Thursday, February 21, 2019

Now: A Bad Privacy 'Surprise' From Amazon

Here's a [not!] shocker:
Yes, you just paid to gave Amazon executives live images outside, and if you purchased their indoor security cameras, and inside of your home. Details here.

Google, Facebook, Amazon and their ilk most certainly do not have their customers' best interests at heart.

Blizzard and Tornado Threat Saturday and Saturday Night

The first major tornado threat of 2019 plus a blizzard are forecast for Saturday.

[3:40pm: No update to the information below]
[9:25pm: No update to the snow forecast locations but amounts may be somewhat heavier than forecast. This raises the specter of power failures Saturday into at least Sunday due to the wet snow.]

Let's begin with the tornado threat.
The yellow areas are where you should plan to monitor the weather Saturday and the hatched area is where strong tornadoes and violent thunderstorm winds may occur. The storms will move very, very quickly -- perhaps 70 mph -- which means there will be less warning than usual. There is some possibility the forecast threat area will have to be extended westward in the Ozarks.

Winter weather forecasting is difficult, but because this could be a life-threatening storm so I am providing forecasts farther out than usual.
The map is a preliminary forecast of snowfall amounts and locations to 6pm Saturday. Additional snow will fall across Iowa Saturday night. The heavy snow could fall anywhere between the orange lines. Winds will gust to at least 40 mph in the blizzard area.

Note: the swath of snow from northeast Colorado through western Nebraska is from an earlier storm.

It would be dangerous to travel in the blizzard. 

Snapshot at 4pm Saturday
Please keep in mind the locations are approximate.
I will update the forecast tomorrow.

A New Alzheimers' Hypothesis?

the idea uniting them is a big one: that Alzheimer’s is caused by germs. And not some exotic new germ but the same microscopic organisms that cause things like gum disease and cold sores. Most brains accumulate pathogens as they age-blood vessels become leakier, making the blood-brain barrier more porous. These scientists think some of the germs that infiltrate the brain may be the instigators of the changes that become Alzheimer’s.

And, of course,
Moir has managed to make headway despite limited support from the National Institutes of Health, which has favored investigations that view beta-amyloid as the exclusive cause of Alzheimer’s. Since his first and only NIH grant ran out in 2014, Moir, despite his pioneering work, has struggled to land a second. This lack of funding could change soon, thanks to the efforts of individuals like Leslie Norins, M.D., Ph.D., a retired publisher of medical newsletters who is offering a $1 million prize to the person(s) who can prove a role for microbes in Alzheimer’s.

As long-time readers know, I'm not a fan of how tax dollars are handed out to researchers. It is very much like high school cliques, unfortunately. Eisenhower's prescient warnings about Big Government Science have been shown to be extremely well-founded.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Google Lives Down to Expectations

Just Sunday, I wrote about not trusting Google. It didn't take long for them to, yet again, live down to expectations.


A blizzard is possible over parts of the Great Plains Saturday and Saturday Night.
Dark blue area is where blizzard conditions are more likely. Light blue is where they are possible. To quote the National Weather Service's Wichita office a few minutes ago:
Note the comment about "extremely strong" winds.

So, I recommend anyone considering traveling in or through this area Saturday or Saturday night seriously reconsider. You can attempt to beat the storm by traveling tomorrow or waiting the storm out and traveling after 12 noon on Sunday. 

If you've never been in a blizzard, please consider the following as an illustration as to how quickly the system can deteriorate.
During a 2010 Kansas blizzard, highways became
hazardous within ten minutes (!) of the commencement
of the start of the snow. 
Just ten minutes later, 21st Street looked like this. I don't think I've ever seen road conditions deteriorate
so very rapidly. You wouldn't want to be caught -- even on an Interstate Highway -- caught in a rural area in these conditions.

So, I urge you to monitor the weather closely and be prepared to change your plans.

Why Forecasting Snow is So Difficult

While people are generally happy with this forecast, I always review mine.

Below is my review of my forecast. 
In this satellite image, red = snow.
Please note the narrow width of of the band of heavy snow in south central Kansas and northwest Oklahoma. While my Wichita forecast of 2 to 6 inches was very reasonable (and, given the data, exactly the forecast I would make again), we only had 11/4 inches in far northeast Wichita with heavier amounts as one traveled west. The official amount on the southwest side of town (Eisenhower National Airport National Weather Service Office) was 2.1 inches. But, five miles to the west of Eisenhower, 4" fell. In the western part of the county? Seven inches. As we have frequently discussed, thundersnow -- which occurred in northwest Oklahoma -- can cause very heavy rates of snow over very small geographic areas.

Given the ten mile difference between the forecast and what actually occurred, I would say we are getting much better at this. But, we still have a way to go.

Why You Should Be Cautious in Your Choice of Web Browsers

Here is the last thing we need:
Controlling what news voters do and do not receive has become a big focus in the digital age. Mainstream media giants and establishment political operatives alike have long fought to stigmatize, discredit, and censor any news that doesn’t fit their agendas.

Now a familiar player is getting into the censorship game: Microsoft just announced that the tech giant’s Edge web browser will feature a “NewsGuard” plugin that will display a big red exclamation mark and a scolding warning when users view news outlets its censors dislike. Media outlets hand-selected by NewsGuard and Microsoft, on the other hand, will get a big friendly green check mark and flattering praise of their journalistic merit.

Who are the approved “green check mark” news sources? The left-leaning, establishment media outlets you would expect: CNN, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, and so on. These are the same sites that rushed to publish dozens of demonstrably false stories about Catholic high schoolers harassing a Vietnam veteran — and wound up putting those teenagers and their families in the crosshairs of a vicious internet hate mob — and then, largely refused to apologize for getting the story completely wrong.

 The entire story is here.

My primary browser is Apple's Safari. But, I don't like the direction Apple is going these days. I want quality, reliable technology. Instead, their laptops are getting father behind the competition and I don't care for the newer iPhones. Unfortunately, Apple seems determined to join the ranks of the social justice warriors.

More and more, I find myself using my Brave Browser which is excellent in every way. I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

5pm Tuesday Winter Storm Update

Road conditions are bad across south central Kansas. Numerous accidents with the Emergency Accident Notification Plan now in effect for Wichita and other cities in Sedgwick Co. As many as five inches have already accumulated southwest of Wichita.

I still think 2-6" for Wichita. Six to 10 inches in Harper, Kingman, Reno and McPherson Counties. Already, Cheney, Kansas, reports 5.5" and Kingman as much as 7.5 inches.

I suggest you do not travel in the region unless it is necessary travel.

Radar below is from 4:50pm CST.

Blue are counties under a winter storm warning. Gray is a winter weather advisory.

There Is Still Time to Prevent This in the United States

Australians once enjoyed affordable power, reliably delivered: the chaotic delivery of wind and solar changed all that. Australian power prices have rocketed out-of-control: its wind and solar power capital, South Australia pays the highest electricity prices, in the world.

Mass power cuts (aka load shedding and demand management) and mass blackouts are the new normal. And yet, the lunatics responsible are hell-bent on doubling down to deliver the final and fatal blow to Australia’s Eastern Grid (geographically, the largest interconnected power grid on the planet).

As Jo Nova explains, electricity generation and delivery is a finely balanced thing; and the sudden massive surges and collapses that are part and parcel of wind and solar generation are taking their toll, with much worse to come.

Jo Nova is a very smart person. The entire report is here.

Important: We need to stop this nonsense in the United States. More wind and solar only imbalance the electric grid and make it more expensive and unreliable.

For Updated Weather Information...

...please follow me on Twitter @usweatherexpert. Thank you.