If We Could Only Fast-Forward Through The Bad Stuff…

I have a new vice to add to my 100 Worst Habits list. My wife and I have started taping our favorite college football team. Only if they win do we agree to watch the game, fast-forwarding through the commercials. Not very sporting. Because otherwise my wife screams at the TV and the neighbors call 911.

Just think, if we could fast-forward through the storms and cold fronts of life. Then again, if it wasn’t for the sting of wind chill those summer warm fronts wouldn’t taste nearly as sweet. Only in the bad times (and wretched weather patterns) do we grow and evolve.

If that’s really true odds are we’ll savor late-week weather, when daytime highs top 60 degrees. Which, after the windblown pain of this past weekend, should feel like an epiphany.

A rare sunshine sighting is possible today, but spotty showers freckle Doppler radar tomorrow as a reinforcing cool front arrives. The airmass overhead mellows later this week, with 60s on Friday. Saturday looks AOK, but heavy rain arrives Sunday. Naturally.

Late October: Close to Average Temperatures? Confidence levels are low (they always are 2 weeks out) but NOAA’s GFS model keeps steering winds predominately west to east, with the coldest air bottled up to our north. We’ll see more 60s, maybe even a few more 70s the latter half of October.

Typhoon Hagibis: Biggest Storm to Hit Japan in Decades. BBC News has details: “At least 23 people have been killed in Japan as torrential rain and tornado-like winds lash large parts of Japan. The eye of Typhoon Hagibis – the worst storm to hit the country for 60 years – made landfall shortly before 19:00 local time on Saturday (10:00 GMT), in Izu Peninsula, south-west of Tokyo. It is now moving out to sea after moving up the eastern coast of Japan’s main island, with wind speeds of 225km/h (140mph).”

“Climate Normals” Are Shifting With Time. Here’s an excerpt of an eye-opening post from Dr. Mark Seeley at Minnesota WeatherTalk: “…We have some evidence from preliminary data for selected cities in Minnesota. For MSP the annual average precipitation will go up again by about 2 percent over the previous period (1981-2010), which will continue the upward trend seen since 1941. Likewise for Duluth the annual average precipitation will go up by about 2 percent over the previous period. The largest single month increase at MSP has occurred in May with about 15 percent more rainfall, while the largest single month increase at Duluth has been 9 percent more rainfall in June. For changes in temperature “normals” we find that MSP will see about a 0.7°F increase in the annual mean temperature, while Duluth will see a change in the annual mean value of temperature that is about 0.4°F. Again, these are positive trends that started nearly a century ago…”

FEMA May Need to Buy Millions of Flood-Prone Homes. And where, exactly, will that money come from? Here’s the intro to a post at Finance & Commerce: “…Americans have voluntarily sold more than 43,000 properties in high-risk areas to the government since 1989, according to a new analysis published Wednesday in Science Advances. FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program has bought properties sprinkled among one-third of all U.S. counties, spread over 49 states, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. After the properties are bought, the structures are demolished and the land remains open, ready to absorb future flood waters. This 30 year-trickle is nothing compared with the great climate exodus to come. The potential number of homes that may be abandoned is staggering, said A.R. Siders, a co-author and assistant professor at University of Delaware’s Disaster Research Center. “There are 49 million housing units in at-risk areas on the U.S. coast, and over $1 trillion worth of infrastructure within 700 feet of the coast,” she said. The government isn’t prepared to relocate even one-tenth of that, if it needed to, Siders said. FEMA did not immediately respond to a request for comment...”

File photo: Walt Jennings, FEMA.

NASA Testing First All-Electric Plane. A story at Big Think made me…think. It hurt my head. Here’s a clip: “NASA recently received the X-57 Maxwell, an all-electric X-plane that’s set to undergo manned tests in the coming months. The X-57 Maxwell is modeled after a popular Italian twin-engine plane called the Tecnam P2006T, but the new X-plane has electric cruise motors instead of traditional combustion engines. The X-57 that was recently delivered to NASA is the second of four scheduled iterations of the electric plane, with the third and fourth versions including additional improvements to the wings and other hardware. NASA’s design goals are to develop an electric plane with “500% increase in high-speed cruise efficiency, zero in-flight carbon emissions, and flight that is much quieter for communities on the ground,” the agency wrote…”

Image credit: NASA.

Tesla’s Autopilot Could Save the Lives of Millions, But It Will Kill Some People First. Lovely. Bloomberg explains: “…But Autopilot is unlike almost any other consumer product in history, in ways that offer a preview of the uncomfortable questions we’ll confront in the dawning robot age. Tesla’s flamboyant chief executive officer, Elon Musk, says the technology saves lives, and legions of Tesla owners offer their own testimonies of hazards spotted and collisions avoided. (And they have YouTube videos to prove it.) It’s possible that both sides are right, that the computers are killing a few drivers who otherwise would have lived, but that they’re also saving the lives of many more. In the coming years, society—in particular, regulators and the courts—will have to decide whether that’s an acceptable trade-off. The question is no longer academic. Musk’s decision to put Autopilot in the hands of as many people as possible amounts to an enormous experiment, playing out on freeways all over the world…”

Photo credit: “A nonfatal crash in Laguna Beach, Calif., in May 2018, involving a Tesla in Autopilot mode and an unoccupied police cruiser.” Source: Laguna Beach Police Department/AP.

Video: What If Aging Wasn’t Inevitable? The Quest to Slow and Even Reverse Aging. Check out the interview at NPR: “Scientists are better understanding why we age — and they’re also better explaining the cellular changes that lead our bodies and brains to decline. This research has led people like David Sinclair, a geneticist at Harvard Medical School, and Peter Attia, a longevity doctor and oncologist, to challenge the conventional wisdom that aging is inevitable. Sinclair believes the humans of the future will live decades longer than we do now, thanks to biological and technological interventions that are already being discovered. In short: Better understanding the mechanisms of aging has led to promising treatments to slow, stop and even reverse the symptoms of growing old…”

Image credit: NPR.

Carlsberg is Working on Beer Bottles Made of Paper. CNN has the details: “Carlsberg is getting closer to its goal of selling beer in paper bottles. On Thursday, the Danish beer company revealed two new recyclable prototypes of the sustainably-sourced wood fiber bottle it hopes to eventually bring to market. One version is lined with a thin film of recycled PET plastic to keep beer from seeping out. The other uses a bio-based lining. The prototypes will be used to test the linings. For Carlsberg, the innovation is a way to lower its impact on the environment and present consumers with an interesting new option. Fiber bottles are better for the environment than aluminum or glass because they are sourced in a sustainable way, and because the material has a “very low impact on production process,” explained Myriam Shingleton, vice president of group development for Carlsberg…”

Image credit: envirotecmagazine.com.

Horny Tarantulas Are Taking Over San Francisco. Don’t sweat the flurries. CNET.com has the details: “October is turning out to be a bad month to live in San Francisco. First, utilities company PG&E initiated wide-ranging Bay Area blackouts to protect against the possibility of wildfires. Now it seems the warmer weather is attracting thousands of tarantulas looking for mates, so residents will have to fight off horny spiders in the dark.  To be fair, while tarantulas mostly come out at night during mating season, males can also be seen roaming around all hours to find a female for some lovin’. “San Francisco officials are warning residents to be on the lookout for thousands of giant male spiders,” according to The Wall Street Journal…”

Photo credit: “They might look scary, but tarantulas are not actually dangerous to humans.“Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET.

High School Football Player Forced to Tackle Teammate Running the Wrong Way. Life is a series of tough lessons. Deadspin explains: “High school is hardly an easy time for any teenager, let alone those who try to balance a life filled with academics and athletics, so it’s important for kids around that age to have a good support system who can help save them from themselves. Kha’Ron Thrower, a high school football player in California, played that role perfectly on Friday when he had to stop a teammate from turning what should have been a pick-six into a safety. Even without sound, the clip perfectly encapsulates all the anger and confusion felt among pretty much everyone who was witnessing this event. Every player in red is frantically gesturing the opposite way, the coaches are jumping up and down…”

45 F. high yesterday in the Twin Cities.

60 F average high on October 13.

54 F. high on October 13, 2018.

October 14, 1966: An enormous hailstone crashes through the windshield of a truck near Claremont in Dodge County. It was reported to be 16 inches in circumference.

MONDAY: More clouds than sun. Winds: SW 5-10. High: 48

TUESDAY: Unsettled, passing shower or two. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 40. High: 47

WEDNESDAY: Mostly cloudy and cool. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 36. High: 49

THURSDAY: Sunny intervals, a bit milder. Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 37. High: 57

FRIDAY: Clouds increase, touch of September. Winds: S 10-20. Wake-up: 47. High: 62

SATURDAY: Mostly cloudy, drier day of weekend. Winds: SW 7-12. Wake-up: 48. High: 61

SUNDAY: Raw with potentially heavy rain. Winds: E 10-20. Wake-up: 51. High: 57

Climate Stories….

Fire, Floods and Power Outages: Our Climate Future Has Arrived. Here is the intro to a powerful Op-Ed from Justin Gillis at The New York Times: “Now we suffer the consequences. In Northern California, power was cut to more than a million people this week. Near Houston, houses that flooded only two years ago just succumbed again. The South endured record-shattering fall heat waves. In Miami, salt water bubbled through street drains yet again as the rising ocean mounted a fresh assault. All of it was predicted, in general outline, decades ago. We did not listen. Ideologues and paid shills cajoled us to ignore the warnings. Politicians cashed their checks from the fossil fuel lobbyists and slithered away. Today, we act surprised as the climate emergency descends upon us in all its ferocity.  The scientists knew long ago, and told us, that the sea would invade the coasts. They knew a hotter atmosphere would send heavier rains to inundate our cities and farms…”

Photo credit: “Michael Owen Baker/Associated Press.

How Vested Interests Tried to Turn the World Against Climate Science. Here’s a clip from an explainer at The Guardian: “…Walker outlined a vision of a comprehensive, international campaign to change public opinion on the climate crisis by casting doubt on the scientific research, presenting it as unreliable when the overwhelming majority of scientists had reached consensus. The communications plan involved finding sympathetic scientists, identifying thinktanks to fund that would produce helpful reports, and working through supposed grassroots groups to hold debates questioning the consensus on global heating, along with a constant flow of media briefings manufacturing uncertainty. The plan sounded much like a 1960s PR campaign devised by the tobacco industry to delay controls by questioning the science showing that smoking killed. Some of the people involved were in fact tobacco campaign veterans...”

Firms Ignoring Climate Crisis Will Go Bankrupt, Says Mark Carney. CEOs who want to remain CEOs will need to factor all external risks, including climate volatility and weather disruption. The Guardian reports; here are 2 excerpts: “Companies and industries that are not moving towards zero-carbon emissions will be punished by investors and go bankrupt, the governor of the Bank of England has warned. Mark Carney also told the Guardian it was possible that the global transition needed to tackle the climate crisis could result in an abrupt financial collapse. He said the longer action to reverse emissions was delayed, the more the risk of collapse would grow…The Bank of England has said up to $20tn (£16tn) of assets could be wiped out if the climate emergency is not addressed effectively. But Carney also said great fortunes could be made by those working to end greenhouse gas emissions with a big potential upside for the UK economy in particular…”

Loons Likely to Disappear From Minnesota Due to Climate Change, New Report Warns. Jennifer Bjorhus reports for Star Tribune: “Minnesota could lose its beloved state bird in coming decades if humans don’t stall climate change and prevent the common loon from shifting north. The black and white bird — whose haunting cries define Minnesota as much as lakes, snow and hot dish — is among 55 species likely to disappear from the state for the summer by 2080 if the world does nothing to cut greenhouse-gas emissions, according to a new report by the National Audubon Society, Survival by Degrees: 389 Bird Species on the Brink. Minnesota is one of the country’s fastest-warming states, largely because of its northern location and warming winters. Even if humans stall global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), several bird species in Minnesota remain threatened, including the trumpeter swan, the spruce grouse and the black-throated green warbler...”

Photo credit: David Joles – Star Tribune. “Loons are among 55 species likely to disappear from Minnesota summers by 2080, though the population appears steady.”

California’s Massive Power Outages Show Climate Change is Coming for Everyone. That said, some will feel the effects earlier (and much harder) than others. Here’s a clip from a post at Quartz: “…We’re entering a climate era when there are no total solutions. There are only tradeoffs. Disaster relief is becoming less about rebuilding or fixing infrastructure, and more a way to buy time or retreat from the hardest-hit areas. In low-lying and fire-prone areas, communities are already beginning to abandon their homes,  from Alaska to Louisiana. As the cost of defense and rebuilding after climate-driven disasters becomes too costly, exceeding the ability of even insurers and governments to absorb, this will become the new normal. Just defending coastal cities against storm surge with seawalls will cost at least $42 billion by 2040, according to environmental group the Center for Climate Integrity, and as much as $400 billion if including communities with less than 25,000 people…”

Photo credit: “The 2018 fire season amounted to 15% of California’s total emissions.” AP Photo/Noah Berger.

Your Retirement Plan is Probably Contributing to Climate Change (Here’s How to Change That). A post at Quartz and Refinitiv explains carbon emissions from S&P 500 companies: “…CO2 emissions reflect latest available CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent emissions) values, as reported by companies, or — if unreported — using one of several estimation calculations. All values were calculated or reported for 2018, 2017, or 2016.  CO2e encompasses all greenhouse gas emissions (CH4, N2O, hydrofluorocarbons, etc.) standardized in CO2 equivalents. For example, CH4 is 25x as potent of a greenhouse gas as CO2. Furthermore, CO2 values solely reflect EPA Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions and exclude (often substantial) Scope 3 emissions, which includes emissions passed onto consumers, emissions from contracted waste disposal, and emissions from employee travel and commuting…”