Friday, January 29, 2016

Elevation Makes Precipitation

There's a very strong orographic component to this storm, characterized by NWS Reno as a "modest atmospheric river". It's raining a lot at higher elevations, but hardly at all in the valley:

(Last 24 hours worth of precipitation, in inches)


Trading Operas

Gabriel and I traded John Adams' operas. I lent him "Dr. Atomic": he lent me "Nixon in China". They are both so good!

Today, I shared with him small fragments from my rock collection of (mildly radioactive) Trinitite. The entire Trinity Site crater was coated with the greenish glass, formed from molten sand, after the first atomic bomb detonated.

Nuclear power - it is a thing!

China is a thing too. Kathleen Kim is so over-the-top as Chiang Ch'ing!

Opera: A Deceptive Pursuit

An emergency behind every door:
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- Police in Amsterdam mistakenly kicked in the door of a local opera singer after residents called in reports of a man screaming.

...The singer did not hear the knocks and was unaware anyone was at the door until it was kicked in. Police found him singing along to a song while wearing headphones.

The Mailman Always Rings Twice

It's interesting to watch Bella contemplate an escalating range of threats.

On Monday night, I was quite disturbed by the sudden disappearance of a large, familiar tree on X Street. The tree was still there Sunday night, but it vanished. Presto! Gone! Nevertheless, Bella thought the matter inconsequential.

Last night, we could hear an animal scratching around between two houses, but couldn't see it in the darkness. Who knows what it was? A raccoon, perhaps? Bella started lunging and barking the way a dog should when confronting an unknown animal.

Tonight, we watched a car making intermittent stops in the neighborhood. A man would get out and make a delivery to each house. I recognized these as newspaper delivery people, but the pattern of delivery reminded Bella of someone else, someone far more sinister. Bella stiffened and came to attention, ready to strike in an instant. Yes, as horrible as it was to contemplate, here was clear and convincing evidence that The Mailman, the Most Dangerous Person on Earth, also delivered at night.

The Evangelicals Betray Cruz

Back in 1980, I was among a group of people protesting outside a Tucson arena where Jerry Falwell was to speak.

After the speech started, we realized the arena doors were unlocked and apparently unguarded, and so we ventured inside to chant "Sieg Heil!", only to realize that it was a trap. We were expected! Falwell pointed towards us and used us as godless foils in his speech about the decline of morality in America. Attendees recoiled in fear. We were boxed in by beefy guys, and forced to hold hands with them. In their tight, suffocating embrace, we all sang "God Bless America" together.

So, I'm familiar with getting sandbagged by evangelicals on a political mission. Poor Ted Cruz. Never saw it coming:
But there's a simple explanation for the evangelical embrace of Trump: Having not succeeded in making America Christian, evangelicals coalescing around Trump have decided to settle for making it great (or "great," as the case may be).

It's all there in Falwell's own words about Trump, whom he describes as "a successful executive and entrepreneur, a wonderful father and a man who I believe can lead our country to greatness again." Note that Trump is not described as a wonderful husband, often a crucial criterion for evangelical voters, or as a revivalist who will save the Christian nation, or even as the guardian of crucial Supreme Court appointments who could oversee making abortion illegal in all 50 states.

Cheese, The Hardest Drug

Cheese addiction:
Researchers from the University of Michigan have revealed that cheese contains a chemical found in addictive drugs.

Using the Yale Food Addiction Scale, designed to measure a person’s cravings, the study found that cheese is particularly moreish because it contains casein.

Was There a Pause in Global Warming?


Peace Garden

I just noticed this little Peace Garden (apparently created by the Aikido Center), next to the bus stop on 21st, next to Pancake Circus, but only because Bella and I have been walking past there every night, and like all dogs do with monuments, she keeps trying to find excuses to pee there. It's nice! She can pee somewhere else.

The Role of Warm Ocean Temperatures in Promoting Snowfall

Jerry Steffens writes:
People sometimes scoff at the idea that increased snowfall could be associated with warmer temperatures, but this past weekend we saw an example of just that. As the accompanying figure shows, water temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean are considerably warmer than average. When this happens, there is a stronger temperature contrast with arctic air masses that descend from Canada, providing more energy for storms. (In meteorological jargon, the process is called baroclinic energy conversion.) This is one reason why the recent storm was able to become so intense.

Perlstein on Trump

Rick Perlstein, historian of modern American politics, on Donald Trump:
The feeling I got was that this was the first time in a very long time that I’ve read anything about the Republican Party that I couldn’t assimilate into my normal categories. That was a very uncanny and uncomfortable feeling for me. I realized that I had to go back to the drawing board and rethink what was going on. This is something that’s very new, very strange, and very hard to assimilate into what we thought we knew about how the Republican Party worked.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Young Ted Cruz Reflects on his Goals in Life

Yosemite Sarah Palin

Japanese Prius Ad

Difficulty Adjusting to India

Events at 5:50 are amazing!

That Chicken Has Focus!

Politics Newly Leaked Emails Indicate Michigan Republicans Didn’t Poison Water To "Save Money"

They did it to sabotage Michigan government:
MCM also reports that “A high-ranking DWSD official told us today that Detroit offered a 50% reduction over what Flint had been paying Detroit. In fact, documents show that DWSD made at least six proposals to Flint, saying “the KWA pipeline can only be attributed to a ‘political’ objective that has nothing to do with the delivery – or the price – of water.” The deal was signed in 2013, and Governor Snyder refuses to release the emails from this period – refusing to offer up the paper trail of how, exactly this decision was made.

OccupyDemocrats cannot independently confirm or deny these allegations, however; if they are true, they begin to paint a very different picture than the one we originally thought we were looking at. What appears at first to have been a tragic case of desperate cost-cutting and criminal negligence is now taking on the contours of a much deeper conspiracy in which the people of Flint were a sacrificial lamb on the alter of free market fascism.

Hoofwanking Bunglecunt

Royal Philharmonic At The Mondavi Center

Elgar, Mozart, and Brahms at the Royal Philharmonic, Pinchas Zukerman conducting.

I Have A Dream, 2016

On The Trail of Planet Nine

They don't have it yet, but they are zeroing in:
"A good theory should not only explain things that you set out to explain. It should hopefully explain things that you didn't set out to explain and make predictions that are testable," says Batygin.

And indeed Planet Nine's existence helps explain more than just the alignment of the distant Kuiper Belt objects. It also provides an explanation for the mysterious orbits that two of them trace. The first of those objects, dubbed Sedna, was discovered by Brown in 2003. Unlike standard-variety Kuiper Belt objects, which get gravitationally "kicked out" by Neptune and then return back to it, Sedna never gets very close to Neptune. A second object like Sedna, known as 2012 VP113, was announced by Trujillo and Sheppard in 2014. Batygin and Brown found that the presence of Planet Nine in its proposed orbit naturally produces Sedna-like objects by taking a standard Kuiper Belt object and slowly pulling it away into an orbit less connected to Neptune.

But the real kicker for the researchers was the fact that their simulations also predicted that there would be objects in the Kuiper Belt on orbits inclined perpendicularly to the plane of the planets. Batygin kept finding evidence for these in his simulations and took them to Brown. "Suddenly I realized there are objects like that," recalls Brown.

Rose The Rat On Broadway

Filling a special need:
“Given that she was abandoned along the median of the West Side Highway, I had absolutely zero expectations,” she said. “I just wanted to give her a decent life. Who knew?”

A Picture Of Tev Ditter At The Mondavi Center in 2012 Or 2013

(Courtesy of Jackie Shelley.)

My Theater World Is Colliding With "Breaking Bad"

OK, this is getting bizarre. The Totah family have been a part of our theater, DMTC, for many years. And JJ Totah has been working with Jesse Plemons, from "Breaking Bad"? Just too strange! Too strange! I will have to get drunk, and consider.

(Oh, by the way, don't let JJ ride a dirt bike, because Jesse can't help himself.)
It won’t be hard to find Totah after his star-making performance last night. The child actor is only featured in two of Other People’s scenes — he plays the flamboyant younger brother of Plemons’s best friend — but he makes the goddamn most of them: Totah waltzes into his first scene casually hitting on the far-older Plemons, then spends his second scene in drag, staging an over-the-top, twerk-filled performance for his bemused family. It’s rare to see such an exuberantly gay kid onscreen, and as Totah described his character afterwards, he delivered the equivalent of a double-snap sermon and brought the house down.

Handsome People

Tonight's challenge was to keep Bella from colliding with others on the sidewalk. The first group was 2 tall, handsome guys. The second group was 2 fairly good looking homeless men sitting in a storefront with a Pit Bull puppy. The third group was a devastatingly handsome man and his beautiful platinum blonde female companion climbing into a truck at 1:30 a.m. I don't know where all these beautiful people came from all of a sudden, but it's an improvement.

The GOP's Criminal Treatment of Flint, MI

A good run down of the problems created by the removal of accountability in government, through the Reign of the Emergency Managers, which was imposed on Michigan's cities by the Republican Party.
Flint was one of the first cities to be assigned an emergency manager in 2011, and over the course of four years had four such managers. One of the first manager's first acts was to suspend local government, and this remained essentially in force until the departure of the last emergency manager in 2015. Even today, Flint is under the scrutiny of a "transition advisory board" that has veto power over any local decision, and that has frequently overstepped its professed limited mandate to assure fiscal restraint.

Woody Guthrie, Meet Fred Trump

Not a match made in Heaven:
In December 1950, Woody Guthrie signed his name to the lease of a new apartment in Brooklyn. Even now, over half a century later, that uninspiring document prompts a double-take.

Below all the legal jargon is the signature of the man who had composed “This Land Is Your Land,” the most resounding appeal to an equal share for all in America. Below that is the signature of Donald Trump’s father, Fred. No pairing could appear more unlikely.

Not A Nabokov Supporter

Some things are equivalent to overheard private conversation. Some things shouldn't be in print:
It is no secret that the pueblos of New Mexico maintained and continue to assert tight control over the release of sensitive religious or cultural information to outsiders. According to Nabokov and Wilbert Hunt, Edward was exiled from both Acoma and from Santa Ana, another of the Keresan-speaking pueblos, for being vocal about his Christian faith and for failing to participate in traditional cultural and religious activities. Reasons for the close control over ritual knowledge include the Catholic Church’s attempts to stamp out Native American religions during the Spanish Colonial period and the similar efforts of Protestant missionaries from the 1840s onward. Beginning in 1884, U.S. law forbade the practice of Native American religions, a law that was not entirely superseded until the passage of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act in 1978. And anthropologists themselves have not always behaved according to pueblo standards of decorum. At Zuni Pueblo, in the 1880s and 1890s, BAE anthropologists Frank Hamilton Cushing and Matilda Coxe Stevenson comported themselves so poorly that they have never been forgotten. It is said they forced their way into closed ritual performances and kivas, or underground ritual chambers. Although Cushing somehow got himself initiated into Zuni’s Bow Priesthood, he was also been implicated in the removal and replication of sacred materials like kachina masks and images of the War Gods.