They Didn't Ask Me (dr_phil_physics) wrote,
They Didn't Ask Me
dr_phil_physics

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The Mysteries of Life

884 millibars

Up until this morning, the line on the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was "a lot of big destructive storms, but not the biggest." Last evening I heard that Tropical Storm Wilma had already jumped up to a Category 2 Hurricane Wilma, but this morning we have a Category 5 Hurricane Wilma with a central pressure of 884 mb, the lowest reading ever recorded for an Atlantic hurricane. Sustained winds of over 175mph and Cuba will take the first hit, then on to Florida this weekend it appears. Yikes.

The storm is going suck down cold air from the north onto Michigan, so our pleasant 60degF this morning will soon be history. I'm hoping it doesn't track up the East Coast and dump more rain on New England. Not a good year to be dirt -- it's getting washed out everywhere.

TV Hype

Besides the usual disaster/death watch on the cable news and weather channels, I saw an ad yesterday for a TV movie: Category 7: The End of the World. It never fails to impress me how no matter the size of any real disaster, Hollywood has to jump in with something BIGGER. Highest ranking of tornadoes is an F-5? Fine, we'll have an F-6 in a movie. The mythical but probable "Big One" in California Earthquakes is 9.0 on the Richter scale, so let's make a TV movie called 10.0.

It's Spinal Tap all over...

Nigel Tufnel: The numbers all go to eleven. Look, right across the board, eleven, eleven, eleven and...
Marty DiBergi: Oh, I see. And most amps go up to ten?
Nigel Tufnel: Exactly.
Marty DiBergi: Does that mean it's louder? Is it any louder?
Nigel Tufnel: Well, it's one louder, isn't it? It's not ten. You see, most blokes, you know, will be playing at ten. You're on ten here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you're on ten on your guitar. Where can you go from there? Where?
Marty DiBergi: I don't know.
Nigel Tufnel: Nowhere. Exactly. What we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do?
Marty DiBergi: Put it up to eleven.
Nigel Tufnel: Eleven. Exactly. One louder.
Marty DiBergi: Why don't you just make ten louder and make ten be the top number and make that a little louder?
Nigel Tufnel: [pause] These go to eleven.


I'm Late, I'm Late, For A Very Important Date

When I got to work this morning, I happened to notice that a colleague's car -- one of those compact Mercedes from like ten years ago -- had a right rear tire which was quite far down. Not completely flat, but large flabby "love handles" grabbing onto the asphalt. I got in touch with my colleague and offered the use of the 12-volt compressor I have in the back of my Blazer, but he "didn't have time". He'd noticed that the ride was very poor this morning, saw that the tire was low, but had to get to a dentist's appointment and figured to just put air in the tire at a gas station at some point.

I'm always paranoid about certain things and totally blase about others. I see a low tire and I don't want to have to either change a flat, wait around for AAA to come and change a flat or spend a lot of time sitting in the tire store waiting room while they do tires. So I'd want to pump up that puppy as soon as possible and see how fast it's leaking, to say nothing of damaging the tire by breaking down the sidewalls. I'm cheap, too, I guess.

Because none of have time any more. Our schedules have gotten crazy and hectic -- and that's without being a weirdo like me with a 150 miles of commuting a day -- and more inflexible for fitting in the normal diversions of modern life like auto repairs, doctor visits and dentists. Couple that with the bargains we make with ourselves... the tire isn't completely flat, so I should be able to make it some more today... maybe I'll get it filled tomorrow. If I have time... (grin)

The Moon, The Moon

Monday evening after sunset, I spotted a spectacular pink full moon rising over Grand Rapids. Very bright moonlit sky at 2:20am as I went to bed. Tuesday evening, at the same spot on I-196, it was too overcast to see if the moon was up yet. But by the time I got to 84th Avenue near Allendale, a slightly off-kilter no longer full yellow moon lay nestled on a couple of fluffy flat clouds, looking like some egg yolk surrounded by the rest of the fried egg... On both evenings, after the sun had set, brightly reflecting jet contrails heading east and west high overhead made it look like some primordial skyscape when the solar system was still flooded with comets -- beautiful, but full of impending impacts. I keep working on stories involving a sky full of comets, perhaps with scientists stranded on a developing planet's surface, unable to guess when the next killer comet would strike, but knowing one would...

Dr. Phil
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