As Brendan mentioned in a previous post, Apple today released the long expected (and awaited by many) MacBook.
Weighing in at 5 lbs, and sporting a 1280 x 800 13.3″ screen, 1.8-2.0Ghz Intel Core Duo processor, and a host of other features, including built in iSight camera, the MacBook is available in the now common Apple white, or as Nun Mouse points out for a $150 premium jet black.
But the bigger news for Mac fans and computer users in general is that this marks the death knell for the venerable PowerBook line. With the release of the MacBook, the 12″ PowerBook G4 was quitely removed from Apple’s online store today, it was the last remaining PowerBook as its bigger siblings have been replaced by the MacBook Pro line.
Although there were portable computers, and even notebook computers before it, the PowerBook was one of the industry leaders througout its run, introducing the modern laptop keyboard placement, an integrated mousing device (the trackball). Over the years PowerBooks introduced a number of other laptop firsts including built in ethernet, 16-bit sound recording, and the first 256 color display.
Over its 15 year history the PowerBook has had a number of highs (the TiBook and AlBooks, the Duo) and lows (who could forget the PowerBook 5300 which actually had batteries the burst into flames?). And it recieved its share of awards as well, including a 2005 honor from Mobile PC magazine declaring the original PowerBook 100 as the #1 Gadget of All Time.
Much of what made the PowerBook great lives on in both the MacBook and MacBook Pro to be certain, but there will always be a special place in computer history for the PowerBook.
Emotional support pets in restaurants, aircraft, and hotels today, in The New York Times.
I’m done with the exam! Will be heading over to the Law School shortly to drop it off.
P.S. As if in celebration of this glorious occasion — my becoming a 3L, that is — Apple has unveiled the MacBook, the Intel-based successor to the iBook. (Hat tip: A Nun Mouse.)
P.P.S. “And for the first time ever, choose bright white or sleek black.”
I’ve officially got two hours left as a 2L. I’m going down to the wire, predictably, racing to finish my Jurisprudence exam. It’s due at 4:30 PM, at which point all the stress and strain of the last month will finally, gloriously be over… and I’ll have exactly 136 1/2 hours of freedom before starting my summer associateship. Heh.
Now that the Zacarias Moussaoui trial is over, the Justice Department has agreed to release never-before-seen footage of the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon.
The video will supposedly be available at JudicialWatch.org, but it appears their servers are down at the moment.
UPDATE: The video was to be released at 1:00 PM.
Will it silence the conspiracy nuts? Of course not: “Clearly, the only reason that itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s taken so long for the video to be released is that the Evil BushHitlerburtonIlluminatiNeoCons needed time to create it in co-operation with Hollywood. After all, we all know how Hollywood is in cahoots with the NeoCons, right?” Heh.
Glenn Reynolds: “If you find yourself sounding like a Kos diarist, step away from the blog and take a break, lest you do for your cause what the Kossacks have done for theirs.”
The advice is directed at conservatives who feel so passionately about the need for tighter immigration restrictions that they are beginning to demonstrate an “inability to stomach disagreement.” But it could just as easily apply to any constituency, on any topic. It probably even applies to me, every now and then (though not too often, I hope). For instance, my ability to stomach disagreement on the issue of Ray Nagin’s overwhelming incompetence is somewhat limited. :)
I think I’ve discovered the underlying root cause of our cats’ recent bout of insanity! This morning, they were all standing around the window making a bunch of weird noises. I looked, and immediately saw what had them all in a tizzy: the local stray cat was immediately outside our apartment, on the other side of the window! Sasha actually physically attacked the window at one point. I only managed to videotape the tail end of their crazy chorus of growling, meowing and hissing at the stray, but wow, listen to these noises:
Some would say their reaction to the outsider’s presence in their midst is approximately equivalent to Lou Dobbs’s attitude toward illegal immigrants. :) Seriously, can’t you just picture Dobbs making those same kind of growling noises at a group of Mexicans? Hehe.
Anyway, as you can see, our cats remained rather cranky even after the stray cat left, and simply turned their aggressions on one another, growling and hissing and such. This went on for several minutes. They’ve seemingly calmed down now, but I suspect that a more prolonged encounter with the stray might have been what precipitated their extremely odd behavior last week. For whatever reason, they are clearly very hostile to that cat (can pheromones penetrate glass?), and the hostility seems to carry over to each other after the cat leaves. (This would also explain why they’ve been most hostile to one another when jockeying for position near that window. Brings back bad memories of the stray cat, or something.) Anyway, very interesting. And it means that Alasdair was sorta kinda right: there isn’t another cat in the house, but there is definitely another cat influencing our cats’ behavior.
If you were wondering what I was doing all day yesterday that caused me to take a 26-hour blog hiatus — and you know me too well to believe that the answer is simply “exams” — well, wonder no more: instead of blogging, my procrastination time has been well-spent setting up the technological infrastructure for CamryCast 2006, the live webcam-and-GPS webcast of Becky’s and my drive from Indiana to Arizona that will officially get underway tomorrow.
This is the point where I would normally say, “yes, yes I am a giant dork” — but really, that’s repetitive, unnecessary and superfluous, don’t you think? :)
You may recall that I’ve done something like this before, but “CamryCast” is easily my most elaborate attempt at mobile webcasting to date. It involves two webcams, a GPS receiver, two laptops, three operating systems, an intra-car wireless network, and at least seven wires, cords or cables. If you scroll down to the bottom of the CamryCast page, there’s an explanation of how it all will (hopefully) work. It’s rather involved, to put it mildly. :)
I’ve wanted to do something like this for a long time, and I’m excited that it looks like I’ll finally be able to. (Knock on wood; although I’ve already overcome quite a few technological hurdles, one never knows what others might yet arise.) Why do I want to webcast myself travelling across the country, you ask? I dunno… why not? I love doing random stuff like this! Hehe.
The cams are not broadcasting now, of course, as we’re not in the car at the moment. But check back tomorrow, and for the rest of the week! We’re hoping to make it to Phoenix in three days, so Wednesday, Thursday and Friday will be “prime time” for CamryCast ‘06.
Anyway, I should really stop procrastinating now and finish up my Jurisprudence exam. Not like it’s due in seven hours or anything…
At last, a story of college-athlete misbehavior that we can all feel good about:
Northwestern University suspended its women’s soccer team Monday while the school investigates alleged hazing involving players last year. …
A Web site on Monday displayed pictures allegedly of Northwestern soccer players in T-shirts and underwear, some wearing blindfolds and others with their hands tied behind their backs. Other women had words or pictures scrawled on their bodies and clothes, and it appeared some were drinking alcohol.
The Web site in question is BadJocks.com, and when they say that college hazing rituals are seemingly becoming “more intense, more violent and more sexual in nature,” they have the photos to prove it… kinda.
(Possibly SFW — no nudity, just college girls in their underwear — but I’m putting it “after the jump,” so you can decide for yourself. Parental discretion advised, I suppose.)
I mentioned back in March that the private meteorologists at AccuWeather are claiming they have pioneered a technique for doing something that neither the National Hurricane Center nor the esteemed Dr. William Gray at Colorado State have ever seriously attempted: predicting in advance the specific regions that are most likely to be hit by landfalling hurricanes in a given year. “AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center research meteorologists have identified weather cycles that indicate which U.S. coastal areas are most susceptible to landfalls,” according to a press release quoted in that post. “Determination of where we are in the cycle has enabled AccuWeather.com meteorologists to accurately predict hurricane activity in Florida in 2004 and along the Gulf Coast last year.” [UPDATE: In comments, Charles Fenwick links to AccuWeather’s actual pre-2005 prediction, in which they highlighted the risk to Florida, the Carolinas and New England — not the Gulf Coast. He also points out that Colorado State has had a “Landfalling Hurricane Probability Project” since 2004.]
So, what are they predicting for this year? Well, as noted in March, they are extremely concerned about the potential for a landfall in the Northeastern U.S., either the New York/New Jersey area or New England. This map shows the predicted probability of hurricane strikes, compared to the average annual risk, in the various coastal areas:
“The greatest overall threat of a landfall will be on the Carolina coastline, but the greatest elevated threat, in relationship to averages, will be in New England,” this article explains. It also goes into more detail about why the forecasters think the Northeast is at greater-than-usual risk, and concludes: “Where we are in the decadal cycle, the influence of the cycle we have identified within this decadal cycle, and significantly warmer-than-normal northwestern Atlantic waters, all contribute to the increasing threat of a hurricane of the magnitude of 1938, 1944, and 1954 — perhaps even stronger. This current cycle of above-normal Atlantic basin activity has so far spared the Northeast, especially New England. However, we are entering a stage where one or two major Northeast hurricanes are of great concern within the next 10 years and, this year, the ingredients look ominous.”
This press release even provides a timetable for what we might expect this season:
“The 2006 season will be a creeping threat,” said Bastardi. “Early in the season — June and July — the Texas Gulf Coast faces the highest likelihood of a hurricane strike, possibly putting Gulf energy production in the line of fire. As early as July, and through much of the rest of the season, the highest level of risk shifts to the Carolinas. From mid-August into early October, the window is open for hurricane strikes to spread northward to the more densely populated Northeast coast. At the very end of the season, southern Florida also faces significant hurricane risk.”
“There are few areas of the U.S. East Coast and Gulf of Mexico that will not be in the bull’s eye at some point this season,” said Ken Reeves, AccuWeather’s Director of Forecast Operations. Ironically, though, the region that was hammered the hardest last year — the central and eastern Gulf Coast — has one of the lower probabilities of receiving another major hurricane strike in 2006.”
Added Reeves, “This is not to say that hard-hit New Orleans has nothing to worry about. Because the city’s defenses have been so compromised by Hurricane Katrina, even a glancing blow from a hurricane elsewhere could spell trouble for the city.” …
Said AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center Meteorologist Bernie Rayno, “With the exception of the southern tip of the Florida peninsula, almost all the damage wrought by last year’s storms in the U.S. occurred along the Gulf Coast. In recent history, it is the Gulf coast and the East Coast from the Carolinas southward that have borne the brunt of U.S. hurricane strikes. Because of this, people may be unaware that portions of the Northeast coast have been severely damaged by major hurricanes in the past, and that there is a dramatically increased likelihood that over the next five years the Northeast could be hit by a major hurricane. This could be the year.”
Rayno also noted that in general, the fast-moving nature of tropical cyclones in the Northeast will leave little time to protect property and lives. “Preparation is the key, since time is a perishable commodity when a hurricane is approaching the coast.”
Added Bastardi, “Because it has been decades since the Northeast was hit by a major hurricane, some residents in the Northeast have become complacent regarding the threat of a hurricane. It is for this reason that we have been warning of elevated danger from hurricanes in the Northeast since March, when we first identified that patterns that could lead to such an occurrence this year or in the near future.”
A hurricane making landfall in, or just southwest of, New York City, would be very, very bad. Indeed, if you’d asked me a couple of years ago which three major cities were most at risk of a true hurricane catastrophe, I would have said New Orleans, Miami and New York. Previous posts about “the NYC nightmare” here and here.
Hurricane season starts in just over two weeks, on June 1.
P.S. What I wrote in the second above-linked “NYC nightmare” post bears repeating:
The fact that such a hurricane would likely be moving so much faster than, say, Katrina, thus decreasing the preparation time, only makes it worse. Even a competent evacuation effort (as opposed to a Nagin-esque effort) might be woefully inadequate! The evacuation orders would need to be issued while the hurricane is waaay down south, off the Carolinas or even Georgia or Florida. The forecast would be, by its nature, extremely uncertain. And would New Yorkers, unused to hurricanes, take such an evacuation order seriously? I’m not sure.
You may recall that I had concerns about Wilma in this regard. At the time, Bryan Woods from The Storm Track accused me of fear-mongering: “There is a tropical system south of Cuba and you are talking about a landfall in New England?” I responded, “I just think it’s worth noting that this is a possibility, especially because, as I said, if it does happen, it will happen very quickly, and New Englanders/New Yorkers will be caught off-guard if they aren’t thinking about it before landfall in Florida. But, as I said, it’s unlikely to happen.” And, of course, it didn’t happen. But someday it will, and I was right about the “very quickly” business. Striking the right balance and making the right decision in preparing for this particular Big One, whenever it happens, is going to be really, really hard.
P.P.S. Not like New England needs a hurricane to cause serious flooding. In the great state of New Hampshire — where a hurricane landfall is quite unlikely, barring an extremely odd track bringing a storm ashore in Portsmouth :) — as well as Massachusetts and Maine, they’re having the worst flooding in decades, and it promises to get worse before it gets better. Dr. Jeff Masters has a cumulative Doppler radar image:
Meanwhile, in other hurricane-related news, the Eastern Pacific tropical season got underway on Monday. And out in the Western Pacific, the season’s first typhoon, Chanchu, is threatening Hong Kong and environs in China. It’s a Category 4, according to Dr. Masters, and is the strongest storm ever to threaten the city in the month of May, according to the AP. But Masters points out that “it is not unusual to get a supertyphoon in May, and this last happened in 2004, when Supertyphoon Nida reached Category 5 status with sustained winds of 160 mph.”
P.P.P.S. If anyone was wondering — which I’m sure no one was — why a blogger who is best known for his hurricane coverage doesn’t have a hurricane-related blog category more specific than “Weather, Natural Disasters, Space & Astronomy,” it’s because I simply haven’t had time yet to organize my old posts into a more fitting category scheme. Eventually, “Weather & Natural Disasters” will be a separate category from “Space & Astronomy,” and the former will have a subcategory specifically for “Hurricanes,” which will in turn have sub-subcategories like “2005 Hurricane Season” and “2006 Hurricane Season,” and sub-sub-subcategories like “Hurricane Katrina,” “Hurricane Rita,” etc. But, as you can imagine, it’s going to take a ton of legwork to get all that organized, precisely because of how many posts I have on the relevant topics. It was pretty easy to create a “Britney Spears” category out of whole cloth, because I only had 31 posts to re-categorize, and I could easily find them all by searching for the word “Britney.” Similarly, creating subcategories for “Harry Potter” and “Lord of the Rings” within “Sci-Fi & Fantasy” wasn’t all that difficult, and made for a nice study break a few days ago when I did it. :) But breaking up my weather posts into a more coherent organization will be significantly more difficult, especially because it involves categorizing, for the first time ever, my hundreds of hurricane-related posts from 2005, which were created during the interim period when I was on Blogger and thus didn’t have categories at all. However, it is something I intend to do in the next few weeks, once I get settled out in Phoenix. So, stay tuned.