American Elephants


We’re havin a heatwave! by American Elephant
July 30, 2009, 2:23 am
Filed under: YouTube | Tags: ,

…a tropical heatwave. Temperature’s rising, it isn’t surprising, I certainly ….CAN’T!

Ugh! While most of the country is enjoying record cool temperatures, we have been suffering the past few days with record highs. Today, in the Seattle area, it got up to 106° — 106 freakin degrees!!! (Our previous record was 103 in 1941). As I write this, in the middle of the night, my little desktop weather widget says it’s still 79 degrees outside. Blech.

I’m a weenie. I don’t like it this hot unless there is sand underfoot and a large body of water for me to plunge into. May have to go to Lake Washington tomorrow. I escaped the heat this evening by hitting the movie theater. Otherwise, I have all my fans turned on, and I’m spending a lot of time in the basement drinking huckleberry Italian soda’s and virgin mojito’s. Mmmm mmmm mmmmm.

I just read that the temperature in Hell, Michigan was a lovely 76° today, so Seattle is exactly 30 degrees hotter than Hell.



Nelson, Cochrane, Seymour and other Royal Navy Captains have left an amazing inheritance for today’s scientists by The Elephant's Child

Have you read the marvelous seafaring novels of Patrick O’Brien? There are twenty in the series featuring the sea captain Jack Aubrey and his friend, the surgeon and scientist Steven Maturin. I have read them all over and over, as have many others. The movie, based on the series was “Master and Commander”, and a wonderful entertainment.

Now the logbooks, kept by every Royal Navy captain from the seventeenth century onwards, which were Patrick O’Brien’s inspiration, are becoming one of the world’s best sources for long-term weather data. Ship’s officers recorded details of air pressure, wind strength, air and sea temperature, as well as extreme weather conditions such as storms and hurricanes.

An early study of 6,000 logbooks has produced results that raise important questions about many climate change theories. A paper by Dr. Dennis Wheeler, a Sunderland University geographer, in the journal The Holocene, details an increase in the frequency of summer storms over Britain in the 1680s and 1690s.

Some scientists believe that storms are a consequence of global warming, but these were the coldest decades of the so-called Little Ice Age of the years from 1600 to 1850. The article is fascinating, and you can read it all here. Many of the logbooks contain verbal descriptions of weather rather than numerical data, but ship’s captains recorded weather in consistent language. There were forms to be observed in logbooks, and seafarers stuck to them.

British archives contain more than 100,000 Royal Navy logbooks from around 1670 to 1850 alone. They are an incredible resource.



You Think Your Weather is Bad! by American Elephant

Tornado season is on its way

Sioux City, Iowa

Grand Island, Nebraska

Alvo, Nebraska

Storm-chasers are nuts. But they make good fodder for action/adventure movies. If you’ve never seen Twister with Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton, give it a rent. It’s not high cinema, it’s just good, solid, storm-chasing fun!

A great example of how computer graphics can be used to make the action more believable, instead of over-the-top and unbelievable — Twister really sucks you into the action, and almost makes you feel as though you’re right there in the path of the tornado.

Naturally, to get the best effect, I recommend watching it on the biggest screen you can. The truly daring may want to try finding it at a drive-in. But any way you watch it, Twister is a classic, popcorn-crunching, edge-of-your-seat thriller.

And if you’re reading us from Tornado Alley, keep your heads down and stay safe this season.




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