April 28, 1966: A heavy snowstorm leaves 10 inches of snow on the ground across a wide chunk of northern Minnesota.
Forever Laughing in a Purple Rain
“I only wanted to see you laughing in the purple rain.” Prince Rogers Nelson was a Minnesota Original; self-made, possessing infinite range and supernatural style. He was a musical savant; a funked-up Jimi Hendrix with the poetic spark of Maya Angelou.
I admired his entrepreneurial genius. Prince went against the flow; he zigged when others zagged, reinventing his music, even his business model. He commandeered a color and changed his name to a symbol.
Who does that?
I’m ignoring the inevitable media-hype, rumors and gossip, focusing not on how he died – but how he lived. Purple on Doppler radar denotes something extreme. Off-the-scale. That seems about right.
Purple puddles shrink later today as rain tapers; sunny peeks Friday, before the next southern storm pushes a pinwheel of rain into southern Minnesota Saturday. Sunday looks better (drier and brighter) with a warming trend the latter half of next week. The first weekend of May could bring hazy sun and 80 degrees.
I may even feel a supernatural urge to purify myself in the cool waters of Lake Minnetonka.
Thank you Prince.
The Worst-Case Scenario: How To Ride Out a Tornado. Here's an excerpt of a good, timely post at al.com: "...The best place to ride out a tornado is in a storm shelter, or the smallest room in the center of the building you're in on the lowest floor, such as a closet or bathroom, interior hall or under a stairwell. Get away from windows. Get under something that can protect you from flying debris, which is the greatest danger in tornadoes, according to NOAA's Storm Prediction Center. Cover yourself with a mattress or sleeping bag. Know where the heavy things are on the floors above you and don't get under them. Get as low to the floor as you can and cover your head with your hands..."
Photo credit above: "One of the safest places to ride out a tornado in your home is under on the lowest floor, in an interior room, away from windows. This stairwell was just about the only thing left standing after a tornado." (NSSL photo).
• If you're near a well-built structure (no mobile homes or temporary buildings), check if it has a safe room and use that. If there's no safe room, go to the basement. If there's no basement, go to a room in the centermost part of the building on the ground floor. You're looking for something that puts as many walls in between you and the storm and has no windows. Try to hide under something sturdy (a hard desk) and protect your head and neck. Be aware of what's above you if you're in a multi-story building (like a refrigerator that could fall on you)..."
* Vilonia, Arkansas - hit by an EF-5 tornado in 2014, just installed one of these near their city hall, as reported by KATV.com.
* The raw tornado chaser video is here (rated PG for salty language). No wonder it has 3.5 million views on YouTube - it's amazing.
Photo credit above: "San Diego is among a large group of cities impatient with federal government bickering over climate change." Photograph: Gregory Bull/AP.
Image credit: Olivia Harris, Reuters.
Photo credit: "The Hennepin Energy Recovery Center near downtown Minneapolis."
Image credit above:
Photo credit above: "Susan Belzer, vice president of Diagnostics at MD Biosciences, held a vile containing a sample of the Zika virus like the one used by scientists at the firm to develop a test for the virus. The Zika virus samples are stored at -80 Centigrade." Jim Gehrz, Star Tribune.
FRIDAY: Glimmers of sun, almost pleasant. Winds: NE 7-12. High: 59
SATURDAY: Early sun, PM rain southern Minnesota. Winds: NE 10-20. Wake-up: 43. High: 58
SUNDAY: Damp start, then slow clearing. Winds: NE 10-15. Wake-up: 45. High: near 60
MONDAY: Partly sunny, feels like spring again. Winds: NW 7-12. Wake-up: 39. High: 65
TUESDAY: Unsettled and cooler. Few showers. Winds: N 10-15. Wake-up: 46. High: 57
WEDNESDAY: More clouds than sun, stray sprinkle. Winds: N 10-15. Wake-up: 41. High: 59
Image credit above: " Photo: iStock Photo.
The Political Hurdles Facing a Carbon Tax - And How To Overcome Them. How do you adequately factor (real) costs into the equation? Dave Roberts has an interesting post at Vox; here's a clip: "...The point is, carbon prices, where they exist, are too low. Why? The obvious answer is that carbon pricing faces various political constraints, which prevent the carbon price from rising to the proper (high) level. Unfortunately, these political constraints are not nearly as well-understood as the economic dynamics of carbon pricing. Among climate economists and wonks, the hunches, pet theories, and ritual invocations of "political will" too often are substitutes for deeper, systemic political analysis. The Jenkins-Karplus paper is an attempt to make some progress on that score. It sets out to model carbon pricing scenarios, seeking to determine which policy design leads to the greatest aggregate social welfare under various political constraints..." (Image credit: Star Tribune).
“It is assumed that the major contributors of CO2 are the burning of fossil fuels… There is no doubt that increases in fossil fuel usage and decreases of forest cover are aggravating the potential problem of increased CO2 in the atmosphere. Technology exists to remove CO2 from stack gases but removal of only 50% of the CO2 would double the cost of power generation.” [emphasis added]Those lines appeared in a 1980 report, “Review of Environmental Protection Activities for 1978-1979,” produced by Imperial Oil, Exxon’s Canadian subsidiary..."
A new Duke University study suggests it may be more complicated than that.
“Because climate change has become polarized along party lines, it’s no longer just an issue of finding ‘the right framing’ to convey relevant facts,” said study author Jack Zhou, who will graduate with a Ph.D. in environmental politics next month from Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment. “It has become a matter of political identity, particularly the political party we feel closest to.”
- See more at: https://nicholas.duke.edu/about/news/Polarization-Climate-Communication-Backfire#sthash.zISJNYwk.dpuf
Photo credit above: "Massive superstorms and dozens of feet of sea water by the end of this century are the doomsday predictions of a former NASA scientist." Photo by Carvalho via Flickr CC
The Global Warming "Tease". Still think it's all a hoax to "grow government" or "take away our personal liberties"? The evidence is there - and it's only going to become more obvious with time. It's good to be skeptical (about everything) but at some point you reach a critical mass of evidence. A friend of mine, Glenn Schwartz, is chief meteorologist at the NBC affiliate in Philadelphia. Here's an excerpt of a recent post: "...So, the obvious result is a contradiction between what many scientists and politicians have been saying. It’s hard to be concerned about something that is showing so few obvious signs of the serious problem that is likely ahead of us. We can raise our voices and point at charts of ice loss in the Arctic and all we get is yawns from too many people. And I’m afraid that there’s not much that can be done about this. It’s hard to tell folks to not believe what they’re seeing with their own eyes...."
The Math the Planet Relies on Isn't Adding Up Right Now. The warming is taking place faster than those "alarmist climate models" have been predicting. Chris Mooney reports at The Washington Post: "As over 150 nations assemble to sign the Paris climate agreement in New York on Friday, reams of new analysis are pouring out from the planet’s vital number-crunchers, who look at the fundamental relationship between how much carbon we put in the air and how much the planet’s temperature increases as a result. And it’s adding up to a somber verdict: We seem closer to must-avoid climate thresholds than we thought — and crossing them may have bigger consequences than we recognize..."
Image credit: Planetary Visions LTD.
Image credit above: "This image provided by NASA shows Arctic sea ice at it maximum, the lowest on record. The winter maximum level of Arctic sea ice shrank to the smallest on record, thanks to extraordinarily warm temperatures, federal scientists said." (AP)