Tracking The Cold. No, it's not 32. I took a snapshot of the current temperature map late last night. Click here to see the latest temperatures for the Upper Midwest (if you dare). Try to distract yourself with family, turkey (and napping), in that order - resist the urge to look at the back yard thermometer. Welcome to the coldest Thanksgiving Day since 1989, when the high was a whopping 18. Temperatures today should run 20 degrees below average, a subzero night shaping up tonight north/west of St. Cloud. Yep, looks like we got our winter mojo back.
Thankful My Furnace Works. Check out the predicted wind chill for 1 pm today. -5 in the Twin Cities, -7 at St. Cloud, 14 below at Alexandria. Good grief - these temperatures are more typical of late January than late November. Mercifully the pain will be brief - about 36 hours of bonechilling cold - temperatures recover above the freezing mark by Sunday. Woo hoo!
Thanksgiving Day Weather Overview. Yesterday's pint-size storm is now pushing east, leaving cold, swirling winds in its wake - but little or no additional accumulation is expected. A wintry mix will overspread the Great Lakes today, mostly rain from Indianapolis to New York and Boston with potentially severe thunderstorms rumbling across the Tennessee River Valley. Unseasonably cold weather is rushing southward in the wake of the storm, which is impacting weather conditions over the eastern 2/3rds of America.
Strange But True. Scientists at NASA built a gun specifically to launch standard 4 pound dead chickens at the windshields of airliners, military jets and the space shuttle, all traveling at maximum velocity. The idea is to simulate the frequent incidents of collisions with airborne fowl to test the strength of the windshields.
British engineers heard about the gun and were eager to test it on the windshields of their new high speed trains. Arrangements were made, and a gun was sent to the British engineers.
When the gun was fired, the engineers stood shocked as the chicken hurled out of the barrel, crashed into the shatterproof shield, smashed it to smithereens, blasted through the control console, snapped the engineer's back-rest in two, and embedded itself in the back wall of the cabin, like an arrow shot from a bow.
The horrified Brits sent NASA the disastrous results of the experiment, along with the designs of the windshield and begged the U.S. scientists for suggestions.
NASA responded with a one-line memo --
"Defrost the chicken." (this is a true story)
Paul's Conservation MN Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
THURSDAY NIGHT: Bitter cold, few flurries, wind chills dip to -15. Low: 5
The Warming Of Antarctica: A Citadel Of Ice Begins To Melt. From a recent Reuters article: "The fringes of the coldest continent are starting to feel the heat, with the northern Antarctic Peninsula warming faster than virtually any place on Earth. These rapidly rising temperatures represent the first breach in the enormous frozen dome that holds 90 percent of the world's ice."
World's Largest Solar-Powered Boat in World Record Circumnavigation Attempt. Gizmag.com has a story about no ordinary boat, one that's trying to set a new record for navigating around the planet. From the article: "The world’s largest solar-powered boat – TÛRANOR PlanetSolar – departed from Monaco on September 27 in an attempt to become the first boat to circumnavigate the globe using only solar energy. Aside from getting another world record under the boat’s belt, the aim of the expedition is to demonstrate that, through the use of existing materials and technology, high-performance solar mobility can be realized today. The multihull vessel is covered in 537 square meters (5,780 sq ft) of solar panels, which power the four electric motors (two in each hull) that have a maximum output of 120 kW and can propel the boat to a speed of 14 knots. Although the vessel is capable of hosting 40 passengers and is destined to be used as a luxury yacht after the circumnavigation attempt, the vessel is crewed by just six people and that is the number that will be making the round the world journey." Pretty cool.
Proclamation Of Thanksgiving. We have Abraham Lincoln - and a little known woman, Sara Hale - to thank for the official national holiday of Thanksgiving. Thanks to the power of Google and this link, I thought it appropriate to share this on a day we gather to give thanks for family, friends, and all that we have.
October 3, 1863
This is the proclamation which set the precedent for America's national day of Thanksgiving. During his administration, President Lincoln issued many orders similar to this. For example, on November 28, 1861, he ordered government departments closed for a local day of thanksgiving.
Sarah Josepha Hale, a 74-year-old magazine editor, wrote a letter to Lincoln on September 28, 1863, urging him to have the "day of our annual Thanksgiving made a National and fixed Union Festival." She explained, "You may have observed that, for some years past, there has been an increasing interest felt in our land to have the Thanksgiving held on the same day, in all the States; it now needs National recognition and authoritive fixation, only, to become permanently, an American custom and institution."
Prior to this, each state scheduled its own Thanksgiving holiday at different times, mainly in New England and other Northern states. President Lincoln responded to Mrs. Hale's request immediately, unlike several of his predecessors, who ignored her petitions altogether. In her letter to Lincoln she mentioned that she had been advocating a national thanksgiving date for 15 years as the editor of Godey's Lady's Book.
The document below sets apart the last Thursday of November "as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise." According to an April 1, 1864, letter from John Nicolay, one of President Lincoln's secretaries, this document was written by Secretary of State William Seward, and the original was in his handwriting. On October 3, 1863, fellow Cabinet member Gideon Welles recorded in his diary how he complimented Seward on his work. A year later the manuscript was sold to benefit Union troops.
By the President of the United States of America.
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.
By the President: Abraham Lincoln
William H. Seward,
Secretary of State