Monthly Archives: May 2014

This time-lapse footage of a supercell storm near Climax, Kansas, was taken by videographer Stephen Locke. Besides being very well-done video, it shows the awesome power of nature and the scaled of these storms. The amount of energy contained in this storm was immense. Luckily for folks on the ground, it didn’t form into a tornado.

The Climax, Kansas Supercells by Stephen Locke from Stephen Locke on Vimeo.


(featured image of supercell storm by Marko Korosec,


These swallows were nesting inside a bike parking garage at the University of Victoria in Canada. When they finished the building, they added motion-activated doors, closing the swallows in – or did they? These birds figured out how to fly in front of the motion sensor, and open the doors, coming and going whenever they need to. Watch

Pat Condell has the cure for folks who have an “irrational fear” of the “religion of peace.” We need to implement it here in the U.S. before the thought police enable the same kind of takeover they’ve engineered in Britain (the “Woolich murder” to which he refers is the beheading, on the street, of British soldier Lee Rigby by two adherents of Islam)

From a guy with a history of spectacularly failed predictions comes another sensationalist bomb: zombie 2we’re headed with “ridiculous speed” toward mass cannibalism. By the way, if you want to read some good sense from a guy that Erlich wouldn’t bet against on one of his bad predictions, read The Ultimate Resource 2 by Julian Simon. Given free reign, human ingenuity can solve all our problems.

A tasty leftover from Newsbusters. He’s vague on when, precisely, mass cannibalism will become the last best hope of mankind — we’re headed that way “with ridiculous speed” is all he’ll say — but don’t be too hard on this guy for shying away from concrete predictions. He’s tried that before and it didn’t work out so well, although naturally his most devoted acolytes disagree. In a death match between consciousness-raising and inconvenient facts, you can always count on cognitive dissonance to protect the former. Even when the inconvenient fact in question involves hundreds of millions of deaths that didn’t happen.

Clips like this and the one from earlier this week of a climate-change alarmist calling for skeptical politicians to be locked up are always interesting, though, as psychological curios. Clearly both men believe wholeheartedly that the situations they’re addressing are dire; understandably they want to grab the public’s attention and get people agitating. What’s the best way to do that? With scoffworthy predictions and eyeroll-causing remedies that nonetheless attract an audience or with a more sober approach that’s more likely to be taken seriously but less likely to be noticed? Give Ehrlich credit for consistency: He’s always favored sensationalism.

via Bad news from Paul Ehrlich: We might eventually have to start eating our dead « Hot Air.

Putting aside the fact that BMI is a shitty measurement for evaluating Overweight Student - Staten Islandbody composition and overall health, subjecting young kids to this kind of fat-shaming is terrible. I loved the fact that the kids were told not to look at the assessment, but to give it directly to their parents. Did they think the parents were going to keep it secret from the kids?

Gwendolyn Williams is a pencil-thin, bubbly 9-year-old who is a perfectly healthy third-grader.

But according to city bureaucrats, she’s practically obese.

“I was like, ‘Oh, my God! Why did I get this?’” the Staten Island kid recalled Thursday after getting a Department of Education-issued “Fitnessgram” that described her Body Mass Index as “overweight.”

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The report Gwendolyn Williams received from her school.

Photo: Stephen Yang

“I’m 4-foot-1, and 66 pounds, and I’m like, what?!” Gwendolyn exclaimed of the school handout, which the city is sending home in the bookbags of 870,000 public school students, grades K through 12.

The kids, who were weighed and measured back in November, are told not to look.

But the Fitnessgrams are sealed with only a small, easily replaced round sticker — and peeking is rampant, parents complain, with devastating effects on kids’ self-esteem.

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Gwendolyn’s BMI report

Photo: Stephen Yang

Gwendolyn’s mom, Laura Bruij Williams of Port Richmond, says she found out about her daughter’s Fitnessgram Wednesday night, as she was tucking the girl in for the night.

“She said, ‘Hey, Mom. The school told me I’m overweight.’ And then she started jiggling her thighs, and saying, ‘Is this what they mean?’”

“That was heartbreaking,” said the stay-at-home mom of two.

via This kid is fat (according to the City of New York) | New York Post.

This reminds me of a Forrest Gump aphorism: “Momma says stupid is as stupid does.” no-guns-allowed-300x231Stupid is believing for one second that criminals are going to abide by your “no guns allowed” sign. Instead, you just made all your patrons defenseless targets for criminals. I don’t understand why the anti-gun crowd doesn’t get this.

North Carolina restaurant The Pit was robbed at gunpoint on Sunday. Normally, local crime stories like this wouldn’t merit a Townhall post, but this one is different: The Pit has a “no weapons” sign displayed prominently on its door declaring the restaurant a gun-free zone, and bans patrons from carrying concealed weapons.

Authorities said just before 9 p.m. Sunday, three men wearing hoodies entered the restaurant through the back doors with pistols, and forced several staff members to lie on the floor.

The bandits assaulted two employees during the crime, but they were not seriously injured.

What groups like Everytown for Gun Safety or Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America seem to have an issue grasping is that criminals have no respect for the law by nature of being criminals. Criminals aren’t going to be stopped by a “no guns allowed” sign. If somebody is going to rob or shoot up a Chipotle, for instance, they’re not going to care that they cannot (or have been politely asked not to) bring a gun onto the premises. Criminals are not going to submit to background checks. They’ll use straw purchases or just buy a gun from an illegal source. All these policies and laws do is make it harder for legal gun owners to protect themselves.

via NC Restaurant With “No Weapons” Sign Robbed at Gunpoint – Christine Rousselle.

Interesting analysis of the makeup and maintenance of those famous “clay” courts at Roland Garros stadium. The few millimeters of broken brick on the top give it the clay look.roland-garros-watering-clay-Bob-Martin-SI

The four layers that makes up the courts at Roland Garros may surprise you a bit. You’ll find a 10-inch layer of stone, a six-inch layer of water-filtering slag (metal waste material) and a four-inch layer of limestone all topped off with three millimeters – a number just too small to count in inches – of broken brick. But actual clay? Not a part of the clay courts at Paris’ Roland Garros.

While limestone and brick make up the core of the playing surface, that doesn’t make caring for the world’s most famous clay courts any less challenging, says Roland Garros head groundsman Bruno Slastan.

Getting the facility’s 20 courts ready for the French Open requires special attention to the top two layers. Slastan says his crews rework the white limestone layer every year and then haul in 88,000 pounds of broken brick – but only during completely dry weather when they have “especially good climatic conditions” – for the three stadium courts and 17 outer courts.

“The thicknesses of materials are respected,” Slastan says. “That is very important. We strive our hardest to achieve perfection.”

During each match, crews rake the surface and sweep clay off of the lines at the end of each set. At the end of every match, the crew waters the entire court to help the brick retain its color and keep from blowing away. And at the end of the day, each court gets watered once again.

via How Roland Garros prepares and maintains the clay for the French Open | Beyond The Baseline.