Saturday, May 23, 2015

About those Mysterious Bright Spots on Asteroid Belt Dwarf Planet Ceres: "Fascinating ..."

The best photo yet of those mysterious bright spots on dwarf planet Ceres as captured by the Dawn space probe just 4,500 kilometers above the pock-marked surface of this just-barely-spherical world-let.

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Ceres is the largest asteroid -- and a dwarf planet -- in the Solar System's Asteroid Belt with a mean radius of approximately 476 kilometers, an equatorial radius of just a touch over 487 kilometers, and a polar radius of just under 455 kilometers. All three of these figures are estimates with error bars of about 2 kilometers.

This is a close-up of the spots taken by Dawn on May 4, 2015. The probe was about twice as far away (8,500 miles) from Ceres than in the lead image, but this is zoomed-in close-up.

There is a real complexity to the shapes of these bright spots.

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What exactly are these spots? Possibly reflective water ice, possibly salt, some other physical phenomenon, or just possibly the lights of some alien civilization's beacon (OK, that last one is rather unlikely). At the end of the day, they still remain a mystery.

NASA offers you the chance TO VOTE on what you think those bright spots are! The assumption is that it is some material reflecting sunlight, but the cause is one of six possibilities: a volcano, geyser, rock, water ice, salt deposit, or an unspecified something else.

Whatever they are, as the late, great Leonard Nimoy's Spock would have said, "Fascinating ..."

--Regulus

Friday, May 22, 2015

To My Dear Little Blog (and my one or two actual readers) ...

Morning at the corner of 15th and U Streets NW, Washington, D.C., 9:29AM May 20, 2015.

It was really quite a lovely morning -- cool and breezy and just after a decent rainfall. The air temperature was about 64F and the dew point about 44F, and there was a refreshing northwesterly breeze. The rain-washed blue sky was especially lovely, and the newly "leafed out" trees a verdant, vibrant green.

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Dear Little Blog (and my one or two actual readers, as opposed to Google image searches and all those bizarre hits I get from .ru addresses):

I'm sorry for the lack of meaningful updates this week.

I'm just having a really hard time updating you this week. As you know, my entries tend to be rather complex -- indeed, convoluted -- and seldom is there a "simple" post. The topics wander to and fro and entries invariably turn out to be quite lengthy.

There are so many things in the world that I want to discuss, but on the other hand, I don't want this blog to be a wellspring of negativity (given how negative things are in the larger world). Even leaving aside the negativity, just talking about any particular topic becomes quite an involved matter -- with the need for pictures (not always topically related) to break up the text, fact-checking, links, etc.

It's just a heavy lift to keep you up-to-date and filled with great content all the time, by which on a daily basis. Then I feel very guilty when I don't update you since I do in fact want to post meaningful and engaing entries daily. The main problem, of course, is the lack of time, since the only real time I have to post entries during the week is between 10PM and 2AM, which itself (as I'm sure you understand) is problematic.

All that aside, I'll try to post some additional entries over the weekend.

My sincerest apologies, my dear little blog (and my one or two actual readers),

--Regulus

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A Quick Interim Update -OR- Briefly Smelling the Blog Roses

Yours truly, Richard Todaro, smelling the roses (literally) at the edge of the Enid Haupt Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., 6:23PM May 20, 2015.

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I haven't forgotten to update this blog. I just haven't had the time to do so. It's often rather vexing to do so given the level of effort it requires. Anyway, I'll try to post a new entry tomorrow morning or, alternatively and more likely, tomorrow night.

Things are fine, although my would-be entry that I didn't post is kind of pissy DESPITE the fact I had a nice past three nights -- two featuring good gym workouts (Monday night at the Anthony Bowen YMCA and last night at the National Capital YMCA) and one (tonight) featuring a terrific post-work evening out with Andrea at two places I've not before visited but quick liked both: Bistro D'Oc and Brick & Mortar -- and despite the fact that things are presently good at work.

The 2100 block of 15th Street NW, Washington, D.C., 1:14PM May 17, 2015.

I took this picture on Sunday. It was rather warm and humid. Today's (May 20th) weather was quite lovely with cool temps. -- highs only 74F in D.C. and dew points around 45F, so quite dry -- and a northerly / northwesterly breeze. It was all the better given the recent, needed rainfall.

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Again, I'll try for a new entry tomorrow. Right now, I need to go to sleep.

--Regulus

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Daytime Sunlight and Warmth Morphs Into a Nighttime Tropical Deluge -OR- Springtime in the Capital of the Empire: An Ongoing Series

**Updated 12:24AM 5/20/2015: See bottom of entry.**

Cumulus congestus (or possibly cumulonimbus) clouds billowing into the bright blue sky as seen from L'Enfant Promenade, Washington, D.C., 1:35PM May 18, 2015.

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I am exceedingly tired tonight. More on that topic in a bit. However, first let me note that tonight ended up being very wet across the entire Baltimore / Washington area with drenching thunderstorms including a monsoon-like squall that crossed the immediate D.C. area in the past hour in what resembled a sort of tropical-like "snow squall" in terms of how the torrents of rain appeared. Also, the storms weren't severe -- just drenching -- with lightning mostly confined to cloud-to-cloud.

The Sterling (LWX) NWS radar in enhanced base mode reflectivity at 10:38PM EDT May 18, 2015.

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The air mass is quite tropical and unstable but with a 500mb ridge overhead and a cold front well to the west so this all makes sense. It was 77F air temp. and 71F dew point at the 11PM hour at KDCA, which, by the way, did NOT miss tonight's storm.

I don't have the daily totals yet but they were easily in the 1/2" to 1" inch range across most places and, in fact, the Baltimore area had more like 1 to 3 inches and there are flash flood warnings in effect. The KDCA metar on the Weather Underground site shows 0.67" in the past hour, which is on top of the 0.06" that fell earlier this evening. Tonight's rainfall should erase most of the monthly deficits at two of the three regional climate stations (KDCA and KIAD). (KBWI is not in deficit.)

The Sterling (LWX) NWS radar in enhanced base mode reflectivity at 11:17PM EDT May 18, 2015.

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Temperatures this month remain well above normal with the first 18 days averaging as follows: 71.6F or +7.7F at KDCA; 67.6F or +6.8F at KBWI; and 67.6F or +6.4F at KIAD. This doesn't include today's warm weather that included the second incidence of 90F or better at KDCA (92F). Overnight lows have also been near or even at record low minima.

The Sterling (LWX) NWS radar in enhanced composite mode at 11:08PM EDT May 18, 2015.

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The Sterling (LWX) discussion earlier tonight (8:53PM) stated the following:

A WARM AND HUMID AIRMASS IS IN PLACE ACROSS THE MID-ATLANTIC TONIGHT. SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS HAVE BEEN ONGOING UNDER A 500MB RIDGE. INSTABILITY IS HIGH ACROSS MUCH OF THE REGION WITH ML CAPE 1K-2K J/KG. THE SHEAR IS STILL VERY LOW DUE TO THE UPPER LEVEL RIDGE AND THEREFORE THUNDERSTORMS HAVE NOT BEEN SEVERE. MOST STORMS HAVE BEEN INITIATING ON OUTFLOW BOUNDARIES AND MOVING SLOWLY DUE TO THE WEAK STEERING FLOW. HEAVY RAIN CONTINUES TO BE THE MAIN THREAT TONIGHT WITH PWATS AROUND 1.8 INCHES. LUCKILY STEERING FLOW IS WESTERLY SO STORMS HAVE BEEN PROGRESSING BUT SLOWLY.

The Sterling (LWX) NWS radar in enhanced composite mode at 11:30PM EDT May 18, 2015.

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From my 5th floor apt. window looking west and southwest, I can see jets are again taking off from National (upriver take off tonight), so the weather-related ground stop there has been lifted.

I will admit that I wasn't really following the weather situation earlier and when I got home from work, it just sort of looked like another one of those "warm season" Eastern Seaboard evenings when -- after thunderstorms formed but really didn't impact my immediate area (as in, where I happen to be) -- the sky just appears to be clearing and its all over. However, while at the gym, I noticed it had been raining outside and then when I walked the short way home, it started again and was a tropical warm, rainy night of a sort I hadn't anticipated.

The view from my apartment during a nighttime thunderstorm looking at the intersection of 16th and U Streets and New Hampshire Avenue, Washington, D.C., 11:22PM May 18, 2015.

Yes, my flip-open cell phone camera isn't the greatest.

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Speaking of the gym, I'm quite glad I went tonight. I felt like shit all day -- indeed, when I posted my morning entry, I didn't realize just how badly I felt or how much I had overdone it at another Larry's Lounge Sunday night "coda" to a weekend that already included too much drinking. I didn't think I was going to be able to do my workout, in particular the treadmill jog, but I did (all 6.54 miles) and it made me feel substantially better. The weightlifting part was so-so. I also went into the pool for about 15 minutes. Milan was there and I talked to him. However, Fred was not there tonight.

Cirrus clouds -- tufts and wisps -- above Bethesda, Md., 5:16PM May 17, 2015.

I was with Quill as we were leaving American Tap Room. I was thinking a lot about her today and had a series of text exchanges.

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I'm going to end this entry now without having actually posted what I intended to: links to and excerpts of two of Paul Krugman's most recent New York Times op-ed pieces plus some of his blog entries. I'm just too tired to do so. I'll try tomorrow night. They should be must-reads, especially for Fred Hiatt and his Washington Consensus of "Very Serious People" who facilitated what happened. The pieces are why Duncan Black of Eschaton Blog appropriately calls Prof. Krugman by the name "Krgthulu."

Instead, I'll just post the links embedded in the titles and with their dates:

Fraternity of Failure (May 15, 2015)

Errors and Lies (May 18, 2015)

Blinkers and Lies (May 16, 2015)

I may return to talk about these in more detail.

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Towering trees along the Capital Crescent Trail around mile marker 6 in what is unincorporated Bethesda, Md., 6:01PM May 17, 2015.

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OK, that's all for now. I'll update this entry (probably tomorrow night) with the final precipitation stats for May 18th and month / year to date totals and departures for the usual three suspect sites.

Updated 12:24AM 5/20/2015:

Rather than posting a full precipitation stat set for the 3 airports and the Maryland Science Center in this entry, I'll just include the May 18th daily totals (and have a general update another time). They were as follows: KDCA: 0.76 inches; KBWI 1.54 inches (daily record); KIAD: 0.38 inches; and KDMH: 2.42 inches.*

*KDMH does not a full 30-year "average" data set as yet.

This CWG entry discussed how much rain fell and graphically shows regional radar rainfall estimates as well as changes in the May monthly deficits area-wide between the 18th and 19th.

End of update and of entry.

-Regulus

Monday, May 18, 2015

After the Weekend -OR- Just a Brief Monday May Morning Update

The Capital Crescent Trail right by the Dalecarlia Tunnel (behind me in this picture), Montgomery County, Md., 6:07PM May 17, 2015.

This is near Sibley Hospital and the D.C. line.

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This is a genuinely quick morning entry just to replace the lead entry.

Yesterday, I took a bike ride on a route similar to the one last Sunday -- Silver Spring to Bethesda on the Georgetown Branch Trail -- and thence on the Capital Crescent Trail back into D.C. I also had a really nice lunch with Quill at American Tap Room. Once back in D.C., I did what I always do: Go to a bar. I went to No. 9, where I actually had a really enjoyable conversation with bartender Jose (who was not working) and his partner. Later, I went to Larry's Lounge, where it was the usual Sunday night show.

I'm trying to get my workweek started. I have a big editing assignment to do today (another chapter in a multi-part series).

This is a stretch of East-West Highway, Silver Spring, Md., 3:17PM May 17, 2015.

This is near the north cornerstone that I mentioned in a recent entry.

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I'll try to update the blog tonight. I'm probably going to the gym tonight, though I might switch instead with tomorrow.

Lastly, I think I need a new box fan. My current one briefly went off this morning. I simply cannot sleep well without the white noise and moving air. My window air conditioner just doesn't do enough to make up the difference.

--Regulus

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Jukebox Saturday Night Entry for May 16th, 2015: St. Elmo's Fire & Future Husband Edition


Let's start our Jukebox Saturday Night Entry off on a really smooth and relaxing note ...


"Got To Keep Moving" by Nick Colionne from his Influences release (2014)

Nick Colionne has made a lot of good music. I should feature more of his pieces for my "JbSNE" series. Influences is his most recent release.

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Here is something 1980s old-school energetic ...


"St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion)" by John Parr from his soundtrack album to the wonderful movie St. Elmo's Fire (1985)

This was a number 1 hit here in the U.S. (on the Billboard Hot 100 chart) and very popular in a number of other countries.

The lyrics are tremendous in an over-the-top way, especially this stanza:

"I can see a new horizon underneath the blazin' sky! / I'll be where the eagle's flying higher and higher! / Gonna be your man in motion, all I need is a pair of wheels! / Take me where my future's lyin', St. Elmo's fire! / I can climb the highest mountain, cross the wildest sea!" /

"I can feel St. Elmo's fire burnin' in me, burnin' in me!"

By the way, there is a scene at 0:43 that I swear is "Fraternity Row" at UMCP. In fact, I just looked it up and whaddaya know -- it is. That was 7 years before I arrived at UMCP for my unhappy decades of multiple degree-seeking (and attaining) programs, but let's not get into that now. (FYI: I was once a staff writer for The Diamondback.)

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Finally, this is another Meghan Trainor piece that I've been meaning to post both for the song and the video accompanying it ...


"Dear Future Husband" by Meghan Trainor from her recent album entitled, yes, Title (2015)

I really like Meghan Trainor. As for this video, all the attractive boys featured it in would be the perfect gay husband for her. Ha ha

--Regulus

The Saturday Evening Post for May 16th, 2015: Hanging with the Straight 20-Somethings (and Some Other Stuff)

**This entry was posted May 16, 2015. / Updated 10:38AM May 17, 2015 (see below).**

The intersection of New Hampshire Avenue and 15th Street NW and the grounds of the Wakefield Hall building, 6:26PM May 16, 2015.

It was raining heavily at this point and that "whoosh" blur was from a rain drop.

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As a brief update ...

Yesterday, after work I went solo to the Black Rooster for a couple drinks (glasses of wine) and a bit of dinner before walking home. Later, I had drinks with Fred at Annie's and then Floriana. I walked home -- only to go back out and do something very unusual: I biked up to Petworth (a section of D.C. that I NEVER visit) to meet Natan and his fellow 20-something friends and fiancée at DC Reynolds.

The bar at the Black Rooster Pub, Washington, D.C., 6:11PM May 15, 2015.

My first glass was a Merlot and my second was a Zinfandel. The bartender -- a nice older lady -- gave me the wrong kind for my second glass. I pointed it out to her. She looked at me and asked if I had sipped any. I looked at her. She took the glass and drank a swig and declared, "I needed that."

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However, they were actually next door at The Looking Glass Lounge. We had spirits drinks and a few shots of Jameson. My "Irish goodbye" and related attempt to ride home on my bicycle were stopped cold by Julia, and I was put into a taxi cab. (Natan and Julia are leaving for their summer-long cross-country vacation including a 300+ mile hike on the John Muir Trail, all of which is to be chronicled here.)

My bike is (hopefully) still locked outside The Looking Glass Lounge where I put it. I'll attempt retrieve it tomorrow in the context of a planned bike ride and lunch with Amy in Bethesda.

The 1600 block of 19th Street NW, Washington, D.C., 6:36PM May 14, 2015.

I was walking to the Hair Cuttery (avoiding Connecticut Avenue).

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I went to the gym today and just finished my laundry. I'm having dinner in a little while -- possibly meeting another one of my straight 20-something friends: Nick. Later, I probably go to No. 9.

Updated 10:40AM 5/17/2015:

Well, I never met Nick last night for the stated reason that his phone was at 1% of capacity. (In fact, it was more of a misunderstanding on my part on what he wanted to do.)

Instead, I had dinner at Dupont Italian Kitchen (D-I-K) with Fred and then went to Floriana's downstairs bar.

Next, I went to Duke's (housed in what was once the Pop Stop) and found Jamie, amazingly, by himself. We ended up spending the next two hours or so together including at D-I-K upstairs bar where, as ever, it was bad karaoke night. That aside, it was actually a wonderful night.

So there you have it.

End of Update.

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The Sterling (LWX) NWS radar in enhanced base mode reflectivity at 7:08PM EDT May 16, 2015.

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We had a t-storm around 6PM that dropped 1/2 to 3/4 inch of needed rain across the immediate D.C. area. Specifically, KDCA had 0.66" at KIAD had 0.70" while KBWI recorded just 0.17".

OK, that's all for now. Jukebox Saturday Night Entry to follow shortly ...

--Regulus

Friday, May 15, 2015

Sunday Bike Ride Pictures (with Visit to D.C.'s North Cornerstone) and Friday Morning Update (Incl. Recap of Visit to the Old Nat. Cap. YMCA)

Yours truly touching what is the North Cornerstone of the District of Columbia, 4:34PM May 10, 2015.

This is located just off East-West Highway technically in Silver Spring, Maryland (or at least the side on which I was standing). I last visited this boundary stone (one of the original "Federal Territory" 40 and one of the 4 "vertex" ones) just about four years ago and discussed in much more detail in this entry. (I think I look better hand and arm-wise then I did back then.) The pictures in this entry were taken on my Sunday bike ride because although unrelated to the entry, if I don't post them now, I never will.

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The North Cornerstone of the District of Columbia in all its semi-hidden obscurity, 4:34PM May 10, 2015.

To be clear, I had taken my bike on the Metro and got off in Silver Spring rather than Forest Glen because that's where the train I was on ended its run and I didn't feel like waiting 13 minutes for the next train to go one more stop.

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Apologies for lack of update last night.

I had a supplemental gym night -- except it was at the National Capital YMCA where I used to go rather than the Anthony Bowen YMCA -- and then stopped on my way home at Floriana at D's bar for two glasses of wine while watching the "best of" and "bloopers to" The Golden Girls.

Cloud-filled skies above telephone pole and wires, 2400 block of East-West Highway, Silver Spring, Md., 4:41PM May 10, 2015.

East-West Highway has in places a sort of residential side street that parallels the main "highway" and it is kind of confusing.

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I thought I was the only person who knew every darn line to the series (including ones cut out in syndication) but apparently not. Anyway, by the time I got home, made dinner, balanced my checkbook and created a new spreadsheet for the start of the next pay period (today is payday), I was just too tired to post anything.

The house at 2627 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, Md., 4:44PM May 10, 2015.

This is one of the houses that is on the residential street that parallels the main road but has the same name (i.e., East-West Highway). This house intrigued me. I was thinking that Big Y'eyemah and I could live here and we could rent a basement room to the Crazy Cris and he could send me bizarre text messages in a sort of post-modern American version of Upstairs Downstairs soap opera. Of course, this is a more appropriate topic for my other blog that I've yet to "restart" in my planned way.

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As for the National Capital YMCA, I stopped going there regularly in Oct. 2013 during a delayed annual shutdown of the facility because the new Anthony Bowen YMCA was both closer to my apartment and nicer, although the swimming pool is significantly smaller and the facility somewhat more cramped (smaller).

A picture of the National Capital YMCA that I found online.

I'm unsure of date but within the past 10 years given the adjoining structure (which, by the way, belongs to the Washington Catholic Archdioceses).

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Last night, I discovered that the National Capital Y had improved some of its equipment not to mention looked less dingy. And the swimming pool is just much better in terms of size, having a deep end, feeling like a genuine natatorium, etc. I didn't do any jogging but instead spent 47 minutes on one of Precor elliptical machines on the main 5th floor workout room facing the north-side row of windows. (On Wednesday, I had a 7+ mile jog on the treadmill broken up into two segments.)

The Georgetown Branch Trail ("Future Capital Crescent Trail") near mile marker 1.5 in suburban Montgomery County sort of midway between Silver Spring and Bethesda, Md., 4:51PM May 10, 2015.

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I also did some weightlifting and a bit of midsection workout in the 7th floor aerobics studio with its even better view to the north up 17th Street and across the low-to-medium rise building clutter of Dupont Circle. (At the Anthony Bowen YMCA, I typically go into a small, pleasant, but windowless side studio for that if it is available).

American Tap Room, Bethesda, Md., 5:31PM May 10, 2015.

The young bartender / waitress (Jessica) still thought I was just some weird old man no matter how engaging or pleasant I tried to be. Maybe I just do better with male bartenders. Well, no, not always.

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I picked one of the new "Precor" ellipticals (the place wasn't crowded) that gave me a view looking up 17th Street, just slightly east of due north, from which it possible to see the topmost portion of the Hughes Memorial Tower way up off Georgia Avenue almost to Silver Spring. It pokes up above some buildings and through a gap in nearby trees -- in particular, a ginormous elm tree that grows at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and 17th Street where is located the Peruvian Embassy.

I caught the precise minute -- at 8:19PM last night -- when the daytime strobe mode of the tower switched to the nighttime red-winking mode, although it has been red LEDs for a number of years now, not the only slow-flashing sort that created a "rocket ship" pattern on this transmission tower with its distinctive "star tower" shape.

Above: A close-up of the tower taken on a rainy day, March 31, 2013 and posted here. It's so large and stands atop a hill (aeronautical charts show its height as 1,049' MSL, which is the same as two other towers off Nebraska Avenue but it is in a more prominent location) that it is visible from many places around the D.C. area. Gary, who lives near it, and I simply call it "the tower."

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On the big scale in the locker room, I weighed 146.5 pounds, which is still up a few pounds from my minimum since I rejoined the gym back in June 2012, but still down approx. 38 pounds from my heaviest, and because I've easily put on several pounds of muscle, more like 40 pounds of fat.

Oh, and as I mentioned, the pool was nice.

The Potomac River as seen from the Capital Crescent Trail around mile marker 9.5 (near the Key Bridge terminus), Washington, D.C., 6:34PM May 10, 2015.

That would be Virginia on the other side (or as Kristof says, "Vagina"). As an aside, I'm not that a big a fan of the Virginia side of our area.

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OK, that's about all for now. I would like to post a longer entry but I simply don't have the time this morning. In particular, I wanted to mention about the storm system striking Southern California that I discussed in my previous entry, although it looks like rainfall totals are not that impressive for the drought-ravaged state, esp. in the Los Angeles area (well under 1/2" in most places, although anything in May there is unusual.) The radar this morning from San Diego and the larger "Pacific Southwest" composite radar mosaic is unusual:

The NKX (San Diego) NWS weather radar in enhanced base mode reflectivity 6:08AM PDT May 15, 2015.

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The SOX (Santa Ana Mountains) NWS weather radar in enhanced base mode reflectivity 2:29PM May 14, 2015.

This shows moderate rainfall in the immediate Los Angeles area. Of note, not all the NWS radars in this region can "see" over the mountainous terrain, although this time of year, it usually doesn't matter.

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The Pacific Southwest sector composite radar mosaic at 1258UTC (6:58AM PDT) May 15, 2015.

This is actually rainfall offshore of San Diego, not some ginormous marine stratocumulus cloud deck.

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As for here in the Baltimore/Washington area, it continues to be flat and boring and dry -- it's 62F at KDCA at the 9AM hour with a southerly breeze under partly cloudy skies. However, there is a chance of t-storms in the 30 to 50 percent range from Saturday through next Tuesday.

OK, that's all for now. I'm probably not going to post an update tonight but instead will wait until tomorrow (Saturday).

--Regulus

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Weather Update: Delightfully Cooler But Still Quite Dry; Drought-Ravaged California To Get Unusual, Welcome May Rain & Mountain Snow

Sunset as seen from the marina on the Southwest D.C. waterfront of Washington, D.C., May 12, 2015 in an image by Jason Kopp posted on his Facebook account and used in this CWG entry, although I cropped for formatting purposes here.

This was probably taken at the Cantina Marina restaurant. The (silhouetted) Washington Monument is visible poking up on the right. Looking at the image, I feel like I should start singing the Gilligan's Island theme song.

I took a series of sunset picture from this restaurant and posted it in this entry almost one year ago.

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Although we are in a building but as-yet-modest dry spell, as I noted in my previous, bitchy entry, the weather turned dramatically and wonderfully cooler between yesterday and today across the region.

Following an unusual 10-day stretch in May of highs of 80F or greater at National Airport (KDCA) including 90F yesterday (the first of this season, although that temperature was short of the daily record of 93F set in 1914 in the pre-National Airport era), today it only reached 69F during the daytime hours and the weather featured variably cloudy skies and a gusty northwesterly breeze.

To be clear, the KDCA daily high was 72F but that was set shortly after midnight and the daytime hours were in the upper 60s Fahrenheit.

The clouds actually were flatted stratocumulus which gave the sky an almost wintry feel.

BWI Airport (KBWI) reached 69F after reaching 89F the previous day (itself no where near the daily record of 94F set in 1881, again in the pre-airport era). Also, the 69F was recorded just after midnight and most of the afternoon was in the mid-60s Fahrenheit and never got above 68F.

Dulles Airport (KIAD) reached 70F after reaching 87F the previous day (that too did not reach the daily record of 89F set in 1991). And once again, the 70F was set just after midnight with much of the afternoon only in the lower 60s Fahrenheit.

This is a nice picture taken probably from the George Mason span of the multi-span 14th Street Bridge at dusk looking upriver as a series of jets make their final approach into National Airport. The skyline of Rosslyn (Arlington) is nicely illuminated. The bridge visible in the distance is the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge. This picture was taken by Erinn Shirley on May 11, 2015 and posted here on Flickr, although it was also used in this CWG entry.

I can see the skyline of Rosslyn from my apartment near the intersection of 16th and U Streets NW.

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Tonight is a breezy, cool night with lows forecasted to be around 50F even here in the District. I have the window open to let in the welcomingly cool, breezy night air. The wind is rustling through the leafy trees with that wonderful sound. (Of course, when I go to bed, I'll shut the window and put on both my box fan and my window a/c, or at least the blower part.)

Of note, there are widespread frost and freeze warnings in effect across parts of New England, New York state, central and western Pennsylvania, and the lower peninsula of Michigan (i.e., the "Mitten").

The NWS advisories in effect for the Eastern Region of the U.S. as of 1050PM EDT May 13, 2015. The NWS Eastern Region page is available here.

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There is a chance of showers and t-storms for the D.C. area starting on Friday night and running through early next week with POPs ranging from 30% to as high as 50% on Monday and Monday night (at least as of now).

Perhaps the biggest weather news is that drought-ravaged California is forecasted to get an unusual May bout of rain and mountain snows as a cold-core upper level low drops out of the Gulf of Alaska into Western Seaboard, in particular, over California. The coldest core -- as measured by 500mb geopotential height anomalies -- is forecasted to be over Southern California. The CWG has a good entry (link embedded): Rain-starved California is about to get a rare May burst of showers and snow.

The forecasted 500-mb geopotential height anomalies over the western half of the Lower 48 from the 12Z May 13, 2015 GFS valid at hour 54 / 18Z May 15, 2015, in an image prettied up by some outfit called TropicalTidBits.com and posted in the above-linked CWG entry.

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The weather informational graphic issued by the Oxnard / Los Angeles (LOX) NWS Forecast Office early today.

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Of (scary) note, the Sierra snowpack is currently put at 3% of normal. Yes, 3%. The forecasted snowfall should help a bit in places. Looking ahead, the developing strong warm ENSO ("El Niño") event should help the state with above-normal rainfall later this year.

Side-by-side comparison of two NASA satellite images of central California showing the Sierra snowpack -- the right one from May 2, 2003 and the left one on May 10, 2015.

My now-former co-worker and much younger friend, Natan, would certainly like to see some snow in the Sierras for his upcoming cross-country summer adventures that includes a 300+ mile hike on the John Muir Trail (which is partially co-terminus with the much longer Pacific Crest Trail).

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OK, that's all for this entry. I am going to try to post a second entry that features some pictures I took on my Sunday bike ride.

Updated 9:38AM 5/14/2015:

So I never got around to posting another entry last night. It was just too late. As for tonight, the only issue is that one of my office's IT people is supposed to look at my computer owing to some functionality issues following our switch to "cloud-based" Office 365.

As a result, there is a small chance I won't be able to take it home tonight and thus would not be able to post an entry. Indeed, I have to use a different one today at work. Recall I take my laptop home on most nights; I don't actually have a home computer.

OK, I'm heading to work now. It's too damn sunny this morning with no clouds in the sky and the breeze went away.

End of update and of entry.

--Regulus

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Sh!tty Weather Time of Year Arrives -OR- Prelude to Summer 2015 Drought?

A conceptual representation of the average American's intellectual awareness and cultural depth. Either that or the sand dunes of the Namibian desert.

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As a morning weather update, the mid-Atlantic this May has entered a truly shitty pattern with basically no rainfall. The past few days featured some half-assed tropical storm (Ana) off the Southeast coast that pushed into the Tidewater area, and while it put the Baltimore/Washington area in a maritime tropical (mT) of the sort with big puffy clouds, blue skies, and warmth and humidity (highs in the lower 80s F and dew points around 65F, occasionally higher), rather than the usual summer time continent-crossing gunk, there were scant showers / t-storms.

"Average" Americans "tail-gating" and "pre-gaming" before "the big game" at the local high school. "Where can I get a beer? Yeah, man ..."

There was a persistent inversion at night with a ridge overhead and low and mid level moisture trapped beneath it, so it clouded up by the wee hours with a marine stratus deck that subsequently burned off by late morning.

Each day, the chance of precipitation in the forecast kept falling until nothing remained, and God smiled sweetly upon the righteous.

This looks like a place the U.S. might bomb with unmanned drones, except maybe it's too sandy rather than rocky. It would certainly overthrow whatever the country's government if it meant a penny more or "market access" to whatever giant corporation's "free market" interest.

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Today will feature a shitty cold front passing through dry. Because of "good down-sloping," it will get windy even as it gets sunny and hot with temps. reaching about 90F (it hasn't reached 90F yet this year at the stupid KDCA spot or the other two). I'm sure we'll get one of the "red flag" warnings.

While it will get dramatically cooler -- tomorrow night not reach 70F and overnight lows by Thursday morning could be about 48F even in the District -- it will just be sunny and dry.

Finally, the vicious high will pass offshore by Friday allowing a return flow with warmer and more humid conditions and a chance of t-storms. However, the rotten ECMWF model already has a back-ass, I mean, back-door cold front dropping into the area so that Sunday is "fair." The operational 0Z GFS doesn't show this, but the rule is ANY model run that shows the D.C. area getting nothing is ALWAYS the correct one.

The Capital Weather Gang and Sterling crews, the Palka-Cabra Creature, and all the Usual Suspects love their frickin' heat, sunshine, and nothing weather, so that's all there is to say about it. We are rapidly dropping off into precipitation deficits and soon will be in a drought, and I hate this area this time of year.

Of course, that doesn't mean I want to move to most other unlivable parts of the country.

If I'm really lucky, I can move to Alabama and live in a gated community with my 360-pound wife and our children, Taylee and Waylee.

Both are, of course, autistic and very special. And we have 14 television sets in the house and 10 i-Whatevers that are on at all times. And we're "concerned citizens" and "helicoptering parents" in our hellish booboisie world without end, Amen. We're always in an appropriate frenzy based upon whatever suitably vendible and commodified garbage and hysteria the local media/entertainment complex -- itself an arm of the larger Conservative Entertainment Complex -- subjects us.

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Basically, I'm just stuck until the end of the summer season for anything good weather-wise to happen. Looking forward to those torporific summer evenings when the smell of shit wafts up from the sewers across D.C. Oh, and the Atlantic Ocean is basically worthless as a source of any rainfall.

Due to the weather, Jesus is temporarily unable to save at Walmart.

--Regulus