Mark your calendars for August 12, 2045 here in Jupiter

The next total eclipse that will reach a significant number of Americans is headed straight for Jupiter, Florida! It will last for a remarkable 6 minutes. From timeanddate:

I’m not sure why they say that the average cloud cover is 64 percent. I would have guessed that 1:30 pm in August would be blue skies with a chance of thunderstorms. It would probably be smarter to travel to Nevada, but then it wouldn’t be possible to observe the eclipse from one’s own swimming pool. Here’s an August map from an eclipse nerdism site:

(some folks in Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota will see a 1.5-minute eclipse around sunset on August 22, 2044)

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Canon RF800/11 lens for eclipse totality

The Canon mirrorless 800/11 lens is light enough to pack for Eclipse 2026 in Spain (or Iceland if you feel extremely lucky with the weather).

How well does it work for photographing totality? The magnification seems about right for photographing the full corona. Here is the entire JPEG out of the camera at 1/250th of a second and ISO 400 (no need to spec the aperture because it is always f/11):

With an exposure of 1/13 of a second, the corona gets quite a bit larger:

The camera was set to autofocus and fixed at ISO 400. It was mounted on a cheap light Slik ballhead tripod that I happened to have available in Boston (we flew from KBED to KHUL (Houlton, Maine, the last stop in the U.S. for Eclipse 2024) and these pictures were taken from the ramp at KHUL).

It’s tough enough to aim at 800mm and I certainly wouldn’t want any higher magnification without a star-tracker camera mount.

I’m generally negative on trying to photograph the eclipse. The great images are nearly all stitched together laboriously in Photoshop based on multiple exposures, e.g., one long enough to capture some details in the moon itself and the farthest reaches of the corona and some short enough to show detail in the corona right near the surface of the sun. It’s better to leave the documenting to the nerds with infinite Photoshop patience and bulky equipment and park yourself with a great pair of binoculars to simply enjoy the show.

Here’s a Photoshop special from NASA in 2017 that looks great but bears almost no resemblance to what you can see with your eyes or with a camera in a single image:

Here’s the ultimate example of the “f/8 and be there” principle of photography (an experienced photographer’s technical-sounding advice to a beginner):

Kendall Rust (Facebook post) says she took it in Jonesboro, Arkansas and that this is straight out of the Canon camera, though it looks like a Photoshop wizard created it! CNN shows a remarkably similar image and credits it to Bobby Goddin:

Here’s yet another:

Unless you’re Kendall Rust, Jack Emshwiller, or Bobby Goddin, though, I’m going to stick with the “just enjoy totality” advice and take some images of things that happen around you just before and after totality. (What if you are Kendall Rust, Jack Emshwiller, or Bobby Goddin? My advice is that you abandon your hatred of government-created inequality and load up on Powerball tickets the next time the jackpot reaches $1 billion!) Here’s a quick iPhone picture of the pseudo sunset:

But if you’re going to ignore my advice, the Canon 800/11 seems like a great choice! It’s cheap, light, and does the job pretty well.

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How’s your eclipse viewing?

I had some worked planned in Austin, Texas over the weekend, which dovetailed nicely with the predicted eclipse and the generally clear skies in this dry part of the country.

(Another way to get into prime eclipse-viewing position is to be convicted of a crime and sent to prison. “New York inmates who claimed lockdown was religious violation will be able to see eclipse” (USA Today):

Inmates at a New York prison who sued the state corrections department over a planned lockdown during the Monday total solar eclipse will be able to see the celestial event after all.

The lawsuit filed Friday in federal court in upstate New York claimed that the lockdown, which would have prevented many statewide inmates from witnessing Monday’s solar eclipse, constituted a violation of religious rights.

“For many, this eclipse is a moment of monumental religious significance that cannot be overlooked or dismissed out of hand,” according to the lawsuit, which listed six plaintiffs of various religious faiths.

Corrections officials agreed Thursday to permit the plaintiffs – a Baptist, a Muslim, a Seventh-Day Adventist, two practitioners of Santeria and an atheist – to view the eclipse in exchange for the lawsuit’s dismissal, department spokesman Thomas Mailey told USA TODAY.

Practitioners of Santeria also trace historical ties to chanting rituals performed during a solar eclipse. For atheists, an eclipse may not be a time for worship, but it’s still a time to marvel about the natural wonders of the universe, the lawsuit contended.

)

Nervous nail-biting began on Wednesday, April 3 based on the cloud forecast at https://eclipseweather.info/eclipse/. It appears that God loves Bernie Sanders and fellow progressives in and around Burlington, Vermont. God also loves folks in Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana. Why does God hate Texans?

I’m testifying as a software expert witness in Federal District Court in Newark, New Jersey on Wednesday. Getting to EWR from Austin on Tuesday was $2,000 in economy. Flights to JFK were about $1200, with no difference in cost between economy and first class. But it would have been well worth it (to the client!) if the weather had been clear.

https://www.pivotalweather.com/eclipse2024/ is also an interesting site. The “NWS Blend” cloud cover forecast as of the evening of April 4 wasn’t promising for just west of Austin:

Pivotal displayed a tempting map of Vermont and Maine:

Based on these forecasts, I canceled the Austin flights and booked a trip into Boston. From there we departed to Houlton, Maine on the Canadian border (passport and blackface kit packed just in case). The terminal forecast from 8 pm Sunday:

KHUL 072340Z 0800/0824 35008KT P6SM SKC
FM081100 VRB03KT P6SM FEW150
FM081500 30007KT P6SM FEW250

The relevant part is that from 15Z (GMT; subtract 4 hours to get 11:00 am EDT) on the 8th the wind would be from magnetic 300 (NW) at 7 knots, better than 6 statute miles of visibility, and a few clouds at 25,000′ above the airport.

Who has plans for North Dakota or Greenland in 2044? Don’t want to wait that long? Looks like Spain is the smartest place to be (the weather in western Iceland is not reliable!) on August 12, 2026. Has inflation gotten so severe that hotels won’t let people book more than a few months in advance?

Readers: let’s hear your heroic eclipse-viewing tales!

Post-trip update: The weather was just as forecast. We had severe clear weather and a great view of totality as well as all phases of partial. The town organized a warm welcome for thousands of visitors.

All Labs Matter:

And a partial eclipse of the sun by the moon(ey):

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Sterile gloves are as effective as masks

2015, Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, “Unmasking the surgeons: the evidence base behind the use of facemasks in surgery”:

overall there is a lack of substantial evidence to support claims that facemasks protect either patient or surgeon from infectious contamination

2023, Injury, “Risk of wound infection with use of sterile versus clean gloves in wound repair at the Emergency Department: A systematic review and meta-analysis”:

No evidence of additional protection against wound infections with the use of sterile gloves for wound repair in the ED compared to clean gloves was found.

Let’s ask Dr. ChatGPT:

Speaking of wounds, we can remember as we light the kinara this evening, for the second night of Kwanzaa the likely headwounds of the women who were hit on their heads with toasters by Professor Dr. Dr. Maulana Karenga, Ph.D., Ph.D., the creator of the holiday.

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Science requires that teenagers receive gender-affirming care…

“First in the nation gender-affirming care ban struck down in Arkansas” (from state-sponsored NPR):

The ruling by U.S. District Judge James Moody Jr. on Tuesday says the state of Arkansas violated several sections of the U.S. Constitution when it banned all gender-affirming treatments for people under 18. The 80-page ruling says depriving trans minors of treatments like hormone therapy would cause them irreparable harm, and that delaying care until adulthood would force teens to go through changes inconsistent with their gender identity.

“Rather than protecting children or safeguarding medical ethics, the evidence showed that the prohibited medical care improves the mental health and well-being of patients and that, by prohibiting it, the State undermined the interests it claims to be advancing,” the ruling reads. “The testimony of well-credentialed experts, doctors who provide gender-affirming medical care in Arkansas, and families that rely on that care directly refutes any claim by the State that the Act advances an interest in protecting children.”

This is not a political decision. Science requires that teenagers get injected with hormones and have various body parts cut off surgically. It is settled Science that youngsters who receive gender affirming care have improved mental health and well-being.

On the other hand… What did Science tell the folks who run the widely admired technocratically managed universal government-run health care system over in the United Kingdom? “England’s health service won’t give puberty blockers to children at gender clinics” (New York Post, June 11, 2023):

The NHS said the new rules were “an interim policy” that would undergo further review, including the outcome of a research study on the impact puberty-suppressing hormones have on gender dysphoria in children and young people. Findings published last year from a review of children’s gender services led by a pediatrician, Dr. Hilary Cass, said there were “gaps in the evidence base” about the blockers.

The “gaps in the evidence” identified in the U.K. simply do not exist for judges in the U.S.

Separately, what if you’re visiting a teenage recipient of gender-affirming care in a hospital in Arkansas and want to look fashionable? Levi’s has you covered for about $1,000 (photos from yesterday):

Bigger budget? Photos from a Coach store:

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ChatGPT explains why humans cannot be optimized via breeding the way that dogs are

Happy Valentine’s Day, devoted to activities that sometimes lead to procreation.

Here’s an exchange that a Deplorable friend had with ChatGPT:

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Trust the Science: CNN and Hurricane Ian

“Ian’s 5-day forecast predicted landfall only 5 miles from actual location” (CNN):

The National Hurricane Center worked around the clock to get the best forecasts out and they did it with incredible accuracy.

Looking back at the forecast, the landfall location, Cayo Costa, was in the forecast cone for all the forecasts given, according to CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller.

Miller also noted that the forecast pegged Ian’s landfall (as a major hurricane also) within 5 miles of its eventual landfall location a full 120 hours in advance – that’s pretty remarkable given how unreliable forecasts can be at the five-day mark and beyond.

So folks on the barrier islands in Lee County, e.g., Sanibel, Captiva, and Fort Myers Beach, had five days of warning regarding precisely where the hurricane would hit? They must be even dumber than we thought.

Thanks to Amygator, we can see that the forecast on Friday at 11 am did show the hurricane hitting Lee County at 8 am on Wednesday (somewhat sooner than it actually did hit).

What CNN leaves out is that on Saturday the NHC forecast that Tampa would hit. On Sunday, the forecast was that Hurricane Ian would strike Ron DeSantis in Tallahassee:

By Monday, it was back to Tampa (and officials there reasonably ordered an evacuation of low-lying houses). By Tuesday, the predicted track was closer to Fort Myers and its barrier islands (and the Lee County officials reasonably ordered an evacuation of those barrier islands).

So, CNN tells us that Science predicted Ian’s landfall five days in advance, but omits to mention that Science also predicted landfall in a variety of other locations, some of the hundreds of miles away.

Perhaps we think that the fearless purveyors of truth have superior access to Science. From What to Know About Ian and Climate Change – The New York Times (nytimes.com):

What if you studied atmospheric physics in college instead of journalism and don’t pick 1980 as your starting point? “Changes in Atlantic major hurricane frequency since the late-19th century” (nature.com, 2021):

To evaluate past changes in frequency, we have here developed a homogenization method for Atlantic hurricane and major hurricane frequency over 1851–2019. We find that recorded century-scale increases in Atlantic hurricane and major hurricane frequency, and associated decrease in USA hurricanes strike fraction, are consistent with changes in observing practices and not likely a true climate trend. After homogenization, increases in basin-wide hurricane and major hurricane activity since the 1970s are not part of a century-scale increase, but a recovery from a deep minimum in the 1960s–1980s.

One of the most consistent expectations from projected future global warming is that there should be an increase in TC intensity, such that the fraction of [major hurricanes] MH to [Atlantic hurricanes] HU increases … there are no significant increases in either basin-wide HU or MH frequency, or in the MH/HU ratio for the Atlantic basin between 1878 and 2019 (when the U.S. Signal Corps started tracking NA HUs … The homogenized basin-wide HU and MH record does not show strong evidence of a century-scale increase in either MH frequency or MH/HU ratio associated with the century-scale, greenhouse-gas-induced warming of the planet. …Caution should be taken in connecting recent changes in Atlantic hurricane activity to the century-scale warming of our planet.

The Science is settled, according to nytimes.com: “strong storms are becoming more common in the Atlantic Ocean, as its surface water has warmed. … Climate change has already contributed to a rise in destructive hurricanes like Ian, and its effects are still growing.” This is a Scientific true fact that has been established beyond any doubt. The nature.com article, on the other hand, says that this is not true and that the data do not show major hurricanes becoming more common.

Let’s look at the crackpots behind the nature.com article:

It is possible that nytimes.com is correct and nature.com is wrong, of course. But the nature.com folks, with their file cabinet full of PhDs (… in Science), don’t say that they are presenting facts that cannot be and will not be falsified.

Related:

  • “Tropical Cyclone Frequency” (Vecchi and others in Earth’s Future; Wiley 2021): “There is no accepted theory that explains the average number of TCs that occur each year on the Earth, nor how that number will change with global warming.” (full text)
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How can we stop hurricanes?

Today is my birthday and also the day that Hurricane Ian arrives on Florida’s west coast. Now that we’re quasi-coastal Floridians, what I want as a present is a machine that can stop hurricanes.

An Ivy League graduate recently suggested this idea. She consumes the New York Times and Washington Post, which assure her that humans are causing hurricanes by burning fossil fuels, failing to vote for Democrats 100 percent of the time, not growing the government to a sufficient size, etc. The natural inference from this media diet is that humans can easily stop hurricanes and, this Ivy League graduate made that inference, pointing out that “we really have to stop these hurricanes.”

Well… why not? Should we be discouraged by the fact that “during its life cycle a hurricane can expend as much energy as 10,000 nuclear bombs” (NASA)? I think not!

A hurricane has low pressure air in the middle. What about a big air hose pumping in air so as to create high pressure? Science v.1980 says that I’m right (Florida Today):

Not so long ago, the idea of bending a hurricane to our will wasn’t so far fetched or fringe science. It was the mainstream. Starting in the 1940s, Nobel Prize winning scientists such as Irving Langmuir, and even famed American writer Kurt Vonnegut’s older brother, Bernard Vonnegut, an atmospheric scientist, got in the mix of weather modification.

Believing man could stop or move hurricanes was mainstream science from the 1940s until a military program looking into matter went bust in the early 1980s.

If Bill Gates hadn’t made the mistake of getting married, he might have enough money to execute on his vision:

Even Microsoft founder Bill Gates weighed in on hurricane suppression a decade ago. He proposed using hundreds of huge ocean-going tubs to drain warm water from the surface to deeper water, through a long tube, weakening storms as they form.

What about robot barges that make ice and dump the ice into the ocean just ahead of the hurricane, thus robbing the hurricane of the warm water that it needs to thrive? If Elon Musk has a robot barge on which a rocket booster can land, why not ice-making barges?

National Geographic says that we create hurricanes, but can’t easily stop them:

“These are not acts of God,” says meteorologist Alan Gadian, senior scientist at the U.K.’s National Centre for Atmospheric Sciences, “but a direct consequence of making the atmosphere more unstable due to seawater being warmer than average. They will occur again.”

One possible approach is “marine cloud brightening,” first proposed in 1990 by cloud physicist John Latham at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. The idea is to infuse clouds with particles of sea salt, around which water vapor would condense to form droplets. The more droplets in a cloud, the whiter it is and the more sunlight it reflects, cooling the sea below it.

Physicist Russell Seitz conceived “Bright Water” to cool the seas or reduce evaporation from freshwater reservoirs. In the case of hurricanes, he theorizes that ships pumping microscopic bubbles into their wake along tropical storm tracks could cool the water at lower cost than ships spraying the sky—and with less risk of affecting the weather elsewhere.

Readers: What is your best idea for keeping these pernicious human-caused weather systems away from the Caribbean and Florida?

What if we can’t stop a hurricane, how do we prepare? What’s actually more powerful than 10,000 nuclear bombs? As with meeting new friends at the bathhouse (“We have been aggressive in educating our clients through social media and in-house,” said a representative for The Cock, located in NYC’s East Village. “We continue to require COVID vax proof…”), the CDC says the best protection against a hurricane is to get a COVID-19 vaccination: “Stay up to date on your COVID-19 vaccines. COVID-19 vaccines help protect you from getting sick or severely ill with COVID-19. Staying up to date on vaccines makes it less likely that you will be sick with COVID-19 while sheltering or evacuating from a hurricane, and less likely to need medical services while hospitals are under strain from the natural disaster.”

An alternative perspective from a Florida TV weatherman:

  1. Charge any device that provides light. Laptops, tablets, cameras, video cameras, and old phones. Old cell phones can still used for dialing 911. Charge external battery back ups. ( Glow sticks also provide light for a few hours. Stand them upright in a glass or jar to make a lantern.)
  2. Wash all trash cans, big and small, and fill with water for flushing toilets. Line outdoor trash cans with trash bags, fill with water and store in the garage. Add bleach to sterilize. [But what if you have a pool? Plenty of chlorine-sterilized water!]
  3. Fill every tub and sink with water. Cover sinks with Saran Wrap to keep it from collecting dust. Fill washing machine and leave lid up to store water.
  4. Fill old empty water bottles and other containers with water and keep near sinks for washing hands.
  5. Fill every Tupperware with water and store in freezer. These will help keep food cold longer and serve as a back up water supply.
  6. Fill drinking cups with water and cover with Saran Wrap. Store as many as possible in fridge. The rest you can store on the counter and use first before any water bottles are opened. Ice is impossible to find after the storm.
  7. Reserve fridge space for storing tap water and keep the sealed water bottles on the counter.
  8. Cook any meats in advance and other perishable foods. You can freeze cooked food. Hard boil eggs for snacks for first day without power.
  9. Be well hydrated before the storm hits and avoid salty foods that make you dehydrated.
  10. Wash all dirty clothes and bed sheets. Anything dirty will smell without the A/C, you may need the items, and with no A/C, you’ll be sweating a lot. You’re going to want clean sheets.
  11. Toss out any expiring food, clean cat litter boxes, empty all trash cans in the house, including bathrooms. Remove anything that will cause an odor when the A/C is off. If you don’t have a trash day pickup before the storm, find a dumpster.
  12. Bring in any yard decor, secure anything that will fly around, secure gates, bring in hoses, potted plants, etc. Bring in patio furniture and grills.
  13. Clean your environment so you have clear, easy escape routes. Even if that means temporarily moving furniture to one area.
  14. Scrub all bathrooms so you are starting with a clean odor free environment. Store water filled trash cans next to each toilet for flushing.
  15. Place everything you own that is important and necessary in a backpack or small file box that is easy to grab. Include your wallet with ID, phone, hand sanitizer, snacks, etc. Get plastic sleeves for important documents.
  16. Make sure you have cash on hand.
  17. Stock up on pet food and fill up bowls of water for pets.
  18. Refill any medications. Most insurance companies allow for 2 emergency refills per year.
  19. Fill your propane tanks. You can heat soup cans, boil water, make coffee, and other stuff besides just grilling meat. Get an extra, if possible.
  20. Drop your A/C in advance and lower temperatures in your fridges.
  21. Gather all candles, flashlights, lighters, matches, batteries, and other items and keep them accessible.
  22. Clean all counters in advance. Start with a clean surface. Buy Clorox Wipes for cleaning when there is no power. Mop your floors and vacuum. If power is out for 10 days, you’ll have to live in the mess you started with.
  23. Pick your emergency safe place such as a closet under the stairs. Store the items you’ll need in that location for the brunt of the storm. Make a hand fan for when the power is out.
  24. Shower just before the storm is scheduled to hit.
  25. Keep baby wipes next to each toilet. Don’t flush them. It’s not the time to risk clogging your toilet!
  26. Run your dishwasher, don’t risk having dirty smelly dishes and you need every container for water! Remember you’ll need clean water for brushing your teeth, washing yourself, and cleaning your hands.
  27. Put a small suitcase in your car in case you decide to evacuate. Also put at least one jug of water in your car. It will still be there if you don’t evacuate! You don’t need to store all water in the house. Remember to pack for pets as well.
  28. Check on all family members, set up emergency back up plans, and check on elderly neighbors.
  29. Remember, pets are family too. Take them with you!
  30. Before the storm, unplug all electronics. There will be power surges during and after the storm.
  31. Gas up your car and have a spare gas container for your generator or your car when you run out.
    32 . Use plastic cups and paper plates. 👍 You need water to wash dishes….👎
    33 . Also if you run out of water tap your hot water heater it can have up to 30 gallons stored in there.
    34 . Put water in balloons and store in freezer.

After reviewing the above, my conclusion is that it is best to drive to Orlando and stay there!

Our neighbors have been working hard to prep. Here are some examples:

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What are your favorite James Webb Space Telescope videos?

Everyone hates engineering and loves science. So let’s talk about the James Webb Space Telescope, which cost us about $10 billion (enough to fund the U.S. and Ukrainian militaries for 3 days?) so far. What are your favorite videos explaining the Science? Here’s one that I like:

It contains some explanation of the instruments on board, but I’m still a little confused as to the rationale for looking at nearby objects in the infrared. Light from objects within our own galaxy, such as the Carina Nebula, shouldn’t be dramatically red-shifted. What will we learn about these objects via the JWST that we couldn’t have learned from Hubble?

Readers: What are some other must-watch videos?

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