I don't know whenever I have observed such large clumps of snowflakes falling from the sky. Impressive!
Things have been pretty hectic for me during the past couple of weeks, and will continue in that vein for at least another three weeks; but, that isn't the reason I've fallen behind in visiting Slashdot.org. They are Beta testing a new display that I despise! It is all cutesy-wootsy, but few postings are entirely displayed. One must hit a "more" button to see the whole thing. This is a waste of my time and interest. Fortunately, just now the display that I pulled up was the older version - compact and easily read without hassle. So...I'll catch you up on a few items that they've posted within the past week or two.
While on the subject of fracking, below is another posting on the subject - from the same source. (Full disclosure: I have a few shares of Chevron that comprise less than 1% of my holdings. It allows me to get the company reports and, for all the good it does, vote against some of the board members.)
(I was interested to read about Dunkard Township because some of my father's ancesters were born and died there.)
Although the USA is not alone in suffering drought these days, I tend to follow the conditions in the USA more than those for the world. Below is the latest USA drought map.
The data cutoff for Drought Monitor maps is Tuesday at 7 a.m. Eastern Time. The maps, which are based on analysis of the data, are released each Thursday at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time.
The U.S. Drought Monitor is produced in partnership between the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Thanks to Hunky Husband for sending me the NASA report that featured the above map and a video about California's drought, embedded below.
Starting in the wee hours of yesterday morning, light snow began to fall in our area. Off and on, all day, it fell. At dinner time (6:00pm), Hunky Husband went out to measure the amount of snow on the ground - 7". The official snowfall in Wichita, at Midcontinent Airport (about 10 miles NW of us), was 8.7". It continued to snow, fitfully, until about 10:00pm. With all of the snowfall, it stayed warm; but, then the cold air moved in. Today, our high temperature is supposed to be 8 or 9 degrees above zero, Fahrenheit - well above the below-zero temperatures seen elsewhere - with winds of 16G34. I've always said that, I don't mind the cold as long as I get some snow to go with it - snow for ice cream!
And, ice cream I've been having. Interestingly, each time I made a bowl of ice cream, yesterday, the top layer of snow was a different type. For breakfast: powder. For lunch: corn. For dinner: flat, sparkly. Before much snow had accumulated, I snapped some photos, a few of which are posted below.
How things sparkled at our house this morning! Yes, that is a sugar maple in our front yard - backed up by a ginko. They were planted in the fall of 2000. The maple lost its leader to an ice storm in about 2004 (see Fall Colors at Cop Car's for a look at the maple during "recovery"); but, look how beautifully the tree has regained its shape - without our help!
Below is shown a small section of the creeping (Blue Chip) junipers, next to the curbing.
There are a few clumps of (Cooper's and Jewel of the Desert Rosequartz) iceplant that I interspersed among the Blue Chip junipers - planted in 2011 and 2012.
I've split the posting only to decrease initial downloading times.
A few minutes ago I called Hunky Husband to tell him, "Pada snijeg." Replied he, "I know. I'm at the junior high school." It turns out that he had encountered the snow on his way to Wichita about 3.5 hours ago. Being on the computer, I had been unconscious to the real world from the time that he had left and had no clue that so much time had elapsed. Here are the photos to prove that we are getting snow (the white streaks) this early in the season. We, in flatland, are unused to having snow before Halloween!
As the anniversary date of the Loma Prieta earthquake in California, it is only fitting that today be the date on which the Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills be held. From the ShakeOut website, "Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills are an annual opportunity for people in homes, schools, and organizations to practice what to do during earthquakes, and to improve preparedness."
Not only was I one of the millions who survived the Loma Prieta earthquake*; but, I've since participated in at least one of the Great ShakeOut exercises - at the FEMA Region VII Regional Coordination Center. No, I did not make a special trip to Kansas City MO for the exercise. I was there working the response to a tornado in St Louis MO in 2011.
* In 1989, although domiciled in Albuquerque NM, I had an apartment in Sunnyvale CA, in which I was working on the Rail Garrison program, one of the few classified programs on which I can tell you I worked. The apartment was only a few-minutes' drive from my work site. It was on October 17, 1989, at the end of my work day, when I was stopped at a stoplight (on N Mary at the intersection with the Central Expressway entrance, just short of the apartment complex. My car started rocking. Mistaking the motion for a bad case of engine miss-firing in my 1982 Mazda 626, I immediately cut off the ignition. I then observed that other people, across the intersection from me, were stopping and getting out to look at their tires. Oh, yes. We were having an earthquake - a major one! Upon that realization, I took stock of my situation: there were no major structures to fall on me; but, I thought that I might be above the BART tunnel, which didn't make me comfortable.
Eventually, the rocking and rolling stopped, and I drove the short distance to the apartment complex. As I drove through the main gate, the young women who worked in the office met me, afoot, to ask, "Was that a big one?" Yes, I assured them, it was big. They then told me how the water had slopped out of the swimming pool and toppled the palm trees around it. Going to my apartment, I feared the worst - that my recently acquired computer may have topped off the folding table (an oaken TV tray - I had no TV so wasn't apt to take meals from the tray - lol.) Inside the apartment, I was relieved to find that the only thing misplaced was the roll of paper towels that had toppled from the top of the refrigerator. The computer was just as I had left it - placed catawampus on the folding table to provide greater stability.
Having heard on the radio that there were fatalities on a collapsed bridge across Oakland Bay, I called Hunky Husband to assure him that I was OK (he had flown back home to Kansas, just that morning, from spending the weekend with me; so he escaped having the first-hand experience.) He had gone to bed, early, feeling ill; so, he was in no mood to speak with me. I called our daughters who informed me that there was huge TV coverage on the event.
The next morning, I drove to work, only to find that a street on which I normally approached the facility was blocked off. The bolts (3" diameter, as I recall) that had secured the supports to the facility's water tower had sheared, and the tower was being removed to assure that it did not fall, with attendant possible injuries and at the least blocking the street. Only managers were being allowed into the campus of buildings where I worked. As an employee of a contractor, my management status was not recognized by the security guards. Strangely, the men who reported to me were allowed in. (Can you spell "sexist"?) I returned in a few hours to resume work.
Other than the hundreds of aftershocks (thousands, if counting those sensed only by instrumentation), the affect to my life was over; but, the San Francisco Bay area spent years replacing the collapsed bridge and, of course, life was never the same for the families and friends of those who died. As it turned out, I had been about 1/2-way between the epicenter of the quake and the bridge. There were some 50-65 fatalities and the quake was determined to have been 6.9 on the open-ended Richter Scale (surface-wave magnitude 7.1).
We use the most up to date Milky Way model and solar orbit data in order to test the hypothesis that the Sun's galactic spiral arm crossings cause mass extinction events on Earth. To do this, we created a new model of the Milky Way's spiral arms by combining a large quantity of data from several surveys. We then combined this model with a recently derived solution for the solar orbit to determine the timing of the Sun's historical passages through the Galaxy's spiral arms. Our new model was designed with a symmetrical appearance, with the major alteration being the addition of a spur at the far side of the Galaxy. A correlation was found between the times at which the Sun crosses the spiral arms and six known mass extinction events. Furthermore, we identify five additional historical mass extinction events that might be explained by the motion of the Sun around our Galaxy. These five additional significant drops in marine genera that we find include significant reductions in diversity at 415, 322, 300, 145 and 33 Myr ago. Our simulations indicate that the Sun has spent ~60% of its time passing through our Galaxy's various spiral arms. Also, we briefly discuss and combine previous work on the Galactic Habitable Zone with the new Milky Way model.
It's raining, it's pouring, the old man is snoring. Which means that the lawn care people won't be out to spray the young pyramidal juniper for bag worms, this morning. I had asked, a few weeks ago, that it be sprayed because it had tiny little bags all over it and I thought it had been missed in our normally-scheduled spraying. As it turned out, they had not yet sprayed any of our junipers and choke cherry tree; so, I asked that they go ahead and spray them all - with particular attention to the one young tree that they had planted for us about three years ago when they re-did some of our landscaping.
Yesterday, while pulling weeds and trimming the spent blooms from the daisies, I noted that there were big, fat, wriggly bags on the young tree; so, I called about it, again. I am sure that, its being away from other trees, it had been missed in the spraying. Those fat suckers may hatch before we can get them sprayed. *Boom!* (just went the thunder.)
Here are a couple of photos of a quarter. The first photo shows the quarter on a toadstool - which toadstool makes the quarter look tiny. The second photo shows the quarter with 3/4 of my crop of Japanese eggplant that was picked, yesterday. The eggplant fruits make the quarter look huge. It's all relative.
P.S. I note that the date on the photos is wrong. I had to charge the camera's battery before the camera would take photos. Obviously, I failed to re-set the calendar on the camera - my older camera which has a closer focal capability.
P.P.S. Somewhere, on this blog or in a comment on someone else's blog, I believe that I commented about our having received 12" precipitation in July. If I did, that was wrong. It applied to somewhere else. We had about 8" - nearly all of which fell in the last two weeks of the month.