Friday, March 11, 2016

Friday Night Star Light Theatre -OR- On Umbral and Penumbral Shadows

The awesomeness of the Milky Way as seen above Chimborazo in Ecuador.

This image was taken by astronomer and photographer Stéphane Guisard of The World At Night (TWAN) endeavor, and it is one of three featured in this 2/25/2016 APOD "highest, tallest, and closet" composite, image the significance of which is explained there.

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Friday night posting.

Once again, I am woefully lacking in images to post -- topically relevant or otherwise -- and so I'll just be winging it. Once again, I am keen on having a political-themed entry, more or less. And once again, I don't want to sit at home frickin' blogging for hours when it is a Friday night and I can be out at one of my usual D.C. bar haunts.

Right now, though, I'm also making some dinner so I have some time to post an entry.


I just got back from the Hair Cutter (the one on Connecticut Ave. at R Street that, as I understand it, is the only one in D.C. proper). The same lady -- M. -- cut my hair as she did last time.

I get a no. 3 razor cut on top and no. 2 cut on the sides. It's sort of like shearing a sheep what with how thick and abundant my graying hair is and how intrinsically coarser it is since I was a young man.

What I lack in height or really anything else, I make up for in hair, except I can't do anything with it except keep it short otherwise I look extra stupid and extra older.

I mean, I get the fact that I look like an ashen gray leprechaun, but when my hair bushes out, "Eurfo" style, I look even worse.

M. is an elderly lady originally from North Carolina with a really thick, old-school accent, but she has lived in Maryland for many years and worked for the Hair Cuttery "all (her) life."

There was a time I didn't want her to cut my hair owing to a haircut I perceived as bad but that was probably just because there isn't much I can do with my hair.

She told me about the Brothers Ratner that own the Hair Cuttery and other entities such as Bubbles, Salon Plaza, and ColorWorks (and that she personally knows). (I went to Bubbles on K Street once some years ago and received a crap haircut from the wife of a former friend and for which I paid the full price and still tipped her, but that's another story.)

Anyway, M. gave me the kind of haircut that I wanted and did a nice job shampooing and all that, so I'm good for about another month.


Changing subjects ...

I had a busy day at work as I continue to plow through the annual reports for a six year period of a series of major investor-owned utilities to find out info on grid modernization and smart grid activities. This really snowballed into a large project.

As for my work situation, we received word that 401k contributions are being made again -- by which I mean the employee ones (not the employer match -- those won't be coming for quite some time, if ever).

Those had stopped a few months ago owing to severe cash flow problems.

This is a good thing because I am still paying back a loan to myself from Oct. 2012, and while it would be ha ha funny to say I am default to myself, the IRS wouldn't find that funny for 2012 taxable income purposes.

That is, I would have to redo my 2012 taxes and count the loan as taxable income.

At this point, we have had an infusion of cash to allow for basic operations -- including payroll to be met -- but it is very touch-and-go. There aren't supposed to be any additional layoffs for the time being. My own situation, while fine for the moment, still relies on my client billability (the press release writing stuff is over and done with).

For lunch today, I went with a co-worker (and new friend), Jonathan, to the little Ruby Tuesday in Rosslyn not far from our office. It was actually quite a good meal. As for yesterday, as planned, I had lunch with my mom at Thunder Grill at Union Station and that was very nice too.

Finn seated at the table wearing what looks like an ascot.
 
Chris sent me this picture of Finn taken last Sunday.

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For tonight, I am probably go to Floriana grotto bar and then Trade. Tomorrow afternoon is my usual gym visit. For Sunday, my friend Chester is coming into the city to meet me.

The weather tonight is pleasant and tranquil with temperatures right now about 60F under mostly clear skies. It was a cooler day today after a second day in row on Thursday of record March heat that included record daily highs at all three regional airport climate stations: 79F at KDCA (old record 78F set in 2006), 80F at KBWI (old record 77F in 2006 and 1964), and 80F at KIAD (old record 78F in 2006).

The trees are starting to show signs of stirring to life -- buds swelling -- and soon my allergies will be kicking into high gear. The blossoming trees are starting to come out and soon the goddamn Yoshino cherry blossoms will flower. (They annoy me because of all the hullaballoo around them, OK? I much prefer the Kwanzan cherry blossoms.)

Kwanzan cherry blossoms.

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Hopefully, we will get some rain in here over the weekend.

Of note, California has been getting good rains and mountain snows, but it really isn't making a dent in the long-term mega-drought there.

The Southern California (VTX) NWS radar loop in standard base mode reflectivity, 1213 to 1247PM PST March 11, 2016.

This image loop shows a line of thunderstorms approaching the L.A. area from offshore. The KCQT and KLAX observations show that 0.52 and 0.54 inches of rain, respectively, fell today in the showers. (I tried to look up some beach-cams in Southern California to see this line of t-storms approach, but different sites tried to force me to watch a goddamn 30-second ad every time the image updated.

This is the kind of world that Wall-P helps enforce through telecom legal stoogery.

"Eh. Eh. Eheheh. Anyone who would view content for free on the internet necessarily enters into a legally binding contractual arrangement whereby the provider of said content receives remuneration through one of several mechanisms including advertisements --"

Ohhhh, shut-up, Wall-P, you vulgar little stooge-bot.

One other weather (climate) related matter:

NOAA reports that it was the warmest winter on record for the Lower 48 states while Alaska had its second warmest on record.

Mean temperature departures for the Lower 48 United States for 2015 - 2016 climatological winter period (i.e., December 1, 2015 - February 29, 2016) as measured against the 1901 - 2000 base period.

I actually got this image from the Climate Central article about the findings. It is modified to put the information on top.

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And in keeping in tandem with that, NOAA also reports that the annual average increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide as measured at its Mauna Loa Observatory was the greatest in the 56-year record: +3.05ppm to 402.59 for the February 2016 average.

Monthly mean CO2 as measured at the Mauna Loa Observatory, early 2012 - early 2016, ESRL, NOAA.

As for this image, I retrieved it from this article because the ESRL/NOAA site refuses to cooperate. That article gives a slightly different figure of +3.76ppm to 404.02 between Feb. 2015 and Feb. 2016.

(Yes, the article is by Chris and Brady. Let's not even get into that topic.)

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Meanwhile, little Marco Dummo Fucko Rubio -- the worst sort of tool of the donor class -- continues to parrot the GOP party line about anthropogenic climate change. I'm praying he really is politically wiped out on Tuesday so that he can drop out or just go away (although God only knows how the Republican primary process will conclude).

However, I don't want to make this a political-themed entry. Instead, I'm going to try to post a second entry tonight -- the political-themed one that I had intended to post the other day. However, don't be surprised if I am just not able to do it.

Instead, I'll end with this ...

The Moon's umbral and penumbral shadows sweep across the western tropical Pacific during the March 8 -9, 2016 solar eclipse.

This image was taken by the Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) aboard the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR), and it is today's APOD.

(Recall that the eclipse began on March 9th and ended on March 8th local time because it transited the International Date Line.)

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OK, that's all for now.

--Regulus

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