zenpundit.com » weather

Archive for the ‘weather’ Category

The weathervane vote

Friday, October 28th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — not a weatherman myself, though I do appreciate Bob Dylan ]
.

Is what I suggest here ridiculous, or important but largely overlooked, or well known and in general background awareness? What say you? I just want to air the topic..

**

There’s a lot of talk about swing voters, right? A Brookings Institution chapter, What Exactly Is a Swing Voter? Definition and Measurement runs to 31 pages and 27 footnotes explaining the concept, but I think there’s one swing vote they may be missing.

I came to this conclusion after pondering the whole question of margins of error in polls. It’s generally accepted that polls have margins of error, often in the mid-single digits. Margins of error call forth interesting analytics, too — see this graphic and accompanying comment from Pew, 5 key things to know about the margin of error in election polls:

horseracepolls

For example, in the accompanying graphic, a hypothetical Poll A shows the Republican candidate with 48% support. A plus or minus 3 percentage point margin of error would mean that 48% Republican support is within the range of what we would expect if the true level of support in the full population lies somewhere 3 points in either direction – i.e., between 45% and 51%.

Even a relatively small margins of error can be enough to encourage misreading an upcoming election result, but the margin of error I’m thinking of is in the range of 35% of undecideds. Let’s call it the weathervane vote.

**

Consider this quote from Theodore H. White’s The Making of the President, 1960:

The weather was clear all across Massachusetts and New England, perfect for voting as far as the crest of the Alleghenies. But from Michigan through Illinois and the Northern Plains states it was cloudy: rain in Detroit and Chicago, light snow falling in some states on the approaches of the Rockies. The South was enjoying magnificently balmy weather which ran north as far as the Ohio River; so, too, was the entire Pacific Coast. The weather and the year’s efforts were to call out the greatest free vote in the history of this or any other country.

That’s also the epigraph to another piece of learned disquisition — and yes, I love (envy, mock) academics — The Republicans Should Pray for Rain: Weather, Turnout, and Voting in U.S. Presidential Elections. That’s from The Journal of Politics, Vol. 69, No. 3, August 2007, pp. 649–663.

Parasols or umbrellas?

**

But my figure of 35%?

First, let me admit i’m not exactly clear on the distinctions or overlaps between swing voters and undecideds, so I may be adding my own margin of error by conflating the two — but my 35% comes from a 2012 piece titled Bad Weather on Election Day? Many Won’t Vote. I think my favorite bullet point therein was this:

  • In bad weather, Mitt Romney supporters are more likely to vote.
  • Their lead paragraph gives me my 35% figure:

    Among those who plan to vote this year, 35 percent of undecided voters say that inclement weather conditions would have a “moderate to significant” impact on whether they make it to the polls on Election Day on Tuesday, Nov. 6.

    Don’t ask the the margin of error on that particular poll, though, the good folks at Weather.com failed to say.

    **

    My favorite weathervane to date:

    garden-installation-rabbit-weathervane-drawing-p

    Bottom line: If 35% of the swing vote hinges on which way the wind blows, I’m prone to thinking the weather may well have the deciding vote in this here election.

    Hat-tip for pointing me to the 35% piece: rockin’ andee baker.

    On play as wildness

    Saturday, September 24th, 2016

    [ by Charles Cameron — what’s true of hex maps is true of all mental models ]
    .

    There’s a certain let-your-hair-down quality to play.

    It appears that one Tausendsassa Friedensreich Regentag Dunkelbunt Hundertwasser said or perhaps wrote, muttered, whispered, shouted, or simply thought out loud, “the straight line is a godless line” — at any rate, someone noticed and recorded the phrase, and now it’s scattered across the net and difficult to track to its source.

    **

    But we do love order, don’t we?

    hex-grid

    And so the rivers on our hexagonal maps all too easily follow the hexagons..

    rivers-and-tree-clusters-hexagonal-map

    when they’d more realistically cross over them, following their own courses:

    free-rivers

    and note how easily even our efforts to bring natural variety to our hexagonal mappings conform more to hexagons than to variety.

    hexmaptopo

    **

    Zennist Thich Nhat Hanh in Listening Deeply for Peace writes:

    A traditional Vietnamese Zen garden is very different from a Japanese Zen garden. Our Zen gardens, called hon non bo, are wild and exuberant, more playful than the formal Japanese gardens with their restrained patterns. Vietnamese Zen gardens are seriously unserious. For us, the whole world is contained in this peaceful place. All activities of life unfold in true peace in the garden: in one part, children will be playing, and in another part, some elderly men will be having a chess game; couples are walking; families are having picnics; animals are free to wander around. Beautiful trees are growing next to abundant grasses and flowers. There is water, and there are rock formations. All ecologies are represented in this one microecology without discrimination. It is a miniature, peaceful world. It is a beautiful living metaphor for what a new global ethic could bring.

    **

    Here is the wrestling of a tree with such angels as gravity, sun, wind and rain:

    methuselah-bristlecone-pine-tree

    Here is the wild calligraphy of the Rio Mamoré across the forests of the Amazon basin:

    meanders_oli_2014194

    Armageddon overkill

    Monday, March 7th, 2016

    [ by Charles Cameron — on abuses of word and image ]
    .

    Exhinit A, The Four Horsies of the ‘Pocapypse:

    Foiur horsies of the Pocalypse

    Meet Calamity (Pestilence), Raven (Famine), Clash (War) and Ghost (Death). They’re the Four Horsies of the ‘Pocalypse (or at least they would be if they could only get their act together)! This next-generation of doombringers are on a mission to destroy the Earth, but to do so, they’ll have to beat the likes of Queen Chroma and her rainbow sprite army! Too bad they can’t crack teamwork to save their lives.

    **

    Exhibit B, Juan Cole today:

    Juan Cole asks:

    Is Iraq Army Preparing for Armageddon with ISIL?

    Armageddon? No, that would be near Haifa, not Mosul. And besides, for IS to take a battle seriously it would need to be at or near Dabiq, not Tel Megiddo.

    **

    Exhibit C, the Urban Dictionary:

    -pocalypse

    a suffix that is affixed to any word that describes the cause of a situation of relative discomfort derived from the last 3 syllables of ‘armageddon.’

    As of late, the suffix “-pocalypse” has been popularized in the media, trying to make a minor event bigger than it is. Interestingly, an actual apocalypse would likely go by another name, or receive the suffix anyway. i.e. ‘Armageddonopalypse.’

    Related suffix: “-mageddon”

    The Hyphen is not always used.

    Someone left the ‘fridge open, now were having the mold-pocalypse of ’11

    by annoyedCitizen70 July 19, 2011

    **

    You might have thought once was enough..

  • January 2009, Mild winter easy on city budget
  • December 2009, Crushed! Snowpocalypse crippled Washington, D.C. on this date in 2009
  • February 2010, Snowmageddon, Blizzard of 2010
  • February 2011, video, Snowpocalypse, Chicago 2011
  • January 2012, ‘Snowpocalypse 2012’ For Small Alaskan Town
  • February 2013, Time lapse video of the 2013 Snowpocalypse in the Northeast
  • January 2014, Atlanta ‘snowpocalypse’ mocked after 2 inches of snow strands thousands
  • January 2015, Snowpocalypse 2015
  • January 2016, Snowpocalypse 2016: Desperate Hoarding Of Basic Supplies
  • Oh, and then there’s Trumpocapypse:

  • 2015, South Park Imagines the Trumpocalypse
  • 2016, For the Republican party, it’s Trumpocalypse Now
  • **

    I have yet to see Mad Max Fury Road, in which:

    Mad Max Fury Road

    A woman rebels against a tyrannical ruler in postapocalyptic Australia in search for her home-land with the help of a group of female prisoners, a psychotic worshipper, and a drifter named Max.

    But it sounds like fun. PostApocapyptic, though?

    **

    Please. Apocalypse means Revelation or Unveiling, and although the revelation itself may cause upheavals up to and specifically including a series of trumpets accompanied by a series of plagues and woes —

    And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.

    The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.

    And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; 9And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.

    And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.

    And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.

    and so forth —

    And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. 4And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads. 5And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.

    terminating with the end of this world — the post-Apocalyptic scene is serene and glorious —

    And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

    Or as St Paul and Handel have it —

    Or as the Qur’an says —

    For the Trumpet shall be blown, and whosoever is in the heavens and whosoever is in the earth shall swoon, save whom God wills. Then it shall be blown again, and lo, they shall stand, beholding.

    **

    Hence — when you say postapocalyptic, please don’t mean “after the snowploughs” or even “post-Hiroshima” — agreed?

    And the word apocalypse is best left to the imagination not of the toymaker but of the artist:

    dc3bcrer_1498

    Patricia, the gathering storm

    Friday, October 23rd, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — spiral storming in the atmosphere, spiral vertiginous in the mind, inbound ]
    .

    Visual and verbal expressions of computational cognition:

    SPEC Patricia visual verbal

    Which conveys the most, which is most easily grasped, and how much do the models know?

    Sources:

  • Slatest, Patricia, Strongest Hurricane in History, Nears Mexico Landfall
  • Tribune, Forecasters: Patricia is strongest hurricane ever recorded in Western hemisphere
  • **

    Need to know, and why?

    SPEC Patricia need to know

    The zoom in, from need to know to why, exactly?

    Sources:

  • New York Times, Hurricane Patricia: What You Need to Know
  • New Scientist, Did climate change set the scene for hurricanes like Patricia?
  • **

    Cognitive dissonance:

    SPEC Patricia cog diss

    Cognitive dissonance, the human condition — or counterpoint, as understood by Bach and Glenn Gould?

    Sources:

  • NPR, Why Hurricane Patricia Can’t Be Blamed On Climate Change
  • Wired, Thank El Niño and Climate Change for Huge Hurricane Patricia
  • A Sustainable National Security Posture?

    Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

    [ by Charles Cameron — and what about climate change, Mike Mazarr? ]
    .

    Is there even a Cheney-esque one-percent possibility that 97% of climate scientists (NASA’s estimate) are right?
    .


    .

    **

    I just opened up Michael Mazarr‘s NDU Strategy Study Group report, Discriminate Power: A Strategy for a Sustainable National Security Posture. It’s quite far from my usual apocalyptic and more generally religious interests, but he and I once co-led a Y2K scenario role-playing game at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, so I have a friendly interest in what he’s up to.

    What interested me next, though, was the overview to their report that Mazarr and company present in their Introduction. Their purview:

    In the coming decade, the constraints on U.S. foreign and defense policy — fiscal, social, Geopolitical — are likely to intensify. At the same time, the security environment is evolving in ways that pose a more diverse array of risks, threats and opportunities. While foreign threats have dominated national security planning in the past, for example, future wars may more typically involve nontraditional foes and means threatening the homeland. This will change how we perceive and provide for national security, even as we confront new constraints.

    This paper summarizes the work of a study group chartered to assess strategy under austerity for the next ten years. A core conclusion was that the United States is buying systems, forces and capabilities increasingly mismatched to the challenges, threats, and opportunities of the emerging environment. Military power, for example, cannot resolve many of the most complex and pressing challenges we confront — and yet our investments in national security remain vastly over-weighted to military instruments. The most likely threats to the U.S. homeland will come from nontraditional challenges such as biological pathogens, terrorism, cyber, and financial instruments, and yet resources for these issues remain minimal compared to traditional military instruments. At the same time, on our current trajectory, we will end up with a national security establishment dominated by salaries, health care, retirement costs, and a handful of staggeringly expensive major weapons systems. We are spending more and more to get less and less, in terms of relevant tools and influence.

    There’s some ambiguity in here. There’s a segue from “foreign threats” to “future wars” without so much as a hiccup — but the actual threats our National Security strategy will need to address are presented as “nontraditional challenges such as biological pathogens, terrorism, cyber, and financial instruments”.

    That’s a far broader array than “future wars” to be sure — but maybe still within the ambit of “foreign threats”. What I’m interested in, in the present context, however, is climate change. And unless my .pdf search function is deceiving me, I can find no mention of either “climate” or “warming” in the entire report.

    **

    Compare these Remarks by Tom Donilon, National Security Advisor to the President At the Launch of Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy from a month ago:

    The national security impacts of climate change stem from the increasingly severe environmental impacts it is having on countries and people around the world. Last year, the lower 48 U.S. states endured the warmest year on record. At one point, two-thirds of the contiguous United States was in a state of drought, and almost 10 million acres of the West were charred from wildfires. And while no single weather event can be directly attributed to climate change, we know that climate change is fueling more frequent extreme weather events. Last year alone, we endured 11 weather-related disasters that inflicted a $1 billion or more in damages – including Hurricane Sandy.

    Internationally, we have seen the same: the first twelve years of this century are all among the fourteen warmest years on record.

    Or the White House’s National Security Strategy of 2010:

    Climate Change: The danger from climate change is real, urgent, and severe. The change wrought by a warming planet will lead to new conflicts over refugees and resources; new suffering from drought and famine; catastrophic natural disasters; and the degradation of land across the globe. The United States will therefore confront climate change based upon clear guidance from the science, and in cooperation with all nations — for there is no effective solution to climate change that does not depend upon all nations taking responsibility for their own actions and for the planet we will leave behind.

    And given what WSJ SWJ calls the Obama administration’s strategic shift to the East — what about Navy Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III?

    America’s top military officer in charge of monitoring hostile actions by North Korea, escalating tensions between China and Japan, and a spike in computer attacks traced to China provides an unexpected answer when asked what is the biggest long-term security threat in the Pacific region: climate change.

    Harvard’s 2012 Climate Extremes: Recent Trends with Implications for National Security report?

    Or the Council for Foreign Relations report, Climate Change and National Security: An Agenda for Action — from 2007?

    **

    I know, the CIA has (quietly) closed its Center on Climate Change and National Security, although as the NYT’s Green blog told us:

    Todd Ebitz, a C.I.A. spokesman, said that the agency would continue to monitor the security and humanitarian challenges posed by climate change as part of its focus on economic security, but not in a stand-alone office.

    But if you’re still interested, take a look at The Center for Climate & Security’s page On the Record: Climate Change as a Security Risk According to U.S. Administration Officials.

    Their list is far more comprehensive than mine.

    Okay. I know Mazarr’s report will have been written to fulfill certain criteria, specified or unspecified, and I’m not the one who set them — but isn’t climate change a part of the context that would need to be addressed, if “how we perceive and provide for national security, even as we confront new constraints” is the topic under discussion?


    Switch to our mobile site