Wednesday, September 17, 2008

In transit

I'm moving to Wordpress for some new tools. Please update your bookmarks.
I have a post already up on glossolalia; it's fun.

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Well, the LHC will go hot tomorrow! You can watch it live here:
Live webcast
Now for some fun updates
First (.Y.)
Sorry, I had to, but seriously POOR PENGUIN!
This too
And this
Also this
And finally:

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Very funny video

So, I've found this video on youtube showing the "amazing" things they're doing have been researched?
For the "speaking in tongues" thing:
"In 2006, at the University of Pennsylvania, researchers, under the direction of Andrew Newberg, MD, completed the world’s first brain-scan study of a group of individuals while they were speaking in tongues. The study concluded that while participants were exercising glossolalia, activity in the language centers of the brain actually decreased, while activity in the emotional centers of the brain increased. During this study, researchers observed significant cerebral blood flow changes among individuals while exercising glossolalia, concluding that the observed changes were consistent with some of the described aspects of glossolalia. Further, the researchers observed no changes in any language areas, suggesting that glossolalia is not associated with usual language function."
Just watch, you too will be on the floor, perhaps from laughter!

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Friday, September 5, 2008

Gustav Progress Report

Part 1: New Orleans isn't all there is in Louisiana!
I have a bit of a rant. Most people I've spoken with seem to think the hurricane wasn't that bad because New Orleans is fine. Au contraire! Here's a map of who is without power CURRENTLY in Louisiana that are normally supplied by Entergy. This is five days without power, some of them still aren't allowed back to their homes (Terrebonne parish) and some aren't expected to get power until October 1st (Donaldsonville). In the event you are one of the few that considers New Orleans the only major city in Louisiana, perhaps I can put it into perspective. Peak power outages for the state of Louisiana provided by Entergy numbered around 1 million. Other companies (SLEMCO and CLECO) also had many power outages (100,000 and 200,000 respectively). So this means that in total, almost 1.3 million people were affected. Of the 1.3 million affected, just over 500,000 are still without power. That's more than the number affected by Katrina in Louisiana STILL WITHOUT POWER FIVE DAYS LATER! Katrina caused 400,000 power outages in Louisiana; 1.3 million outages in Florida. So, if you think Katrina was bad for us, let's put some perspective on things.
Part 2: Government response
Whatever dumbasses are trying to spin this as an effective government response can kiss my white ass. While it is certainly far better than what it was after Katrina, I must explain my point. The city services are still nonexistent in Baton Rouge, Lafayette has just gotten some services back. Many cities still have very little water pressure due to a lack of fuel for generators which supply water. Food and drinking water take hours of waiting in line to get and they request that you don't park and block other vehicles. This means that you burn more fuel sitting there doing NOTHING waiting while the National Guard loads up people in front of you. Fuel takes hours of waiting in line (so you burn a tank of fuel waiting to get a tank of fuel) to get because only a few gas stations have generators to pump gas. Trees are still down across many streets!
Part 3: What worked
The Red Cross gets major points from me on this one, they have been doing wonders handing out food and water. Far better, I might add, than the agencies assigned EXCLUSIVELY to do that. You know this agency, FEMA, supposed to stand for "Federal Emergency Management Agency," I think it stands for "forget expecting meaningful answers" or "find external means of assistance." I think this FEMA would do a better job. Those asshats couldn't manage an emergency shit, they just watch. They botched Katrina which lead to deaths, they're botching this one which is only going to result in many people suffering without any means of cooking, bathing, or keeping cool in the wonderfully hot Louisiana summer. At least some organizations have been doing decently in helping out Louisiana. Have I mentioned the Red Cross is awesome? Seriously, donate to them, or at least volunteer for a weekend, donate blood, something. Lamar also donating tarps and using their electronic signs to post emergency messages. Major kudos to them.
Part 4: Midterm grades!
Since we're still lagging on the recovery effort in many places, I can't call this a final grade just yet, but it's not looking good for some, others, it looks pretty good.
Electric companies: 50% overall (scaled by customers)
Slemco: 85% B Took them a few days to get most people up and running, but they had some serious damage to their lines that I saw, most of the pictures of downed lines are Slemco lines.
Cleco: 70% C They still have some work to do, but they're not doing too poorly
Entergy: 40% F For a major electrical company with hundreds of repair crews and hundreds more crews from around the country here to help, they can't manage to get power to more than 50% of their customers in 5 days? Seriously, 5 days is way too long for anyone to be without a means of cooking, bathing, or keeping cool. At 75%, people stand a pretty good chance of having friends with electricity where they can go, but at 50%, it's unlikely.

Government: 60% D-- They completely failed for Katrina, this response may not result in as many deaths from governmental lack of response.

Private companies: 90% A These companies aren't required to help, but many of them that are capable of helping are doing so. For that, we greatly appreciate it. Thanks.

Police and National Guard: 70% C Not a complete failure, but some of the representatives of these agencies could be a bit more assistant when it comes to problems. For example, closing down one of the few fuel stations because the lines were blocking traffic DOES NOT HELP MATTERS! All this does is shift the lines to other fuel stations which ALREADY have similar lines, so you are making it worse. Not only that, the individuals which were sent to close said fuel station were quite rude and unhelpful.

I spent the better part of 4 days cleaning yards, cutting trees, and helping family, tomorrow, I go to help my girlfriend who is also one of the people without power.

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Time for an experiment!

You know, I was reading a comic and came across a pretty cool idea for an experiment, I was just wondering how I could possibly get funding and lab space to do it. It's after the fold...

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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The best of the worst!

This was right before the eye passed over us, the winds were starting to die down and the rain pretty much stopped. You can see how flooded the field across the street is.

This is where I watched the heaviest part of the storm from, you can see limbs down and the flooding here as well.

The ground was so saturated that by the time the eye passed us, when I walked outside, I sunk ankle deep in mud. That is why the video I posted previously was on the north side of the house, I didn't sink when I tried walking out, although the other side had a much better view of the other side of the eye wall.

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More pictures

This is what happens to a van when a transformer falls on it.

Here's a partial view of a house with a tree ALMOST on top of it, you may not be able to tell, but that tree is being suspended by power lines.
I somehow don't think that fence did much good keeping the trees out of the house...

This is the front of the local high school (which had a collapse due to structural failure).

This gas station has the roof of the awning removed completely.

BIG tree knocked over, I think it was hit by lightning prior to this storm, though.

Trees block many of the side streets...

Power lines running across the yard, and a tree almost fell on this house.

This is that same house with another two trees nearly missing again.

I don't think anyone will be going in or out of that driveway any time soon.

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Hurricane damage photos!

In case you can't really tell, all four of that car's tires are off the ground.

This is part of the reason why power is out over most of south Louisiana.

Here's another part of the reason.

Since power is out, lots of people with generators need fuel... and most fuel stations can't pump fuel because THEY don't have generators, so the few that do look like this (we found two fuel stations with gas).

This store had the top peeled off much like a sardine can. I guess the employees finally have that sunroof they wanted...

This just illustrates how strong the winds were, that sign is supposed to be vertical....

That WAS a Taco Bell sign. Also, wind wasn't coming directly at this sign, it was flowing from left to right and then from right to left.

Another telephone pole snapped like a toothpick.

One of the numerous uprooted trees.

A short little clip from the eye!
Going take more pictures now, back later.

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Monday, September 1, 2008

I'm back!

The worst has passed, I will probably be able to post pictures tonight

This mobile text message is brought to you by Jared!

UPDATE 9/3/08: I hate AT&T for affixing an advertisement on a text message that I pay for, fucking bastards. Anyway, I'm alive, I have internet, so my next post will be photos, lots of them!

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Blogging by cell phone!

It seems we're getting 75 mph gusts with 60 sustained. Flooding.

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Monday afternoon

1:00 PM
I'm now going to give you a vicarious experience of a hurricane which is unlike what you see on the news, be prepared!

These two trees will probably be permanently bent after this, winds are constant at around 35 mph with gusts in excess of 70 mph.

The hurricane is currently 60 miles to my southeast moving at 14 mph northwest. Current winds are around 105 mph. It's anticipated to be directly over us by 8:00 PM Central Time. I'll be taking photos throughout, but pending internet, they may not be uploaded.

If I still have internet at that time, I'll be posting pictures, otherwise, I'll be writing up a report to post when I do get internet again.
Winds picked up again, constant speed is near 40 mph with frequent gusts to 70 and occasional gusts near 80.
Well, sustained winds are going to be climbing rather rapidly, my girlfriend just sent me a photo which I will be uploading shortly. She said her sustained winds are in the 80 mph range. We're now in the 50+ range and it will reach 70+ mph sustained in the next 3 hours.
Here's here photo


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Monday morning...

Well, I'm awake, we keep getting these little bursts of rain and a steady wind of 20 mph is blowing from the northeast. The forecast has it ranging from passing directly over us to not even making landfall. All of the models take it directly over us, though. The clouds are moving considerably faster than they were yesterday and the hurricane is projected for landfall in about four or five hours. A few of the frogs from last night are still out and seven small birds, not sure of the species, are sitting on the powerline. The birds were flying into the wind from the south, they didn't really have much in the way of ground speed...
Winds are gusting to about 30 mph pretty frequently.
I'm going to see if I can't get any good pictures.
Winds are gusting to 30 mph with a constant 22 mph breeze. It feels really nice outside, not too hot, nice wind, it's fairly pleasant with the exception of the sense of impending doom...
Clouds are moving pretty rapidly across the sky, not sure at what speed ,but they traverse from directly above me to at 45 degrees in a little under 2 minutes. It's somewhat creepy.
Anyway, the reason I started this post is to bitch and moan about the news agencies constantly talking about "how bad Katrina was" and "how long it took to recover from Katrina." These folks haven't a clue. The parts of New Orleans that you would actually want to go to were fine within a year after that particular storm. What made Katrina so bad wasn't the storm itself, it was the stupidity of our leadership. Thankfully they learned from their mistakes, but that doesn't mean these leaders are intelligent, just means they don't want to commit political suicide. One news guy said that "Baton Rouge will be fine if the levees hold"---WHAT THE FUCK!?!?! The levees of Baton Rouge are for the Mississippi River; now, in the event you are not familiar with storm surge, rainfall, and the size of the river, let me explain why that was a retarded statement.
1) Nearly all of Baton Rouge is located above the water level of the river
2) The only way for the river levees to overtop would require massive amounts of rainfall
3) The levees in New Orleans broke because the water level from the storm surge was way above normal and water began flowing over the top and eroding the dirt on the back side.
4) The Mississippi River in Baton Rouge can be 15 feet above normal and still have ample room to rise.
5) The levee that broke in New Orleans was for a canal, not the river.

OK, enough of my rant, now for photos

10:15 AM
We're now in the first arms of the hurricane. it's not too bad yet, raining at rate of 1/2 inch per hour, but climbing. Winds are sustained at 25 mph with gusts to 35 mph and higher. All of the computer models have the center of the eye passing 10 miles south of me in 10 hours, which means we will get the weather to the north and east (the worst parts of the storm). It's also beginning to slow, it's currently only moving at 14 mph as opposed to the 19 mph it was moving yesterday.
My girlfriend just called to tell me she lost power and they'll be starting up the generator soon (that's one of the generators I set up). She's just south of Baton Rouge. She was going to send me pictures as well, but I suppose I'll have to put them up later. In any event, it's still raining at about the same rate, winds have picked up slightly and the clouds are moving slightly faster. The frogs are still safely tucked into the corners on the porch and no trees have turned into javelins yet. Current relative position of the eye of the storm is due 40 miles south of Baton Rouge which is 60 miles to my east. This means the storm is about 70 miles southeast of me and moving towards me at 14 mph. This means 2 hours or so until it begins getting really nasty.
My location is centered on this map.

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