Pursuit of Happiness
Hot dogs. Apple pie. Fireworks. Summer reaches its zenith on the 4th of July weekend, the culmination of our hopes and warm weather expectations. Payback for the Polar Vortex.
Come to think of it maybe The Minnesota State Fair is the high point of summer? A subjective question, but let's agree to keep this going a while longer. I love every season, but this is when I wish I could hit pause on my Weather DVR.
If the sun stays out long enough today we could see our first 90-degree high of 2014 in the Twin Cities. As winds swing around to the northwest a few strong to severe storms may pop up, mainly southeast Minnesota and Wisconsin. Most of the day should be just fine to loiter by the lake or pool.
A few months ago I went on record predicting a cooler, wetter summer and I continue to see a wet bias. A clipper-like system sparks another round of showers and storms late Monday. Canadian exhaust follows with dew points dropping to September-like values by midweek (40s). We warm up a little by late week, sparking another spree of noisy storms by Friday & Saturday.
The calendar insists its early July, but the maps look more like late August.
2014 has been a real head-scratcher.
High Water, Heavy Rain Slow Boating across Minnesota. It's a slow-motion summer on many Minnesota lakes as high water has forced no-wake zones. A boom for kayakers and paddleboarders but many businesses are suffering. Here's a video and story clip from The Star Tribune: "The July 4th holiday weekend usually is the busiest of the year on Lake Minnetonka and many other Minnesota lakes and rivers. Not this year. After the state’s second-wettest June ever, record-high water levels have restricted boating, littered rivers with debris and made creeks too fast and dangerous for paddling. That’s affected everything from swimming to canoeing and boating, turning normally raucous lakes full of jet skiers, wake boarders and water tubers into tranquil lakes dotted with a few slow-moving sailboats and fishing boats..."
Sunday Severe Risk. A few storms may approach or exceed severe limits later today, especially over Wisconsin, far southeastern Minnesota and eastern Iowa. The main risk: large hail and damaging straight line winds. TPI (Tornado Potential Index) courtesy of HAMweather.
Dew Point Outlook. Here is the 84 hour (NAM-derived) dew point forecast, showing steamy low to mid 70s over Minnesota today, then a gradual drop in moisture levels by midweek as winds aloft turn to the west-northwest. Animation: NOAA and HAMweather.
Dew Point Roller Coaster. Today will redefine muggy, but by midweek we'll all be breathing easier as dew points dip into the 40s. Another round of showers and T-storms arrives late Monday, followed by dry weather Tuesday into Thursday as Canadian air pushes south. More T-storms arrive with the next push of sticky air by the end of the week. Graph: Weatherspark.
Hurricane Arthur Makes History With Its Landfall. NPR and KQED have the interview; here's an excerpt: "Hurricane Arthur is dampening the July Fourth weekend along the eastern seaboard. It's the earliest hurricane to make landfall in North Carolina since records began in the mid-19th century. For more, Robert Siegel speaks with Jeff Masters, the director of meteorology for the Weather Underground."
The Longevity Gap. Costly new longevity drugs could help the wealthy live 120 years or more – but will everyone else die young? Aeon Magazine has a fascinating article that explores the ability to live longer, if the price is right; here's a clip: "...What will happen when new scientific discoveries extend potential human lifespan and intensify these inequities on a more massive scale? It looks like the ultimate war between the haves and have-nots won’t be fought over the issue of money, per se, but over living to age 60 versus living to 120 or more. Will anyone just accept that the haves get two lives while the have-nots barely get one?.."
The AI (Artificial Intelligence) Boss that Deploys Hong Kong's Subway Engineers. Why do I think we'll all be working for computers within 20 years? Maybe sooner, as computers become more powerful and learn over time. Here's an excerpt of an eye-opening story at New Scientist: "Just after midnight, the last subway car slips into its sidings in Hong Kong and an army of engineers goes to work. In a typical week, 10,000 people carry out 2600 engineering works across the system – from grinding rough rails smooth and replacing tracks to checking for damage. People might do the work, but they don't choose what needs doing. Instead, each task is scheduled and managed by artificial intelligence..."
Is a Hot Dog a Sandwich? An Extended Meditation on the Nature of America. This guy is sure reading a lot into a simple hot dog (projecting a bit?) but I found his ruminations interesting on some level. Hot dog as a proxy for American reinvention and exceptionalism? Here's a clip from The Guardian: "...America is a country founded by people from someplace else on ideas borrowed from someplace else, ultimately to try to distinguish itself from every place else. It is a fraught balance of identity – to take and be of an other, yet define yourself by contrast to that other. This is the strange impulse of our "exceptionalism", to always borrow something and modify it slightly, then declare the end result definitively, uniquely American. You can see this at play with the hot dog: the sandwich and sausage were both invented elsewhere..."
Photo credit above: "Joey Chestnut is widely favored to win this year's International Hot Dog Eating Contest again. The contest speaks to hot dogs' portability and minimal mess." Photograph: Shannon Stapleton / Reuters.
Justin Bieber: A Case Study in Growing Up Cosseted and Feral. Is the piece in Vulture too harsh? Not sure, in fact I'm not even sure why I'm including this. The perils of fame (and too much money too fast and too young?) It's a long read, but fascinating, in a schadenfreude kind of way; here's an excerpt: "...It may surprise you to know that, despite the saturation coverage of Bieber’s antics, he has not granted a real solo interview in almost two years, and won’t put out an album for a year. And yet you’re about to read a 5,200-word article on him, which may or may not be a colossal waste of your time. Through the images of him that have been generated by gossip magazines and those he has put out on social media, Bieber remains a powerful cultural figure and the “most scrutinized person on Earth,” as a business associate of his put it to me..."
V8 Wet Road: The Luxury Yacht of Personal Watercraft? Yes, every lake should have at least one, although for the record it's still "in development", but the specs show a top speed of 65 mph, traveling in singular style. Gizmag has more details: "If you're a millionaire who wants the ultimate in opulence for your sea voyages, you get yourself a luxury yacht. However, what about those times when you're just playing around? Currently, you get the same Jet Ski-type thing as everyone else ... although there may soon be an alternative. Yacht designer Kurt Strand has just announced his forthcoming Strand Craft V8 Wet Rod luxury personal watercraft..."
84 F. high in the Twin Cities Saturday.
83 F. average high on July 5.
89 F. high on July 5, 2013.
1936: A high of 104 degrees is recorded at Minneapolis.
TODAY: Hot sun, stray T-storm. A few may be strong to severe. Dew point: 71 Winds: West 15. High: near 90
SUNDAY NIGHT: Few storms over Wisconsin, otherwise clearing skies. Low: 67
MONDAY: Fading sun, more T-storms late. High: 84
TUESDAY: Mostly cloudy, drying out. Cooler. Wake-up: 62. High: 78
WEDNESDAY: Partly sunny, comfortable. Dew point: 48. Wake-up: 61. High: 77
THURSDAY: Plenty of sun, still pleasant. Wake-up: 60. High: 81
FRIDAY: Sticky, scattered T-storms. Dew point: 63. Wake-up: 65. High: 84
SATURDAY: Early storms, then clearing. Wake-up: 68. High: 81
When Beliefs and Facts Collide. Here's a clip from a story at The New York Times: "...Mr. Kahan’s study suggests that more people know what scientists think about high-profile scientific controversies than polls suggest; they just aren’t willing to endorse the consensus when it contradicts their political or religious views. This finding helps us understand why my colleagues and I have found that factual and scientific evidence is often ineffective at reducing misperceptions and can even backfire on issues like weapons of mass destruction, health care reform and vaccines. With science as with politics, identity often trumps the facts..."
Obama Advisory on Front Lines of Climate Fight. The New York Times has the story - here's a clip: "...But it also acknowledged a truth: Mr. Holdren has this president’s ear, perhaps more than any White House science adviser in recent memory, at a time when climate change has been thrust to the forefront of national politics and could help shape Mr. Obama’s legacy. Mr. Holdren’s influence can be seen in many of the administration’s policies, including its biggest on climate change — the plan to cut power plant emissions of carbon dioxide, the main contributor to global warming..."
The Declaration of Interdependence and Jefferson's Brilliant "Statement of Intergenerational Equity". Do we have a moral responsibility, as Americans, to future generations? Thomas Jefferson sure thought so. Here's an excerpt from a story at Think Progress: "...By saying that it is a self-evident truth that all humans are created equal and that our inalienable rights include life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, our Founding Fathers were telling us that we are all in this together, that we are interdependent, that we have a moral duty to protect these inalienable rights for all humans. President Lincoln, perhaps above all others, was instrumental in making clear that the second sentence of the Declaration was “a moral standard for which the United States should strive,” as Wikipedia puts it. The double appeal to “Nature” — including the explicit appeal to “the laws of Nature” in the first sentence — is particularly salient..."
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons.