InstaPundit’s tongue-in-cheek take: “Since it’s generally thought that men are disproportionate consumers of porn because of their gender, and because, hormonally, they’re driven to favor visual stimuli, then obviously punishing porn consumption constitutes sex discrimination, and is probably unconstitutional. Plus, research establishes that porn is good for America. You don’t hate America, do you?” Heh.
My preview of the hurricane season is up on Pajamas Media. Perhaps the most interesting point is this:
There…seems to be a new focus among the [seasonal] forecasters on explaining the uncertainties inherent in their task. NOAA, for instance, now includes percentage probabilities along with its predictions of storm activity, somewhat like the margin of error in a public opinion poll. And the margin is quite high: Ã¢â‚¬Å“an above-normal season is most likely (65% chance), [but] there is a significant 25% chance of a near-normal season and a 10% chance of a below-normal season.Ã¢â‚¬Â (Definitions here.) Ã¢â‚¬Å“This outlook is probabilistic, not deterministic,Ã¢â‚¬Â NOAAÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s introduction states. It is Ã¢â‚¬Å“based on predictions of large-scale climate factors known to be strong indicators of upcoming seasonal Atlantic hurricane activity,Ã¢â‚¬Â but there are Ã¢â‚¬Å“uncertainties inherent in such climate outlooks,Ã¢â‚¬Â which the percentage probabilities are designed to take into account. …
Still, despite these acknowledged uncertainties, and despite the recent failures, forecasters have soldiered on and tried their best to accurately predict the 2008 season. In fact, the Klotzbach/Gray team has based its forecast on a newly tweaked model, designed to correct some of the errors of previous years. Cynics might compare this to college footballÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s BCS, which has repeatedly changed its formula to compensate for previous yearsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ problems Ã¢â‚¬â€ the sports equivalent of Ã¢â‚¬Å“hindcastingÃ¢â‚¬Â Ã¢â‚¬â€ only to see brand new problems develop in subsequent seasons.
On the other hand, this is how the science evolves, and Klotzbach and Gray are forthright in admitting that it is a work in progress. In any event, Ã¢â‚¬Å“hindcastsÃ¢â‚¬Â based on the new model come much closer to the mark than the real-time forecasts did in all of the last four years, which is significant, since 2004 and 2005 were both well above average (and were under-forecasted), while 2006 and 2007 were below average (and were over-forecasted). Ã¢â‚¬Å“The new hindcast model improves upon our real-time forecasts by approximately 60%Ã¢â‚¬Â¦over the period from 2004-2007,Ã¢â‚¬Â Klotzbach and Gray write.
P.S. Naturally, the comments are all about… you guessed it… global warming. *sigh*
Google Street View has come to Knoxville.
For instance, here’s the place I just came back from — the Knoxville Visitor
Center on Gay Street, where the WDVX Blue Plate Special takes place
And here’s a look at the Gay Street Bridge, seen from across the river in South Knoxville, with several downtown buildings, the Sunsphere, and the Henley Street Bridge in the distance:
(Hat tip: Michael Silence.) More after the jump.
As I mentioned earlier, a severe thunderstorm pounded North Knoxville this afternoon. I had a bird’s eye view of the storm from the parking garage downtown where I park for work, and I was able to capture several still frames of cloud-to-ground lightning from the videos I took with my digital camera. Here’s the best one:
Here’s what the storm looked like on radar at that very moment:
UPDATE: One of my lightning videos is now on Flickr as well. You can see several lightning strikes, including the one pictured above.
P.S. The thunderstorm gave way to a beautiful sunset several hours later. Here are a couple photos of that:
In the tony Hartford outer suburb of Simsbury, law enforcement authorities (alerted by a vigilant citizen) recently thwarted a Terror plot whose perpetrator(s) had deployed a Chicken with an unusually sinister Stuffing:
…A motorist on Powder Forest Drive Friday morning noticed what looked like a whole chicken Ã¢â‚¬â€ the kind bought at grocery stores for roasting Ã¢â‚¬â€ with a pipe bomb stuffed inside, police said Monday.
When they arrived on the scene around 9 a.m. officers found the roaster had an improvised explosive device where the fowl’s innards should have been.
They closed the road for part of the morning as the Hartford Police Department’s bomb squad was called to detonate the device, police said.
In its recent history, Simsbury and local residents have had their problems with hungry black bears, roaming coyotes and escaped emus. Now town folks can add store-bought chicken, stuffed with a bomb, to the list of odd animal incidents.
With the chicken and bomb taken care of, police are left to investigate who’s responsible for the strange incident.
Police Capt. Matthew Catania would not describe the bomb Monday, but said it was “capable of causing harm to a person.”…
Which, thank God it didn’t occur, would definitionally have been Worse than the Irreparable harm already inflicted upon the Chicken :>.
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Now ~ not to abruptly Pivot to the Negative or anything like that ;> ~ of course the reason Connecticut in general, and our Capital region of Hartford in particular, may Welcome this (only-by-the-grace-of-God) bit of Comic relief ~ is, that over the past week or so we have been quite-understandably Pounded all to Pieces, on the Cablenewsies & the Internets, about the astonishingly-tepid Videotaped response of his Lower Park Street neighbors to the depravedly-indifferent hit-&-run Rundown of Angel Arce Torres, age 78, who (it now develops) will spend whatever remains of his life on a ventilator in the hospital.
Following closely on the heels of various other recent Hartford horrors, including the brutal mugging/beating of 71-year-old former Deputy Mayor Nick Carbone ~ who has probably done more to help All the people of Hartford than any other living person ~ all this has set off some considerable sociological soul-searching in &Ã‚Â around the city of my birth, and my son’s. / Also, on a purely Practical level, the Staties are coming in ~ Again ~ to give the Local constabulary a hand. Hey ~ it’s a Start.
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So. You can perhaps see why we kind of Like the Simsbury Chickenbomb story. At least it has a happy Ending. (Well. Apart from the Chicken. / Fire in the Hole, indeed. :)