot of the final moments before impact.

That snapshot could be viewed by law enforcement, insurance companies and automakers. The device cannot be turned off, and you’ll probably know little more about it than the legal disclosure you’ll find in the owner’s manual.

The pending mandate looks to some like a gross overreach of government authority, or perhaps an effort by Uncle Sam, the insurance industry and even the automakers to keep tabs on what drivers are doing. But if you’re driving a car with airbags, chances are there’s already one of these devices under your hood.

I'm not with the privacy people on this. If this device can be used to LOWER my car insurance fees...then bring it on. I pay a ridiculous amount for car insurance, mainly because of two younger drivers, but also because we are pretty safe drivers, obey the traffic laws (for the most part) and drive the speed limit on city streets.

I'd like it better if they would crack down on drivers WITHOUT insurance, including towing their cars and notifying local constabularies when someone's insurance drops. If we are all supposed to have it then punish those who don't. Stop punishing those who BUY IT with higher rates because people around them don't own it.

Where my foot does come down is making us retro fit old cars with devices. That is definitely unfair.