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Showing posts from March, 2010

The Book is Out!!!

To my great surprise, the book is out -- a month early. Amazon appears to have jumped the gun first and once that happens they all do. If you would like to purchase one right away, Watermark Books in Wichita has it on display. I don't know when other book stores will have it, but I do know that Barnes & Noble and Borders have placed orders from the publisher. If any of you would like to order an autographed and inscribed copy, I now have enough books to fill the orders.  Please send $30 to: Mike Smith Enterprises 4031 N. Tara Circle Wichita, Kansas  67226 The price includes the book, shipping and sales tax.  The autograph is free! Even better, come see us!  A list of book signings is below and we expect to have others.

Some Interesting Thoughts About Tornado Season

From AccuWeathe r .

Tell-Tale Toads?

The first-ever earthquake warning system ?

Friday Severe Weather Outlook

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From AccuWeather : I'll be posting more on the late-week severe weather threat this evening.

Climate Pricing

No, I'm not talking about "Cap and Trade," but rather the decision by the Miami Dolphins to charge $5 more per ticket to sit on the shady side of Sun Life Stadium where, they say, temperatures are "as much as 15° cooler."  That is a dubious claim (it may feel  15° cooler in the shade on a cloudless day), but I give the Dolphins credit for creativity in their pricing. Hat Tip:  Sports Illustrated. For more on "Sun Life Stadium" from Dave Barry, click here .

Amazon Delivery

Both my brother and I received emails from Amazon informing us that the delivery of Warnings  has been moved up to April 12-16. This is the first I have heard of this.  I have emailed the publisher (which is closed for the day). I'll post more when I learn more.

Thank You!!

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I don't know why, but Warnings  was selling like hotcakes at Amazon today. Thank you!! The "book tour" starts in less than a month (first stop is Thursday, April 29th in State College, Pa.) and the book will be released in just over a month (May 1st). Book tours are notorious for last minute schedule changes, so I'm going to wait a while before posting the schedule. We do have these events firmed up: Book signing, Watermark Books, Wichita, May 5, 7pm Book signing, Borders Books Newmarket Sq., Wichita, May 8, 1pm Book signing, Barnes & Noble, Country Club Plaza, Kansas City, May 11, 7pm "Miracle at Greensburg," Exploration Place, Wichita, May 22, 1 and 3pm We are working on at least two more.   Kim and I are going to be "blogging the book tour," so stay tuned!

The "Rodney Dangerfield of Sciences"

Yesterday evening, I posted on The New York Times'  story about the global warming views of television meteorologists versus climatologists.  I read the 70+ comments and found them illuminating. For years I have joked that meteorology is the "Rodney Dangerfield of Sciences," we get no respect. Here is a small sample of those comments that illustrate what I mean... Emily in Boston, How often are meteorologists right? Maybe 10% of the time? There is hard evidence in support of climate change. Nelson in NYC, Most weather casters are not exactly intellectual giants. Jason in Boston, Is this a joke? TV "meterologists" versus actual scientists?    [Jason, you might want to learn to spell "meteorologist"] Richard in Pasadena says, Third weather forecasters can't get tomorrows temperature correct more than 50% of the time. There was a time when the weather and astrology were on the same page in the newspaper. I'd say those editors had it r

Flooding in the Northeast

The rain keeps falling. More here from AccuWeather.

Topeka's Falcons

No, that is not the name of a sports team. There are nesting Peregrine Falcons on top of Westar Energy's building in downtown Topeka.  They have even set up cameras to watch their progress. Westar Energy (when it was Kansas Gas & Electric Co.) was WeatherData's first client back in 1981. Nice work, Westar. Hat Tip:  Blog follower Keith.

"Humans are Too Stupid to Prevent Global Warming"

Sigh . Not only are we "too stupid," there is this: One of the main obstructions to meaningful action is "modern democracy", he added. "Even the best democracies agree that when a major war approaches, democracy must be put on hold for the time being. I have a feeling that climate change may be an issue as severe as a war. It may be necessary to put democracy on hold for a while.

A Thoughtful, Refreshing Article

Here is a thought-provoking article from Yale University . It states, in part, Efforts to use climate science to threaten an apocalyptic future should we fail to embrace green proposals, and to characterize present-day natural disasters as terrifying previews of an impending day of reckoning, have only served to undermine the credibility of both climate science and progressive energy policy. The essay also suggests that climate advocacy and research have become too intertwined, with environmentalists seeking to represent the science as “apocalyptic, imminent, and certain.” The science has been harmed as a result, they argue, stating: Greens pushed climate scientists to become outspoken advocates of action to address global warming. Captivated by the notion that their voices and expertise were singularly necessary to save the world, some climate scientists attempted to oblige. The result is that the use, and misuse, of climate science by advocates began to wash back into the science

The Flaw in the NY Times' TV versus Climatologists Article

Several have been kind enough to email me this article from The New York Times. The article discusses a new poll of TV meteorologists which indicates considerable skepticism about 'global warming.' The article challenges the qualifications of some TV meteorologists. Fair enough, some are superbly qualified in atmospheric science, some have qualifications that are weak to non-existent. But, consider this comment: Resentment may also play a role in the divide. Climatologists are almost always affiliated with universities or research institutions where a doctoral degree is required. Most meteorologists, however, can get jobs as weather forecasters with a college degree. “There is a little bit of elitist-versus-populist tensions,” Mr. Henson said. “There are meteorologists who feel, ‘Just because I have a bachelor’s degree doesn’t mean I don’t know what’s going on.’ ” The underlying premise of the article is that 'climatologists' are "qualified" to discern t

"The Day After Tomorrow" -- Not!

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The "kabooms" you hear in the background are two more 'global warming' myths being exploded. Remember the movie " The Day After Tomorrow " about catastrophic cooling of the earth caused by global warming? There were a rash of media stories about a scientific pape r  published five years ago that purported to show that just such a scenario was possible. Thanks to the invaluable Bishop Hill Blog , we learn that ocean current which the original paper said was slowing (thus leading to potential cooling) not only isn't slowing but may be speeding up a little. The original paper had an arithmetic error. That's fine, these things happen in science, but here is the kicker:  We are just now learning about this because when the error was discovered in 2007, Nature  wouldn't publish the corrected information "because it would be of no great interest to Nature readers"! Lest you think this is an isolated case, lets take a look at a story in

"Waiting On A Train"

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While on vacation, I read an excellent book, " Waiting On A Train ," which makes a practical case for a major increase in passenger train frequency and numbers across our nation.  The fact is that faster and more frequent trains could make a major difference in markets like Dallas - Houston, Kansas City - St. Louis, or St. Louis - Chicago where 90 to 120 mph trains (which can be run on existing railroad rights-of-way) would make the downtown to downtown trip faster  than by air and take thousands of vehicles off of our overextended highways. Upgrading railroad track is much less expensive than building new highways and much less disruptive, as well. I highly recommend this book.

"Wind Power is No Solution to Anything"

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I used to be a big proponent of wind power. However, as more wind generators have been installed and more experienced gained I have learned they are a boondoggle.  The reasons are stated in this guest posting on Roger Pielke, Sr.'s blog. I fear that, in a decade, as the U.S. achieves the level of experience of many European nations that are pulling the plug on wind power, we will have have thousands of rusting eyestores cluttering the view on the Great Plains.

Essential Tom Fuller Column #1

UPDATE AND BUMP: From Instapundit.com, MORE  CLIMATEGATE COMPLICATIONS:  “The ClimateGate plot thickens. Lord Oxburgh, a member of the House of Lords who was appointed ‘to chair a scientific assessment panel that will examine the published science of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia,’ has links to businesses that would benefit financially from low-carbon technology: he is chairman of the Carbon Capture and Storage Association and the wind energy company Falck Renewables.” Original Posting... I was on vacation when Tom Fuller wrote about  the whitewash going on in the Climategate investigations. Please read his column. In the words of Dwight Eisenhower, The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded. Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite d

Science 'Proves' Biblical Account

The plagues on Egypt described in the Book of Exodus have been 'proven' by science.  Their cause:  Wait for it.....drum roll... climate change! They found that Rameses reign coincided with a warm, wet climate... Freeing the Israelites:  Is there anything global warming cannot do?! Hat tip:   Powerline .

Plague of Locusts

The Wall Street Journal  has details on the potential for a severe locust outbreak from Nebraska into the Northwest. (subscription may be required)

Farm Vehicles are Getting Sleeker All the Time

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What A Bunch of Bozos

In June, voters in Maine will decide whether to accept a state overhaul of its tax system that would newly tax services like tailor alterations, blimp rides, and entertainment provided by clowns, comedians and jugglers .  Since the Maine legislature believes taxing clowns is a good idea, how about taxing politicians? Hat tip:   Jammie Wearing Fool

Wichita Marriott Brunch

Kathleen and I just returned from her (delayed) birthday brunch. I asked where she would like to go and she said, "Let's try the Marriott , we haven't been to brunch there in quite a while." Wow. It was terrific, including the best brisket I have ever  tasted (and I am from KC, known for good bar-b-que), great deserts, good service, everything!  Price:  $17!* I asked if they were having it for Easter.  She told me it would be even bigger than their Palm Sunday brunch (not sure how that is possible) and that reservations were required .  I'm sure that if it is bigger, the price will be higher but I didn't ask how much. In any case, check it out if you are looking for a great meal to celebrate Easter. * I often comment to Kathleen what a great quality of life we have in Wichita at a very reasonable price.

"Earth Hour" Bust

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I wrote about "Earth Hour" a few days ago, see here . While praising The Wichita Eagle's sports coverage in the KSU posting below, I was disappointed that they ran a puff piece on the subject in today's paper, implying it was a big success: Millions of people were turning off lights and appliances for an hour from 8:30 p.m. in a gesture to highlight environmental concerns and to call for a binding pact to cut greenhouse gas emiss ions. "We have everyone from Casablanca to the safari camps of Namibia and Tanzania taking part," said Greg Bourne, CEO of World Wildlife Fund in Australia, which started Earth Hour in 2007 in Sydney before it spread to every continent. Everyone? If "everyone" and "millions" were turning out their lights for an hour, it would have an effect on electricity consumption, right? It appears that was not the case. Anthony Watts documents that there was zero effect on electricity consumption in California. Clic

We Lost -- But We Really Won

My Kansas State basketball Wildcats, obviously drained from the thrilling double-overtime victory Thursday night, were beaten by a superior Butler team yesterday. But, I believe that collegiate sports should be more than simply winning. Coach Frank Martin (like KSU football coach Bill Snyder) has tried to instill more into his players. Today's column by Bob Lutz of The Wichita Eagle  captures this well: K-State, even after losing to Butler 63-56 in the NCAA West Regional final Saturday afternoon, carries its head high, believing that the best is yet to come. These are impressive players and people who gave credit to the Bulldogs for the way they went about winning the game instead of blaming themselves or anyone else for losing... Remember, though, K-State hasn't been to a Final Four since 1964. The dormant program that started to stir four years ago when Bob Huggins was hired is now kicking and screaming and made it closer to Indy than anyone expected before the season

A Superb Article

Dr. John Wallace, a research meteorologist, has written a well-balanced article on environmental challenges in The Seattle Times.  For those new to the my blog:  It is not that 'global warming' is not a threat. The problem is that we don't know how much of a threat it is given the huge shortcomings in the IPCC's scientific case. GW is not (in my view) an imminent threat, so we have time to rework the research and put more intelligent energy policies in place (which make sense on their own) that will contribute to lessening the effects of GW if they turn out to be significant. But there are much more serious and much more solvable  environmental problems in the world than GW. Some of these can be solved by individuals (click on video) and some require governmental work. Yet, these are often being overlooked due to the overselling of the threat of global warming. Hat Tip:  Climatescience.org.

Global Warming Gardens

Global warming artistic fantasy .

Whoa!

I love the time-lapse at the beginning of this video . It shows the "wall cloud" (the rotating, lowering of clouds in the background) well and looks like something out of "Twister." The wall cloud is the point of origin for many tornadoes. That said, their attempt to get in front of the tornado was foolhardy and could have resulted in serious injury. As it was, their rear window was completely blown out and their front window was seriously damaged. Amateurs have no business storm chasing outside of one of the guided tours.

An Essential Tom Fuller Column, #2

Tom Fuller is an excellent environmental reporter.   This column ,  "Greenpeace Morphs into Big Tobbaco" is essential reading on who are actually the "Davids" and who are the "Goliaths" in the field of global warming. Here are a couple of highlights: Greenpeace is crossing a line. They are adopting the tactics of Big Tobacco in an effort to fight what they want you to think is a Big Tobacco array of interests against them... But their [Greenpeace's] budget for one year is 10 times greater than all the money they say has been contributed to their opponents over the past 10 years. So is that of the World Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club, etc. The report adds up 10 years of contributions to make the totals look bigger--ooh! Exxon gave the Cato Institute $125,000 over a 12 year period. The Cato Institute writes about every subject under the sun. Giving them $10,000 a year does not seem like funding a machine to attack climate change. It's the very

Severe Weather Threat Easter Weekend

I continue to believe that the first significant severe weather outbreak of 2010 will occur in the period from March 31 through April 4th in the Central U.S. I know that seems vague, but my intention is only to give a preliminary "heads up," especially since a lot of people travel around Easter. Comments have been made the last few days along the line of, "where is the tornado season?" It is late getting going this year -- but that doesn't mean that any given day can't produce wicked tornadoes.

Global Warming: Is There Anything It Can't Do? Part III

This must be the week for outlandish global warming claims. National Geographic (which really should know better) is the latest culprit. Here is my "favorite" (sarcasm) part:   Global warming could also precipitate violence by increasing "eco migration," or migration forced by some cataclysmic environmental event. (See  "Climate Change Creating Millions of 'Eco Refugees,' UN Warns." ) I just posted on the subject of "Eco-Migration" in the "Earth Hour" item below. There was a prediction the earth would be overwhelmed by an "exodus of eco-refugees" by the year 2000.  In the biometeorology course I took in college we learned that crime spikes during heat waves and current research still indicates that is the case. But, if global warming is a primary driver of crime, why wasn't worldwide crime off the charts in 1998 when earth's temperatures peaked? In fact, given the temperature peak in 1998 and the predi

"A Daring Plan Put Together By a Bullheaded Man With a Dream"

A perfect ending to a great column about last night's double-overtime win by K-State.

The Product We've All Been Waiting For...

Bacon-flavored envelopes.

"Earth Hour"

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I was watching "Bones" earlier this evening and I saw a commercial (cast with cute little children, natch) that implores the viewer to "stand up for climate change solutions" (or something like that) and turn out your lights for an hour . So, I went to their web site and this caught my eye: New  economic modelling  indicates the world has just five years to initiate a low carbon industrial revolution before runaway climate change becomes almost inevitable. But it can be done, and the long term benefits will be enormous. I clicked on the link to learn about this economic  (note, not "climate") model. It took me to a WWF advocacy publication that restates the contention that the world has "just five years" but does not document how that conclusion was reached!   I guess they assumed no one would check. Regardless, consider this:  From the results of an economic  model, how could you possibly determine whether "runaway climate change"

Winter 2009-2010 Forecast versus Reality

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At left is the actual departure from normal temperatures (by climatological district) versus NOAA's forecast (right) for the winter.  The forecast did not work out well.  Click to enlarge. The British Met Office's forecast for the winter was so bad it has disappeared from its web site and they appear to be discontinuing their seasonal forecasts. Those forecasts have been spectacularly bad in the last few years. Exit question: If we cannot forecast the average weather (climate) for 90 days with consistent accuracy, why do we believe we an forecast the weather 90 years into the future? I believe the answer is self-evident.

Amazon's Lower Price

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  Amazon is currently pricing Warnings at $16.83, the lowest I have seen (the amount will change from time to time). If you pre-order, you get the lowest price from when you order until the book's release. I get the same amount regardless of where you buy it. Click on the ad to purchase (ignore the suggested retail price). If you wish to get an autographed and inscribed copy, here is how to obtain one .

No Respect

"You don't look good with a hammer." Said Michelle Strecker to me this morning as she took over hanging a framed dust jacket of my book on my office wall. It is well known that I ask for motor skills every Christmas but never seem to get them. Kathleen insists I call an electrician to change a light bulb due to my knack for causing disaster when doing "fixit" jobs.

I Had Friends on this Flight

From this morning's Wichita Eagle: “I apologize for this lack of logic for this organization, but if you think this is bad, you should work here.” — An  American Airlines  flight attendant on a recent flight out of Wichita that got stuck on the tarmac in Dallas Read more:  http://blogs.kansas.com/haveyouheard/2010/03/24/you-dont-say-178/#ixzz0jBxBysKS

A 'Guy' Gadget

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Every  'guy' who sees this will want one. Hat tip:   Dave Barry (who else?) Note: "Guy" is in scare quotes because I am using Dave's definition of "guy." To use Dave's example from when the book was published in 1995, Pope John Paul II was a "man." John McEnroe is a "guy." 

"Those Icicles Are Known to Kill People"

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My mother always told me that when I was a kid. I laughed when Ralphie's mother said the same thing in A Christmas Story .  In Russia right now, it is no laughing matter.

"I Don't Get It"

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If you are a fan of The Simpsons  you can skip this posting. My references to global warming and "anything it can't do?" refers to one of the very best episodes of The Simpsons  (written by Conan O'Brien) titled "Marge versus the Monorail." In a sendup of The Music Man,  a traveling salesman, Lyle Landley (= Harold Hill), sells the Simpsons' town of Springfield a defective monorail. The monorail runs out of control, at ever increasing speeds, with Homer at the controls.  Here is the pertinent excerpt of the script of that episode: One technician suggests cutting the power, but alas, the monorail is solar-powered. (``Solar power. When will people learn?'') But miracle of miracles, Springfield suffers a solar eclipse! The train grinds to a halt, and all celebrate. The eclipse ends, and the train speeds off again.  Homer: Are we gonna die, son? Bart: Yeah, but at least we're going to take a lot of innocent people.  Marge calls Homer

Global Warming: Is There Anything It Can't Do? Part II.

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The whole 'global warming' frenzy gets more surreal by the day. It appears that, in the wake of Climategate, the pro-GW people are more and more desperate to sell GW "fixes" that no one wants to buy. Take this headline: Why aren’t climate scientists talking about healthcare reform? The article states 'climate change' "rai[ses] rates of cancer and of respiratory and neurological diseases."  It cites as the authority the IPCC's 2007 report. You can read how accurate that report was ("this is deception pure and simple") in the opinion of a distinguished scientist, Richard Tol, published just yesterday,  here . Since I don't automatically buy into anything the IPCC asserts, I decided to test their theory. 'Global warming' (increasing temperatures) raises cancer rates is the hypothesis.  I decided to test this hypothesis by going to the National Cancer Institute so I could create a map of all  types of cancer and see if

Global Warming: Is There Anything It Can't Do?

Now, flowers are losing their scent due to global warming. To paraphrase The Simpsons,  "Global warming... is there anything it can't do?!" Hat tip:  Drudge Report.

April Precipitation Outlook

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Here is Joe Bastardi's precipitation forecast for April.  It looks good to me. 

Major Severe Weather Ahead?

Tornadoes and other severe thunderstorms have been relatively few and far between so far in 2010.  This is because of the colder than normal temperatures across the United States combined with colder than normal water temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico limiting instability (a necessary ingredient for thunderstorms). This looks like the weather pattern may change starting this weekend.   Preliminary indications are that thunderstorms will become more widespread across the southern half of the U.S. starting this weekend with a potential round of widespread severe  thunderstorms between March 31 and April 5.   While it is not my intention to blog about every tornado and severe thunderstorm, I do like to alert our readers when major events might be in the offing.

An Essay on Social Media and Severe Weather

Some thoughts from AccuWeather. 

"Warnings'" First "Literary" Review

This review was posted by Publisher's Weekly  this morning.  As you can imagine, I am thrilled with it. Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather  Mike Smith. Greenleaf, $24.95 (312p) ISBN 978-1-60832-034-9 A well-known meteorologist and founder of WeatherData, Smith takes readers on a fast-paced account of the biggest storms in recent years and how weather forecasting has developed into a true science since the 1950s. Part memoir, part science account, Smith's tale begins in the late 1940s, when weathermen were actually forbidden to broadcast tornado warnings. The U.S. Weather Bureau blocked storm forecasting for fear of getting it wrong, just as today, according to Smith, the FAA has banned weather radios from airport control towers. He delivers a moment-by-moment account of the monster tornado that leveled Greensburg, Kans., in 2007 as well as a damning account of governmental incompetence in the leadup to Hurricane Katrina. But as Smith shows, scientists t

Battle of the Meteorology Schools

As Texas A&M battles Purdue for a spot in the NCAA's "Sweet Sixteen," you might be interested to learn those two schools both have fine meteorology programs. We have meteorologists from both schools on our staff.

Remember When "Scientific American" was about Science?

I'm actually old enough to remember when Scientific American  was a respected magazine about science . Unfortunately, it has morphed into yet another source of 'global warming' silliness as again evidenced by this story (?) about Sarah Palin. The author took great offense that Ms. Palin said, "[it is] Arrogant and naive to say that man overpowers nature." What Ms. Palin says is so obviously correct I would hardly think it would be a controversial statement, let alone one meriting an article in SA to "refute" it.  I don't know of any scientist that doesn't think humans affect  the climate but we hardly "overpower" it.  If you doubt what I just stated, trying standing in front of a tornado and see how much "power" you have over it. What made the article so jarring is that minutes before I read the SA story, I read about the volcanic eruption in Iceland. If this volcano lets loose, it may affect the climate of the northe

The Books Have Been Printed

The books have left the printer and are on their way to the various book company warehouses and independent bookstores. I just now saw it for the first time and I think it is a real beauty. Greenleaf did a beautiful job with the design of the dust jacket and I am very pleased with the color insert photos.

The Meteorologists Were Correct

If you read Kim's post about the radio station, yes it snowed in Wichita. We had about two inches with a few spots in the area having three.  About 15 miles to our southeast around 4 inches fell. So, yes, the forecast for snow was correct.

Autographed and Inscribed Issues of Warnings

Mike Smith Enterprises, LLC is offering autographed and inscribed copies of Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather by sending a check for $30 (which includes the book, sales tax, and priority mail shipping) to: Mike Smith Enterprises, 4031 N. Tara Circle, Wichita, Kansas 67226. Please let us know how you wish the inscription to read (maximum twenty words, please).

Opinion Poll

I was amused this morning by a local radio station. They were having listeners call in to say whether they thought the weather forecast was accurate for this weekend. This seemed appropriate, since it was in the mid 60's yesterday, and was in the high 50's today. The forecast is for rain to move in tonight, changing over to snow, with 4-6 inches by tomorrow night. Listeners were saying all kinds of things. One man called in to say that "weathermen NEVER get the forecast right!" I guess only time will tell...

Only in Kansas....

It was a beautiful day today in Kansas. The sun was shining and it made it into the 60's. People were out walking their dogs, playing with their children, and enjoying the sunshine. But tomorrow is another story.... Temperatures are supposed to plummet during the day, rain and thunderstorms are moving in, and it is supposed to change over to snow after sunset, with 20-30 mph winds. Check out the forecast for your area at www.accuweather.com

March Madness!

This has absolutely NOTHING to do with weather, but I Love March Madness basketball. Today is the first day of the tournament, and KState has won their first round. KU is set to play later tonight, and hopefully it will be a win for them as well. But true to its name, there have already been some upsets in this first day of play. Today brought a surprise loss for Vanderbilt, and I am sure there will be many more upsets as the games go on.

Re-Regulating the Airlines, Conclusion

So, given the problems I have outlined in Parts I-VI, what to do? From my point of view, trying to compete on service in today's airline environment is futile. The things frequent travelers care most about  -- on time, more luggage options, peace and quiet, the TSA, are not under the control of the airlines. The airlines can only compete on price, so service must suffer especially if the trend toward higher fuel costs continues.  What should we do? I would allow an airline to fly to any city it wants. But, I would make the airlines bid for their slots every second year so that new entrants have a chance. I would probably mandate that larger aircraft get preferences rather than this nonsensical trend to fly more and more minijets so airlines can maintain the illusion (given ever lower numbers of passengers) of “hourly service” between (for example) St. Louis and Chicago and I would probably offer preferential treatments to cities that do not have travel options (i.e., Amtrak off

Re-Regulating the Airlines, Part VI

As we have seen, the problem with letting the “free market” reign in airlines is there is no free market. The government handles the slots, dictates ‘security,’ forces nonsensical inflight announcements and rules, and controls the air traffic control system.   But, even if all of those were solved, there is still the central problem there is not enough capacity to handle all of the commercial flights. There is a web site that lists virtually every airport construction project in the world. Take a few moments to look at the large number of foreign airports with giant construction projects. Ft. Lauderdale International Airport is the fastest-growing in the United States.  Go to: http://www.airport-technology.com/projects/fort_laud/   and you will learn that there is an expansion program that started in 1997 and still isn’t complete.   Scroll down and you’ll see an expanded car rental facility, terminal refurbishment, new parking.  What you don’t see is new runways!   Same is true at

Re-Regulating the Airlines, Part V

This past summer, I was forced to deal with flight delays (NOT due to weather) of more than three hours on three separate occasions.  Why?  One was mechanical (the airline no longer had a full-time mechanic in Wichita due to cutbacks) and the other two were due to the air traffic control system that is now unable to come close to handling the demands imposed by the hub system, like it could given the point-to-point flights that existed prior to 1979's deregulation when flights were evenly spaced. So, lets go back to my example of the airline that wants to operate with superior service:  It can’t because there are a finite number of ‘slots’  (government-allocated permssions to operate a flight into the more crowded airports like O’Hare or JFK).  So, if Southwest (a no-frills, low-fare airline is delayed) so is our new airline that wants to operate a superior service. Even if an airline wanted to pay extra for one of these coveted slots (that are granted by the government, which,

Is Spring Almost Here??

Sunday Was "Spring Forward" Day. I have to admit, it is one of my least favorite days of the year. I am not a fan of waking up early. I really don't get too excited to watch the sun rise. (Although I LOVE sunsets!) I always seem to feel robbed of my sleep every year when I have to set my clock forward. But today, I was able to get outside and clean up around my yard. I think that I saw, FINALLY, that spring is right around the corner! It has been a long winter. My heart almost skipped a beat when I saw tulip leaves sprouting and my grass turning green! So Sunday may have been "Spring Forward" day, but I'm going to focus more on the "Spring" than the "forward".

Re-Regulating the Airlines, Part IV

(Please see parts I, II, and III below) Right now, the air traveler has two alternatives:  A private jet or steerage in the domestic U.S. airlines (first class isn’t worth paying for, it has become a joke given the level of service versus the prices charged). There has to be a market for something in-between right?   Let's assume that a new airline wanted to start tomorrow that was going to solve all of the attitude problems and service problems and make their customers happy. First of all, the airline passenger would still have to deal with the “security theatre” of the TSA.  I have  previously written  about my proposal for reforming the TSA. Unfortunately, its chances of passage are slim to none because the politicians are scared to death that if something goes wrong, their election opponents would use their vote to dial back the TSA against them. So, the unpleasant experience would still begin the moment you arrive at the airport. The new airline planned to allow customers