El Reno 2013

So you want to be a storm chaser?

Five years ago (May 31, 2013), a 2.6 mile wide tornado hit El Reno, Oklahoma. Several people were killed or injured, including several storm chasers, among them the well-respected team of Tim and Paul Samaras and Carl Young. This was the first time chasers had been killed by weather (automobiles are more dangerous) and 2.6 miles wide is still, in May of 2018, a record wide storm. (Nowhere near as wide as the storm in John Barnes’ novel Mother of All Storms, but still…)

As I mentioned in a previous post, Skip Talbot is a weather geek. The video below is his feature length essay on meteorology, storm safety and, in the last half hour, his experience with this storm. It’s a chase. The tornado gives them a hair-raising run for the money.

If you noodle around the web, you’ll find some pretty dramatic videos of chasers within or nearly missed by that storm. But this video also provides a weather education.

Long Term Delivery

“A short comedy about a secret division of the United States Postal Service.”

National Letter Carrier Day isn’t until February 4, and this is just too¬† bizarre to keep until then. Hats-off to letter carriers everywhere, who generally do an amazing job, except on those occasions when they do not.

Beyond that, I’m not sure what to say about this delicious bit of video. Maybe mumble something about how we try to find meaning in life and how mutable that meaning is — or is not.

The Developer

We’re not actually talkin’ ’bout gentrification, here…

Maybe saying this will cause some heads to explode, but government doesn’t necessarily have to be the State. In fact, we have plenty of examples of private government here in the States. And politicians are not restricted to the State…

It’s also worth keeping in mind that, in most urban areas of any consequence in the States, the local equivalent of the military-industrial complex — which is to say the most politically powerful segment of the economy — is FIRE: Finance Insurance Real Estate. It’s not only the money there, but real estate draws something of a grassroots constituency, so there are people represented as well as money.

Masha Gessen: What Words Mean

“The Russian-born journalist articulates the ways in which truth and language are under assault, by everyone from Vladimir Putin to Donald Trump.”

I agree, mostly. One quibble is that I do not believe that, under normal circumstances, you’ll find a consensus on the meaning political language. I sometimes fancy that there is a deliberate artfulness to this, providing us with a means to pretend agreement when, come to think of it, just what did you mean by “democracy?” Or the way we tend to use “racist” and “bigot” as synonyms. (Yes, Virginia: You can be a racist without being a bigot, and while it’s unlikely, one can imagine being a bigot without being a racist.)