Thursday, May 9, 2013

D.C. Pyramid and Rainfall Schemes; Jonathan Chait on Niall Ferguson's Gay Stimulus Package

Updated at 9:06AM 5/9/2013: See below.

The U.S. Capitol dome gleaming white as seen from a little over a mile away and set on an ominous backdrop of the dark base of towering cumulus / cumulonimbus clouds. This is the view next to the Aerospace Building off L'Enfant Promenade, Washington, D.C., 2:46PM May 8, 2013.

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Not a whole lot to say tonight ...

I'm home at this late hour watching reruns of The Golden Girls on the Hallmark Channel. Of note, Married, With Children is presently being aired on Antenna TV at 11PM and 1130PM. I love that show.

Here is another view of the U.S. Capitol dome (partially blocked) as seen from the L'Enfant Promenade overpass above the CSX/Amtrak/VRE train line that runs past the Aerospace Building, Washington, D.C., 2:45PM May 8, 2013.

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I went to the gym after work and had a good workout including 5.25 mile / 60 minute jog, a half hour of weight-lifting (on the machines), and a half hour of swimming. Thereafter, I stopped at No. 9 for one beer. Bartender A. was working, and as it was not too busy, I asked and he showed me some of the pictures (the ones he has posted on Facebook) that he took on his recent whirlwind trip to Vietnam, the Philippines, and Thailand.

The Washington Monument presently nearly full encased in a skeletal framework of scaffolding (to repair earthquake damage) as seen from L'Enfant Promenade, Washington, D.C., 2:16PM May 8, 2013. I think the scaffolding is going to reach the aluminum capstone itself with its east-facing Laus Deo inscription.

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BTW, when I walked into No. 9, I saw his profile but his face was blocked from my view, and for a few seconds I thought it was Chris H/u/ron, which was jarring to me. I guess they have the same body morphology.

As for my work day, it was OK. I am slowly trudging through the writing the technology description of another one of the geothermal energy technical working paper series. Earlier this week, and working with my supervisor, I was able to craft a rationale for recommending a reasonable solution to a $25,000 grant compliance issue in a medium-sized Texas town.

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The pyramid is destroyed! Atlantis L'Enfant Plaza is no more being renovated!

Actually, "yesterday's tomorrow" of L'Enfant Plaza is undergoing a giant renovation with a new shopping mall being constructed and a large glass enclosure. However, this meant DESTROYING the landmark of the glass pyramid at the center of L'Enfant Plaza itself. I JUST happened to capture this image at 12:44PM on May 8, 2013 as the glass panels were being shattered and a crowd stood at the fence perimeter taking pictures.

Another view of the glass pyramid at L'Enfant Plaza being pneumatic jackhammered into countless shards of oblivion, Washington, D.C., 12:43PM May 8, 2013.

I had just departed L'Enfant Plaza hotel where I was interviewed for a friend for her security clearance and I saw this. Jarringly, I had told the lady interviewer that the hotel lobby was near the glass pyramid.

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Some "JC" Commentary ...

I would like to post an extended excerpt of Jonathan Chait's Daily Intelligencer blog entry from March 7th concerning the whole bizarre Niall Ferguson episode from last week about how John Maynard Keynes was gay and therefore he didn't care about children or the future and ergo Keynesian economics is somehow wrong.


Chait wrote:

In a speech last weekend, famed historian and blowhard Niall Ferguson assailed Keynesian economics, and Keynes himself. The speech was characteristically Fergusonian in the way it piled misconception upon misconception like a freeway crash. He began with a complete misreading of Keynes's famous quote that "in the long run, we are all dead" -- which is not intended to disparage valuing the future-- and added that Keynes supposedly didn't care about the future because he was gay.

Ferguson, you may note, wrote a splashy Newsweek cover making the case against Barack Obama that was filled from beginning to end with falsehoods and intellectual sleights of hand. The Newsweek episode was interesting in that it highlighted Ferguson's place in the political culture -- a debonair, erudite, witty buffoon expounding a moral worldview with deep attraction to business elites.

Ferguson views debt as a moral issue, and thus despises Keynes, and Obama, for treating it as a macroeconomic tool rather than a symbol of virtue.

There is always a place for superstition-riddled fulminations against immoral debt. But there isn't much of a place anymore for such fulminations served with a side of gay-bashing. (Or, at least, that place is grubbier and less renumerative than the cushy gigs Ferguson has grown accustomed to enjoying.) The task for Ferguson going forward will be to suture off the latter while clinging to the former.

Chait also notes that while Ferguson apologized profusely in writing for the episode and said that he was mistaken to make such a connection, Brad Delong found another example of a weird piece Let Germany Keep Its Nerve in an April 1995 edition of British periodical The Spectator by Ferguson that claimed Keynes was against the Treaty of Versailles BECAUSE he was (paraphrasing here, not an actual quote) "gay for Germany."

Delong is an economist in the same vein, style, and spirit as the great Paul Krugman, although he is a more prolific blogger. Krugman wrote a bit more on Wednesday about the Ferguson / Keynes is gay story on his blog here: There's Something About Maynard.

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Turning to the weather ...

The Sterling (LWX) NWS radar in enhanced base mode reflectivity, 2:47PM EDT May 8, 2013.

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That frickin' decaying cut-off low that brought all the rain to the Southeast pinwheeled slowly past us the mid-Atlantic region but the most favorable rainfall bands OF COURSE failed to touch Washington, D.C., proper or its sh!tty Reagan Washington National Airport climate station (KDCA).

The Sterling (LWX) NWS radar in enhanced base mode reflectivity, 3:22PM EDT May 8, 2013.

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I'm actually amazed it rained as much as it did (see below) -- it WASN'T the usual "TRACE" that gets the operational meteorologists such as M. Richards and the Sterling LWX crew all thrilled because it "proves" this or that point about the non-changing eternality of the climate and Jesus in their Republican-tilted non-climate scientist vocational meteorologist way.

The LWX radar estimated storm totals from 525AM May 6, 2013 through 1:10AM May 9, 2013. It pretty much always looks like this except with the heavy precip in a different area in some place NOT in Washington, D.C.

As I said, I'm surprised KDCA managed to get almost 0.6".

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UPDATED 9:06AM 5/9/2013: Three-day rainfall totals through midnight May 9th at the three regional airport stations were as follows:

Sh!tty KDCA had a grand total of 0.59" thanks to its sh!tty location beside the totally sh!tty Potomac and its sh!tty micro-climate and sh!tty rain gauge and the sh!tty record-keeping, not to mention the usual sh!tty bad luck in convective systems.

For May, KDCA is at 0.59" or 0.37" below the normal 0.96", and year to date it is at 10.35" or 2.58" below the normal of 12.93".

KBWI had 1.00" exactly For the month, KBWI is at 1.00" or 0.07" above the normal of 0.93", and year to date it is at 11.43" or 2.54" below the normal of 13.97".

KIAD had 1.51". For the month, KIAD is at 1.51" or 0.45" above the normal of 1.06", and year to date it is at 12.30" or 1.03" below the normal of 13.33".

These numbers were updated for the full calendard days of May 6th, 7th, and 8th as posted day on the LWX NWS website.

As for Charlottesville, Va., it had 2.36" for the three-day period and the Maryland Science Center (KDMH) had 1.16".

Looking ahead, there is still -- thankfully -- no sign of really hot and humid weather and there are more chances of rain. Actually, it might rain this weekend, which would partially or completely nix the planned weekend camping trip out in western Maryland (in Allegany (not Allegheny) County).
 
The NWS forecast with icons for Little Orleans, Md., valid May 9 -May 12, 2013. Little Orleans is where the campground is located.

I am geared up to go, literally and figuratively.

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OK, that's all for now. Assuming I go on this camping trip, I will try to post an entry before I leave.

--Regulus

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