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  • jimmy 6:28 am on August 27, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    5 years ago tonight, at 5am EDT August 27, 2005 hurricane Katrina’s winds increased to 115 mph, making the storm a “Major” category 3 hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico. This was less than 28 hours after emerging into the Gulf of Mexico as a tropical storm with 70mph winds and only 6 hours since causing annoyance to the meteorologists at the National Hurricane Center by not turning as predicted, prompting the forecasters to call the storm “stubborn”.

  • jimmy 10:02 pm on August 25, 2010 Permalink | Reply
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    5 years ago this afternoon, at 5pm EDT August 25th, 2005 a little storm called Katrina was upgraded by the National Hurricane Center from a Tropical Storm to a Category 1 Hurricane with winds of 75 MPH. At the time the eye was less than 15 miles off shore. Around 7pm local time, the storm made landfall near North Miami Beach, FL with winds of 80MPH.

    The storm uprooted many trees in Miami, dropped tornadoes, killed 6-9 people and caused an estimated $600 million in damages in South Florida on the 25th and early 26th.

    By 3am, the storm’s center had crossed Florida and was in the Gulf of Mexico pretty much intact. Winds had only fallen to 70mph (from 80mph at landfall) as the storm’s track over Florida had been mostly over the marshy Everglades. (Meaning not a lot of actual land stopped the flow of warm moist ocean air into the storm’s center.) At 5am the storm was again called a hurricane with 75mph winds.

  • jimmy 3:28 am on August 20, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: conservapedia, fcc, government, , , , tea party,   

    Over 11 pages of Tea Party activists/groups signed this letter and not one person caught the huge factual inaccuracy in the fourth paragraph? The one about 1994 being “before the Internet was ever conceived”? Even if whoever actually wrote this letter doesn’t know the difference between the Internet and the World Wide Web (I don’t personally think the average non-geek needs to know the difference, however when we’re talking about Internet policy you damn well should know the difference) and was sourcing the date that Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the WWW, the citation of 1994 is still not correct, as “before the [WWW] was ever conceived” would be 1988 at the latest. But assuming they DID know the difference between Internet and WWW, it seems they didn’t take the time to quickly use the Google to find out a quick history of the Internet. Or, if they prefer, they could look it up on Conservapedia, which tells us that TCP/IP (basically what makes the Internet run) was invented in the 1970s, about 2 decades before 1994.

    On a side note, Conservapedia’s article on the Internet mentions Al Gore’s famous slip-up and explains why he said what he said: in 1991 he sponsored a bill that helped fund many computer projects, including the Internet and the first graphical web browser. I mention this because the aforementioned letter starts out “Over the past 25 years, the Internet has flourished in large part due to the extremely limited role that government has played.”

    Now, interpretations of “extremely limited” will vary, but I’d say the Congressional Act that Wikipedia credits with “building the Information Superhighway”, was lauded by then-president Bush and caused Marc Andreessen (a co-creator of the aforementioned web browser and now a private venture capitalist involved with Digg, Twitter, Facebook and Skype) to comment “If it had been left to private industry, it wouldn’t have happened, at least, not until years later” doesn’t really count as “extremely limited” in any way, shape or form.

    That bill was in 1991. Last I checked, 1991 was 19 years ago, which is less than 25 years ago.

    Get your numbers right, Tea Party, and we might be able to talk about “so-called ‘Net Neutrality’ regulations,” but until then leave the Internet policy debates to people who actually understand it. Or know how to use Conservapedia.

    OK, one last thing: dig into the history of ICANN and you can see the hand of the government all through it. It’s pretty technical and it’s hard to follow some of the different trails, but it’s clear that the US government has had a hand in Internet policy ever since the beginning, and still does.

  • jimmy 8:57 pm on August 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    I’m very black-and-white when it comes to loyalty. I can tolerate a reasonable amount of shadiness (nobody’s perfect, right?) but when a certain line gets crossed, you’re out. I’m sad to report that Google has now crossed that line in my opinion. This makes me unimaginably angry, not only because I wrote an impassioned defense of them just a few days ago, but because Google was the very best ally the Net Neutrality movement had, just dropping out of the fight would be one thing but to switch sides while pretending not to is just the height of arrogance, stupidity, hypocrisy, and just plain rude to anyone with half a brain. Trusting Google to the point of calling out the NYT was probably a stupid thing to do, but on the other hand they’d never shown themselves to be suck dickfaces before now. Quite the opposite, in fact, as I pointed out in my defense of them.

    I’m also just kinda depressed because I’m one of those kooky people who believes the corporations are out to ruin the world and with Google being mostly not evil I had a tiny bit of hope. Now that’s gone.

    Screw it.

  • jimmy 9:38 am on August 11, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , wikipedia   

    Gizmodo recently ran a funny piece about some of the biggest Wikipedia “edit wars,” and it’s funny and I have opinions about half of them and everything, but the one that really got me was the one about if Tropical Storm Zeta (2005) should be included on the 2005 Hurricane Season page or the 2006 Hurricane Season page. Apparently 3254 messages back-and-forth were wasted when somebody could have just referred to the last National Hurricane Center advisory on the storm, and I quote (and I believe I thought this was so funny that I quoted it on my LiveJournal back at the time!) from 4pm January 6, 2006 Forecast Discussion (bold mine): “UNLESS ZETA SOMEHOW MAKES AN UNLIKELY MIRACLE COMEBACK…THIS IS THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER SIGNING OFF FOR 2005… FINALLY.”

    I don’t know if I’d be more concerned about those 3254 discussion posts knowing that somebody DID point this out or if somebody DIDN’T.

  • jimmy 7:45 am on August 4, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    I recently began using Google Reader (in case you had missed my multiple tweets about that!) to try to streamline my intake and processing of news and information. This move has had mixed results. I think it’s made my ability to process pieces of information more efficient, but that has lead me to believe that I’m invincible, so I promptly loaded Google Reader with over 2 dozen feeds, a quarter of which are extremely high volume (top 5 feeds produce 125 messages per day).

    In trying to overcome this sudden flood of messages, I’ve been doing more headline skimming and less full-story reading than I used to (it’s actually pretty amazing and amusing how deep a picture of the days news I can get just from the nuances between CNN, Al Jazeera and New York Times headlines), but this too has lead to a new problem: headline-writers interpreting the news in their own ways. I mentioned this just earlier this evening but I’ve discovered another instance of it: two news stories about the same survey recently commissioned in regards to citizens feelings towards the California High Speed Rail project. Both articles gave the same exact nu8mbers from the survey, but one story was titled “High-speed rail supported by three-quarters of survey respondents” and the other “Voters: Slow Down the California High Speed Rail Project“.

    Um, yeah, slow down the presses. How is it that the citizens of California overwhelming support the project, but want it to slow down? Well, it’s actually pretty straight forward, and I think both article writers were kooky and using the numbers to their advantage.
    Here’s the survey data:
    34% “said they would like to see the rail built as quickly as possible,”
    42% “would like to see the high-speed trains built despite some concerns over cost and timing” and
    13% “solidly oppose” the project.
    I assume the remaining 11% were undecided (I was gonna make a joke about those remaining opinion-less 11%, but it’s apparently too late at night for my brain to produce such a wittyness).

    The catch, as any sane person can plainly see, is that 42%. While I guess you can technically count them as supporters despite their concerns, I find it disingenuous to lump that group with the “support with no concerns” crowd in the headline of the story, especially when the resulting number is as large as 76%. On the other hand, show me in this survey where those 42% said they had all withdrawn their support, a logic leap that the other article seems to be making in order to make the claim that “a 19 percent drop from the percentage of voters that approved Proposition 1A” had occurred. Maybe in a perfect world nobody should vote for something they don’t 100% agree with, but this is not a perfect world, our government’s are all screwed up right now and their are bound to be issues with any huge government-run project. I find it really hard to believe that every single one of the 54% of voters in 2008 who voted for HSR had no reservations about it while still giving it the go-ahead. I would have, if I lived and voted in California.

    So. The moral of the story is: beware of headline writers and always apply critical thinking to the news you read. Although maybe apply slightly less than me. Because 4 paragraphs at 4am about one survey in a state I don’t live in might be kind of overkill.

    Oh well.

  • jimmy 1:56 am on August 4, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    And from the “I’m kinda famous” department, I just discovered that CNN Tech anonymously quoted me in an article about the new cheaper Amazon Kindle. That’s pretty cool.

  • jimmy 1:54 am on August 4, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 9/11, , freedom, , nyc, wtc   

    OK, random rant here: I wish media outlets would stop referring to the mosque being proposed inside a community center in Lower Manhattan as the “Ground Zero” mosque in headlines. For f*cks sake, you jackassed page-view whores, it’s not like they’re building it right on top of the WTC site. It, in fact, has pretty much nothing to do with the World Trade Center site except a geographical proximity.

    And while we’re on the topic, why did the builders scrape the name “Freedom Tower” for the new tallest building on the site? Too in-your-face to…the terrorists? The Chinese businesses we want to attract to the building as tenants? We’re building a memorial out in a field in Pennsylvania in remembrance of 9/11 but we can’t name the building replacing the Twin Towers “freedom”? Was “freedom” just an October 2001 (and March 2003) war-cry that we don’t really believe in anymore? Was it a passing two century-long fade that’s now suddenly passed? 9/11 incited terror in America, which is the exact opposite of freedom, what’s so wrong with remembering that in a very public way?

    I want answers.

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