Hot Today!

As I type this, it is 101.8° with 10% humidity on our porch. The pool is currently 78°. My daughter is having a bunch of friends over tomorrow for a pool party. Good day for it.

So, in that spirit, courtesy of the mayor_of_tv, the five steps of coping with heat, as set forth in Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’ book, “On Heat and Melting”:

  1. Denial: It can’t be this hot – Republicans say that global warming is a myth!
  2. Anger: G@ddammit, it’s blistering! I can’t work in a f@%&ing sauna! Who can live like this? (Add your own Al Swearengen riff here.)
  3. Bargaining: Please, God, just knock off five degrees. Five degrees, and at least I won’t be sitting in such a big puddle of my own sweat.
  4. Depression: I’m never going to accomplish anything today and then I’m going to lose my job and then I won’t even have the shade provided by the roof over my head. I’m panting more than my dog – what’s the point of going on?
  5. Acceptance: Ah, well, at least I’m losing some weight, so at least I’ll leave a slender dehydrated corpse.

And They Call The Wind Mariah

I’m beginning to see lots of folks posting about the storm in Northern California. I haven’t seen it start raining down in Southern California yet, but they predict later this evening it will start.

Am I worried?

As I wrote in response to someone else’s post, I don’t expect the wind will bother me, but then again, I live in Northridge, and we get really bad Santa Ana winds. I don’t think folks in Northern California get Santa Ana conditions up there (or at least they don’t call them that).

We’ll probably get our usual flooding down here: the Sepulveda Dam basin will be closed, folks will play slip-n-slide on the freeway, fear and panic will ensue, the canyon roads will be closed by mudslides, and at least one trailer park will either slide down a hill or be washed away near a creek.

In other words, just a typical stormy day in Southern California.


How To Save The World

No, I’m not going to suggest saving a cheerleader. You can do that, and collect valuable prizes, but that’s not the point of this entry.

According to the Los Angeles Times, scientists are saying that even with the best efforts, we can’t reverse global warming. Even if we all go back to the dark ages, abandon cars, give up electrical devices… all it will do is slow things down, not reverse it.

The report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that there is so much carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that even if concentrations held at current levels, the effects of global warming would continue for centuries. Experts believe that to stabilize atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide — the primary contributor to global warming — CO2 emissions would have to drop 70% to 80%. That can’t be done. All truck, all trains, all airplanes, cars, motorcycles and boats in the United States only account for 7.3% of global emissions. Closing all fossil-fuel-powered electricity plants worldwide and replacing them with windmills, solar panels and nuclear power plants only is a 39% reduction globally. We can’t plant enough trees to recover.

So what’s the solution. Environmental Protection Agency’s administrator, Stephen L. Johnson, urged people to use compact fluorescent light bulbs, which provide the same light as a standard bulb on two-thirds of the energy. Of course, every little bit helps. Moving to a clothsline (eliminating a family’s dryer) could save electricity equivalent to 1,016 pounds of carbon dioxide a year.

So what is the answer. I believe it is innovation. We need to invent a machine to suck up the carbon dioxide in the area and reverse the change: produce oxygen and coal in exchange. Get a bunch of these cleansers going, and we can reverse things. So who’s going to issue the challenge to do it?


A New Meaning Of “From the Snow to the Surf”

Heard on the traffic report (KFWB) coming home:

“Kanan-Dume Road is closed at the third tunnel (Mullholland) due to snow.”

That’s not something you hear everyday, especially here in (brrrrr) Southern California.

[For those not familiar with Los Angeles: Kanan-Dume Road (Los Angeles County Route N9) runs between Route 1 in Malibu to Route 101 in Agoura]


The Answer Is Not Blowin’ In The Wind

I’m tired of these winds.

As you are aware, this has been the winter for weird weather. It has been warm in the Northeast. It snowed in Seattle. It has been extra-blizzardy in Colorado. And, unlike typical El-Nino years in Los Angeles, it hasn’t been rainy (we’ve had perhaps 10 rainy days since November 1). What it has been is windy.

Now, I’m used to winds in the late fall. We normally get bad Santa Ana winds (i.e., very dry winds coming off the desert, called an “off-shore flow”) in September and October. This is when we have our bad fires. But we’ve been having them all winter. Right now, according to, it is 69°F here in Northridge, with 15% humidity, and winds from the NNW at 29 mph, gusting to 38 mph. It sounds like they are blowing even stronger here. The noise and the dryness woke me up at 4:30am, so this isn’t turning out to be a productive day.

I’ve never really liked the strong winds. When I lived in West Los Angeles, I had a tall thin tree just outside my window. It was teathered at the top, so when the wind got bad there was a constant thump-thump-thump. I had something similar in our townhouse in North Hills, and our last house had loads of wind noise from the various trees. There I was also worried about the trees knocking down the power. Here, in Northridge, the power is less of a concern (underground utilities), but we are surrounded by trees, so there is constant noise.

The winds and the constantly changing pressure does a number of my allergies, my sinus, and a result, my head. I become less focused, and have a lot less energy. It’s something I’m getting quite tired of. The forecast shows the wind going away Tuesday, when it will reach 79° (in the dead of winter, mind you), then we have two days of showers, and the winds return. I hope things settle down soon.


Perception vs. Reality

Today, you’re going to be seeing a lot of posts about how today is the Winter Solstice, the “start of winter”, the “shortest day of the year”. Both of the latter two statements are true in reality, but your perception will tell you otherwise.

Let’s start with the “shortest day of the year”. It is true that, on the solstice, there is the shortest amount of time between sunrise and sunset. But for most of us, the day doesn’t seem any shorter. Why is this? It is due to the tilt of the earth. There was a fascinating piece on the Miami PBS station related to this. During the year, due to the tilt of the earth, the sun moves from rising at true east and setting at true west. It is at its northernmost position on the winter solstice, and its summermost position on the summer solstice (I could have this backwards). This affects the length of the day. However, as we approach this position, the sunrise and sunset times don’t contract equally… and we perceive the length of the day by when it gets dark in the evening. Most of us get up after the sun has risen, so if the sunset time isn’t moving in, we don’t think the day is any shorter. The days with the earliest sunset are actually in early December. However, if you’re an early riser like me, you are affected more by the sunrise time, and that doesn’t reach its latest point until early January… when the days are actually getting longer. So our perception of the shortest and longest days is based on sunrise and sunset, not the actual length of the day.

Similarly, the “start of winter” is usually not the coldest day, just as the “start of summer” is not the hottest day. Usually those days appear to occur about half-way to two-thirds-of-the-way between the solstice and the equinox.

If you want some more details on the scientific basis behind this, see this article.

Yet another reminder that the perception of the situation is often more important than the reality of the situation.