Sunday, March 31, 2019

One Year: It Has Been Fantastic!

I retired one year ago this evening. I loved my jobs in television and then commercial meteorology. While founding and growing WeatherData, Inc. was my professional dream come true, I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to spend more time with my precious family (especially my granddaughters).

In addition to my professional speaking, I now do consulting work -- especially with startups and companies related to science. I'm enjoying that immensely and my clients seem pleased with the work I do for them. If you are interested in learning more and boosting your growth, go here.

Thank you to each of my consulting clients. I value the opportunity to work with each of you!!

I have written a short story I'm trying to get published. I'm also working on my first novel. I have no idea when the manuscript might be finished.

So, that is my life after one year of retirement. For those who wonder what retirement might be like: If you are financially squared away I highly recommend it. 

Sunday Fun: Where's Dave Barry When We Need Him?

Saturday, March 30, 2019

The Amazing Kansas Sky

This is a screen capture from Farmer Derek's mirage video. The amazing Kansas sky. Nothing else like it. 

Friday, March 29, 2019

The Prescription Pain Medication [Non-] Crisis

In the 1980's, there was a panic involving child kidnapping. If you didn't live through it, it is difficult to understate how ridiculous it was. Children's faces were being printed on milk cartoons. TV stations were running reports at half-hour intervals. This panic was driven by lazy and uncurious news reporting and by statistics that included domestic disputes into reports of "kidnapping."

Today, we have the same issue with opioids.

The Federalist has published a superb article pertaining to the conflation of prescription pain medications with the deaths being caused by the abuse of illegal opioids, primarily fentanyl. From the article:

Although opioid-related deaths are driven mainly by heroin and black-market fentanyl, you would not know that from most of the press coverage, which emphasizes pain medication prescribed to patients who become addicted, overdose, and die. This narrative is “fake news.”
Just 30 percent of opioid-related deaths in 2017 involved commonly prescribed pain pills, and most of those cases also involved other drugs. People who die after taking these drugs typically did not become addicted in the course of medical treatment. They tend to be polydrug users with histories of substance abuse and psychological problems.
To give you an idea of how incredibly inflated the "opiod pain pill" panic is, here are the real numbers:

In a 2018 study of about 569,000 patients who received opioids after surgery, for example, just 1 percent of their medical records included diagnostic codes related to “opioid misuse.” According to federal survey data, “pain reliever use disorder” occurs in 2 percent of Americans who take prescription opioids each year, including non-medical users as well as bona fide patients.

After surgery? 1%. Total misuse? 2%, which includes people who were never prescribed the medications in the first place. Does that seem like a crisis to you?

Who are the victims of this unwarranted panic? People who have chronic pain like yours truly (fibromyalgia, CFS and severe back issues). Here is what two of them wrote:

Here in Kansas, when Governor Colyer set up his opioid advice panel, I contacted them -- twice -- and recommended they have a chronic pain patient among the physicians. nurses, lawyers, etc. They did not reply to my first message. The second was replied with, "No need. Your point of view is represented by the doctors and nurses on the panel." While I am sure their intentions were good -- respectfully, having medical professionals is not the same as having one or more chronic pain patients. Particularly, as noted above, we are being treated as drug addicts just to get a prescription renewed.

The Federalist article goes on to read:

Desperation for Chronic Pain Patients?

Many of these patients used their prescriptions responsibly for decades, but they are now being pushed into trying dangerous surgical interventions or desperately buying drugs off the street. Reporters like Kennecke are helping to push chronic pain patients past their breaking point. It’s a pointless sacrifice, since opioid-related deaths have continued to rise even as prescriptions of pain medication have fallen dramatically.
Even if all of the inaccurate and hyped reporting were to cease tomorrow, the damage will take years to undo. Politicians do not like to admit they were wrong.

Going forward, remember the Hypocratic Oath: First, Do No Harm.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Shading News Stories To Get People to Believe in Global Warming

I'm so old, I remember when most journalists simply tried to report on stories and attempted to cover both sides fairly. That hasn't been the case for decades, especially when it comes to global warming.

From WattsUpWithThat:

So, what happened when global warming was added to stories about storms?
People aren't stupid: they are well aware that floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, etc., etc., occurred before climate was politicized and they know these same weather phenomena occurred when the problem was allegedly global cooling. Just recently, Associated Press and the Kansas City Star have attempted to make global warming the fall guy for the severe Missouri River flooding -- in spite of the worst flood in the region being more than 150 years ago when the global atmosphere was much colder.

I communicated with one of the reporters and, I regret to report, to justify tying the flood to global warming (in addition to the professor he quoted) he sent me a link to the recent IPCC AR5 which, he claimed, tied flooding to global warming. He obviously hadn't actually read the report. I assume he didn't realize I had. Here is what it says about flooding.
  • “In summary, there continues to be a lack of evidence and thus low confidence regarding the sign of trend in the magnitude and/or frequency of floods on a global scale”
By "sign" they mean whether the trend is positive or negative. The bottom line is that the IPCC, the supposed gold standard regarding global warming, doesn't even know whether floods are increasing or decreasing, let alone whether they are influenced by global warming! The reporter was acting as an advocate, not a journalist.

I guess the good news is that people are not falling for it.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Wichita: Women in Meteorology

My friend, Lisa Teachman, has a great story (above) about Wichitan June Bacon-Bercy who was the first American woman to receive a degree in meteorology and the first to get the AMS TV Seal for Television Weathercasting.

And, the second woman to receive the AMS Seal Television Seal worked in Wichita, Virginia Bigler.

We have a number of great women meteorologists in Wichita, especially Lisa Teachman at KSNW and Cat Taylor at KAKE TV. There are also great women meteorologists at AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions in Wichita. I'm lucky to have worked with them.

EMP: Thank You, President Trump

Finally! We appear to have a President who is serious about the threat of an electro-magnetic pulse (EMP). EMP can be the result of a massive solar storm (one occurred in 1859) or an enemy detonating a nuclear weapon high above the United States.

Yesterday, the President issued an executive order (text here) to force the federal government to act on this issue.

In the real world, EMP is a far, far, far greater threat than global warming.

The first thing that would go is the electrical grid. No electricity. None. For many months.

No electricity means no pumps for gasoline or fuel for electric cars. Cars made in the last 20 years would be crippled as their computer chips would be ruined. Hospitals would lose their electronic instruments. Food would run out very quickly with no way to bring more to market.

We need to divert however much money is needed to get ahead of this problem as quickly as possible. If necessary, take the money from global warming research (after all, "the science is settled").

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

"I'll Believe Global Warming is a Crisis When the People Telling Me it's a Crisis Start Acting Like it's a Crisis"

Representative Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal was voted on in the Senate today. The vote was 0-57. Obviously, it did not receive a single Democratic vote. Three Democrats voted against and 46 boldly voted "present."

When introducing the Green New Deal, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez told us there were "only twelve years to save the planet."

Among those voting "present" were:
  • Bernie Sanders
  • Cory Booker
  • Kirsten Gillibrand
  • Kamala Harris
  • Elizabeth Warren
  • Sherrod Brown
who are running for President in 2020. 

We have gotten to the point that no reasonable person believes the tipping points ("12 years left"!!) nonsense any more -- which I believe is reflected in the above votes. They realize no one except extremists believes the "12 years" (and the dozens of other tipping points, see link above) anymore and the extremists do not represent enough votes to get them the nomination -- let alone elected President in the general election. 

H/T: Glenn Reynolds for the title. 

Farmer Derek: A Kansas Mirage

Farmer Derek has been seeing mirages from the top of his grain bin. He tells the story with a little bit of help from yours truly. Another favorite part of the video is the sky photography.

Wichita: Great City for Great Jobs and a Great Life

Two more: Wichita is #1.

Great Manufacturing Jobs:
Not only are we #1, look at the salary! This high salary comes with a very low cost of living -- so there is lots of disposable income.

And, You Don't Have to Spend Much:

If you want to have a drink after work, Wichita is the least expensive city.

And, once you've finished work and a drink after, you can afford to go to your own home. Wichita is #8 in cities where millienals purchase homes. One reason is because they are so affordable.
Come and see us!!

Saturday, March 23, 2019

The Amazing Promise of "Mesoscale Modeling"

What if you could predict the path of a hailstorm six hours in advance? 

While they are still experimental and there are times where they are terribly wrong, mesoscale models, more and more, are doing things even I never dreamed possible just a decade ago.

Below are forecasts of rotating updrafts which produce large hail and, at times, tornadoes. The top forecast forecast was made from data ending at 11am this morning and the lower from 1pm.

And, here is where the hail has fallen (so far) this evening. The stones were up to 2" in diameter.
The yellow/orange line just north of "Oklahoma City" is that track of large hail. Nearly a perfect forecast. On top of that, the storm threatened to drop a tornado.
If one has several hours of notice large hail is going to occur, a great deal of damage could be prevented. Cars could be put in garages, etc. 

Meteorology is moving forward rapidly. 

If There Was Ever A Time to Thank a Meteorologist...

Record floods.
Record blizzard.
Record winds.

Yet, the loss of life has been extraordinarily low. For this, our society can thank meteorologists.

The Next Time You Are Tempted To Worry About Global Warming Gloom and Doom Forecasts

Friday, March 22, 2019

Water Forecasting

Today is World Water Day. In order for water resources, which are often scarce in parts of the world, to be properly managed, weather forecasting is critical.

Given the record flooding in the Midwest, I thought our readers might find interesting a comparison of a recent water forecast versus reality.

The forecast below was posted on this blog on March 12th. It was comprised of the graphic from the National Weather Service and commentary from yours truly.
Below is a geographic plot of all National Weather Service flood warnings plotted since the major flooding began March 14, two days after the above forecast.
Even more important, the March 12 posting included the following advice:
Whether is was the forecast for the High Plains Megastorm (or "bomb cyclone" if you prefer) or the above forecast of the subsequent flooding, weather science continues to provide vital information to save lives and improve society.

The Insulin Issue

The best single explanation I have seen for the issues with insulin pricing is here. I learned from reading it.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

NOAA's Spring Flood Outlook

This is NOAA's outlook for widespread flooding from now through the end of May. It does not include thunderstorm-related flooding due to heavy rain. They are calling the flood potential for this spring, "unprecedented." Below is an explanation of the descriptive words.
click to enlarge
As I mentioned when I first posted about this threat, this information does not do anyone any good if it is viewed as merely interesting. Especially if you are in a "major" risk risk area, begin making preliminary precautions now: 

  • How would you contact family and friends?
  • How would you and they evacuate?
  • Do you have a list of what you would take with you if you need to evacuate quickly? Things like financial records and precious family albums and records?
  • Do you have a way of receiving flash flood and flood warnings quickly?
  • Does your business have an alternative location or does it have a way of getting vital records and equipment out of danger?
  • Keep your car full of fuel. Keep your computers and phones fully charged. 
I'll update on this threat from time to time. 

Essential Clean Water

This is a more urgent -- and, far more solvable -- problem than global warming. Recent developments in water purification make it affordable to bring clean water to many. Rotary International's clean water efforts are an excellent place to donate if you want to help make clean water available to all.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

"Technoskeptic" on the Joplin Tornado

Joplin's St. John's Hospital after the tornado.
Fifteen died there. They didn't know it was coming
until six minutes before the tornado arrived.
The new edition of Technoskeptic magazine (print) has an article about the 2011 Joplin Tornado. Author Eric Brende discusses the role of technology that terrible day.

Eric interviewed me several times and refers to my book, When the Sirens Were Silent. The book is a cautionary tale about how the warning system failed to work as it should have that day -- with the result being the loss of 161 precious lives.

Given we are on the threshold of what will likely be an active 2019 tornado season, the book -- with its detailed safety suggestions for home, schools and offices -- is as timely today as the day the book was published.

It is just $2.99 (ebook). We priced it so a maximum number of people could benefit. It is a fast read and I urge you to grab a copy before the next tornado watch is issued for your area.

Another Climate Practitioner Passes On Answering the Big Questions

For background, please see the posting below. In it, I contended that climate science is not a science because it lacks the absolutely essential element of any science which is a falsifiable hypothesis.

A climate scientist from MIT immediately Tweeted and rejected my comment. I have obscured his name because I do not desire to put him in an uncomfortable position.

Here is the exchange on Twitter:
The climate scientist said I was wrong and that it is a genuine science.

So, as I have with so many others, I asked him the two critical questions:
And, his response? Nothing (blank yellow page for illustration).

Over and over and over, I have asked climate 'scientists' these questions and I never get a satisfactory answer and, most of the time -- as in this case -- I get no answer at all. I have even offered to several the opportunity to post a guest column on my blog answering these questions.

Global warming made it onto the front pages of America's newspapers in summer, 1988. They've had three decades to come up with the answers and have not. So, from this point on, this blog will refer to climate studies instead of climate science. If these terribly basic questions cannot be answered after 30+ years, then the study of future climate is interesting and important speculation but it is clearly not science.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

The New York Times: Two Papers in One!!

Landsat image of Nebraska flooding
Today, March 19, 2019, the New York Times publishes:
"This is science after all, and science is constantly evolving."

New York Times, December 31, 2018, published:
"The science is settled."

Evidently, every science evolves except global warming.

In some ways, this may not be the contradiction it seems to be. Increasingly, climate studies are not "science." By definition, science must have a falsifiable hypothesis. If global warming is responsible for:
  • Flooding
  • More polar ice
  • Less polar ice
  • Drought
  • Warmer weather
  • Colder weather
  • High winds
  • Calmer winds
  • Changes in hurricanes (not just worsening hurricanes)...
it cannot possibly be falsified. If every change in the weather is due to global warming then climate study is not science because it is not falsifiable. Why?
  • The weather constantly changes and always has.
  • Climate constantly changes and always has. 
In fact, those who study climate cannot tell us (based on their chosen metric of surface temperatures) the ideal temperature for earth and its human residents. 
Volcanic eruption currently in progress; via Twitter
Do human beings affect the weather? Of course! But, it isn't nearly as simple as changes in CO2. Humans affect the climates through greenhouse gases, land use changes, particulates, aerosols and in other ways. Climate also changes through volcanic and solar influences. The bottom line:

Even if we took atmospheric concentrations of CO2 back to 350ppm, it is highly unlikely the climate would be the same as the last time it was 350ppm. 

It is a shame that global warming has corrupted atmospheric science. I doubt that issue will resolve itself in my lifetime. 

Attention: Washington and Oregon

This deserves your full attention.

Tragically, our nation doesn't tackle the deficit, EMP's, solar storms, or giant earthquakes. Just wait until the eventual hurricane hits Southern California.

That is what we should be focused on, not political correctness. We should be ignoring the SJW's and focusing on the real issues.

Monday, March 18, 2019

How Severe Was Last Week's Blizzard?

There's a car under there! Really.

And, there it is!

The region is still recovering. The losses to farmers and ranchers are "staggering."

Comments On The Incredible Nebraska Flooding

The U.S. Air Force's single most important base and home of the Strategic Air Command is 30% underwater. Even the HQ building at Offutt AFB, south of Obama, is flooded.
Journal-Star photo
The photo below shows the main runway underwater yesterday with U.S. 75 in the background.
Omaha World-Herald photo
The damage may be understated in that a number of critical facilities are underground. For example, this command bunker (depicted with President Bush on September 11, 2001) is underground.
The nearest flood gage to Offutt is at Plattsmouth, Nebraska. The crest was yesterday and the water has begun to fall. Arrow indicates the latest reading.

This entire event has received far less attention in the mainstream media than it should.
CNN home page this morning. The flood is not mentioned.
The lack of coverage hasn't stopped the global warming nonsense.
While this is the greatest flood of record at Plattmouth, it is not the worst flood ever. That was in 1844 before flood gages existed. World temperatures were then still at Little Ice Age values at that time.

Addition: Satellite image of the Offutt flood.
click to enlarge

Essential Wisdom About College

From Peggy Noonan, here.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Sunday Fun: Lessons From Dave Barry...and, Lucy

A nice, open-access, story by Dave Barry available here.

In spite of what he writes in this latest essay, Dave is a delight to meet and speak with. If you have a chance to attend one of his appearances, do so. Highly recommended.