2016 December 14

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December 2016
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Questions? Need an updated map? Email me andy@andyarthur.org.

At this point we are down to 23 degrees as the cold air continues to push in. Definitely winter like out there, although the wind hasn’t really picked up much yet. 14 degrees by morning.

Tomorrow will be cold as promised. Some snow showers, mainly after 5pm. Partly sunny, with a high of 21 degrees at 11am. 15 degrees below normal. Wind chill values as low as -1. Breezy, with a west wind 14 to 19 mph increasing to 20 to 25 mph in the morning. Winds could gust as high as 40 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible. A year ago, we had rain and a high of 61 degrees. The record high of 61 was set in 2015. 8.2 inches of snow fell back in 1968. The sun will rise at 7:18 am with the first light at 6:46 am, which is 43 seconds later then yesterday.

Looking ahead, First Day of Winter is Next Wednesday, Valentines Day is in 2 months, March 1st is in 11 weeks, Ides of March is in 13 weeks, Good Friday is in 4 months, Average High is 60 is in 18 weeks, Mother’s Day is in 5 months, Flag Day is in 6 months and Summer is in 27 weeks.

I discovered a handy program for monitoring disk input/output on your computer. It’s called iotop, and it’s very familiar to top which tells you the programs that are using the most CPU or memory. So if you hear your hard drive thrashing, give sudo iotop a fire up (you may have to install it first by apt-get or your package manager).

Good evening! Mostly clear and 27 degrees in Albany. There is a west-southwest breeze at 8 mph. The frigid air is coming but it’s not here yet. Don’t worry, it’s still coming. 

Tonight will have some scattered snow showers, mainly after 2am. Mostly cloudy, with temperatures dropping throughout the night with a low of 14 degrees expected around 6am. Seven degrees below normal. Southwest wind 6 to 13 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%. Total nighttime snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible. In 2015, it got down to 42 degrees with periods of rain. The record low of -8 occurred back in 1874.

Waning Gibbous Moon tonight with 91% illuminated. The moon will . The Last Quarter Moon will be tonight with partly cloudy skies expected. The Full “Wolf” Moon is on Wednesday night.

Tomorrow will have some widely scattered snow showers, mainly after 5pm. Partly sunny, with a high of 21 degrees at 11am. 15 degrees below normal. So the mercury will move up very slightly. Wind chill values as low as -1. Breezy, with a west wind 14 to 24 mph, with gusts as high as 40 mph. Albany cops should sit in heated police cruisers and mail God speeding tickets for his wind downtown. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible. A year ago, we had rain and a high of 61 degrees. The record high of 61 was set in 2015. 8.2 inches of snow fell back in 1968. We got the cold, now God just needs to push some moisture northward. Maybe Saturday? I don’t like weekend snow storms because they impact my weekend plans.

Why can’t it only snow on week days? God, I may be one of the few people with such an attitude. 

Not a particularly nice weekend on tap but not as snowy as first expected. Saturday, snow before 1pm, then rain. High near 37. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New precipitation amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible. Sunday, rain likely before 1pm, then a chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 41. Chance of precipitation is 60%.Typical average high for the weekend is 35 degrees.

In four weeks on January 11 the sun will be setting at 4:43 pm, which is 20 minutes later then tonight. A least the sunsets are later. In 2016 on that day, we had snow and temperatures between 37 and 17 degrees. Typically, you have temperatures between 30 and 14 degrees. Coldest time of the year. The record high of 57 degrees was set back in 1975.

Been trying to develop some new and interesting content for the blog lately. I downloaded some new Shapefiles for making small scale maps showing the entire country for the blog today, and also got county level data relating to the US Presidental Election. Lots of maps and analytics coming on that. Albany County still hasn’t posted final Election Results from 2016, so I can’t make pretty county level maps. 

Tonight I’m going down to the library to work on a few more projects and continue to research winter jackets. Maybe make up a few more maps although I still have quite a few ready to go. Probably skipping the evening walk tonight as it’s going to be much too cold. 

I probably should go out shopping tonight to get the ingredients I need for cooking for the holiday brunch at work but alas that will likely get held off until tomorrow because I’m a procrastinating. Hopefully Big Red will start in the cold. 

Put the digital TV box in a separate extension cord, so hopefully it will be plugged in and tape the PBS News hour every night. The converter box only uses a few watts when it’s shut off. 

The Real Story Of Apollo 17… And Why We Never Went Back To The Moon.

"On December 11, 1972, Apollo 17 touched down on the Moon. This was not only our final Moon landing, but the last time we left low Earth orbit. With the successful launch of the Orion capsule, NASA is finally poised to go further again. So it’s important to remember how we got to the Moon — and why we stopped going."

On December 14th, 1972, Cernan became the last human to step on the Moon’s surface:

07 00 00 47: “Bob, this is Gene, and I’m on the surface and as I take man’s last steps from the surface, back home, for some time to come, but we believe not too long into the future. I’d like to Just list what I believe history will record that America’s challenge of today has forged man’s destiny of tomorrow. And, as we leave the Moon at Taurus Littrow, we leave as we come and, God willing, as we shall return, with peace and hope for all mankind. Godspeed the crew of Apollo 17.”

In the forty-[four] years since those words were spoken, nobody has stepped on the Moon. The levels of federal spending which NASA had received before 1966 had become untenable to a public which had become financially wary, particularly as they experienced a major oil crisis in 1973, which shifted the nation’s priorities. Spending in space was something that could be done, but with far more fiscal constraints than ever before, limiting NASA to research and scientific missions in the coming years. Such programs included the development of the Skylab program in 1973, and the Space Shuttle program, as well as a number of robotic probes and satellites.

Apollo 17.

Forty-four years ago today was the last time since man kind has put his foot on the moon. While we still have the International Space Station and probes to Mars, it's been nearly a half century since mankind has been on the moon, reflecting changing priorities and the diminished interest in having man on the moon.

Enjoy the warm weather around 31 degrees, because for the next few days it’s only going to get colder but sunnier. One degree on Friday morning. Next Wednesday is First Day of Winter. There is a west-northwest breeze at 9 mph. It will certainly feel like that for the next week.

Walked down to the express bus today. I was a bit concerned when the bus didn’t show up by 8:26 AM, but it was there just a few minutes late. I didn’t check the real-time bus info until after the 8:26 time, and that point they had no information on the location. The driver, running late, probably didn’t type his ID into the GPS system for the bus that provides the Real Times Bus Info.

Today will be sunny, with temperatures declining to the twenties by later afternoon into the evening. The polar vortex is going to start to bear down upon us, as they would call normal winter weather that has long hit Albany from time to time. West wind 7 to 10 mph. Mild compared to what is coming. A year ago, we had rain and a high of 61 degrees. The record high of 63 was set in 1901. 12.5 inches of snow fell back in 1956.

I swear I’m going to get a winter coat for casual use finally. This winter is going to be quite cold and my old Carhartt’s zipper is totally broken. I will need a warm coat for winter camping, that is if we finally get a decent weekend without the threat of storms and not so frigid. My hope is to get out camping Christmas Day through the Monday after Christmas. I’m leaning towards camping in a local state forest, or maybe I’ll head up to the Adirondacks.

The sun will set at 4:22 pm with dusk around 4:54 pm, which is 15 seconds later than yesterday. Today will have 9 hours and 4 minutes of daylight, a decrease of 28 seconds over yesterday. The decline in daylight is rapidly shortening, as we get ready to throw the sun into reverse, as the days get longer, as we approach the first day of summer after the winter solstice.

Tonight will have a slight chance of snow showers after 11pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low of 17 degrees at 6am. Five degrees below normal. An even colder as the day progresses. Southwest wind 6 to 11 mph. Again not so bad but picking up as the night progresses.  Chance of precipitation is 20%. In 2015, it got down to 42 degrees with periods of rain. The record low of -8 occurred back in 1874.

As previously noted, next Wednesday is First Day of Winter when the sun will be setting at 4:25 pm with dusk at 4:57 pm. On that day in 2015, we had rain and temperatures between 48 and 33 degrees. Typically, the high temperature is 34 degrees. We hit a record high of 59 back in 1957.

Today in 1972, Eugene Cernan is the last person ever to walk on the moon, after he and Harrison Schmitt complete the third and final extravehicular activity (EVA) of the Apollo 17 mission. After several manned missions to the moon, it was decided in an increasingly tight fiscal environment, that manned space missions were no long affordable or necessary in the public interest. It’s been 44 years since the last man has walked on the moon.

Tomorrow marks the 49th anniversary of the tragic collapse of the Silver Bridge over the Ohio River in West Virginia. A massive suspension bridge, it’s suspension eye bars which were used instead of steel rope lacked redundancy and when one eye bar failed the bridge went critical and all spans went plunging into the ice filled Ohio River, killing 45 people stuck in rush hour traffic.  More about that on the blog tomorrow.