Explosive Cyclogenesis: Or Enough With “Bomb Storm” Already

Once again, the various national media outlets have taken a perfectly useful technical term and turned it into something a la “Sharknado.” Without the funny bits and parody material (OK, so I liked it when the shark ghost came out of the bucket of water at the charity car wash. I’m strange, yes.)

Bombogenesis was a technical term developed after 1945 to describe a rapidly strengthening low-pressure system. The technical term was explosive cyclogenesis. Low pressure systems in North America are all, technically, cyclones and demonstrate cyclonic rotation. Tornadoes are cyclones, but most cyclones are not tornadoes. Clear as mud? OK, moving on. Continue reading

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Walking in Darkness

This is my time of year. I love going out after sundown and walking the neighborhood, or driving a few minutes to an older, historic neighborhood and walking back and forth, up and down the blocks, looking at lights and enjoying the dark spots. Times like Tuesday night, when the wind has settled and the air feels chilly but not bitter. I set a pace and go, walking and walking, covering miles without noticing. Continue reading

Conspiracy or Murphy?

So. On Monday the secretary took ill. You can imagine the ensuing chaos.

On Tuesday the secretary was still under the weather with The Dreaded Stomach Bug. And the two big copier/printer/scanners at work decided to throw tantrums. One stopped answering commands and instead thought it was off the network. That was OK, because it was “just” the back-up unit for the Middle School. But the big beast, the one everyone counts on, started eating paper in the middle of a 200-page job.

Like this, but with more torn pages, toner tracks, and Drama.

As in grabbed three sheets, twisted the first one and scrunched it into a rumpled, torn wad, spat toner on the second page, and jammed the second and third pages together, leading to a five-letter jam.* I unjammed and cleaned the beast out twice before it settled down**. And that evening I stabbed myself with a fork while emptying the dish-washer. Continue reading

Not Funny, Not Appealing: Society and Catalogues

I first noticed it last spring. I was reading the blurb for a white jacket, which was told as a vignette. The first time I read it, I was amused. Then I wasn’t. The more I thought about that little piece of verbiage, the more it irked me. Subsequent copies of the same catalogue revealed a pattern I’d not seen before this year. Successful women were all corporate raiders or high-power lawyers, in some cases who could send men out of their offices weeping. That was the catalogue copy-writer’s idea of a strong woman. Ugh.

Last week a junque catalogue came that purports to be about entertaining and encouraging women. The items range from paeans to alcohol, insults about men, grrrrrl power, mermaids (apparently mermaids are trendy?), a few things about happy marriages, more booze-themed stuff, and snarky posters and plaques, and folk-art-lite jewelry. Continue reading

Restriction or Protection? Speech and Government

Free speech has been a hot topic this year. Is some speech too “dangerous” or “Painful” or “hatred-inciting” to be allowed? Can someone be prosecuted for showing a historical photograph that might be offensive to a protected group? While people in the US are arguing about it, and Canada’s parliament is listening to testimony about possible regulation of “Islamophobic” speech, the German government has made it a federal offense, punishable by large fines, if social media platforms do not quickly remove any material deemed “offensive and hateful” by the German government. And then there’s this, courtesy of the Gatestone Institute:

Meanwhile, the district court in Munich recently sentenced a German journalist, Michael Stürzenberger, to six months in jail for posting on his Facebook page a historical photo of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, shaking the hand of a senior Nazi official in Berlin in 1941. The prosecution accused Stürzenberger of “inciting hatred towards Islam” and “denigrating Islam” by publishing the photograph. The court found Stürzenberger guilty of “disseminating the propaganda of anti-constitutional organizations”. While the mutual admiration that once existed between al-Husseini and German Nazis is an undisputed historical fact, now evidently history is being rewritten by German courts. Stürzenberger has appealed the verdict.

 

I strongly encourage you to read the entire article from the Gatestone Institute. It is a clear example of what happens when a government’s powers come from above, not from below, and when protecting the people from possibly damaging ideas and words is more important than freedom of debate and discussion. The Germans, and British, are not the first to follow this path. In many ways, they are on the traditional route, and it is the United States that went totally off the historical deep end. As is our wont. Continue reading