2017 April 24

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April 2017
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Questions? Need an updated map? Email me andy@andyarthur.org.

Good evening! Partly clear and 63 degrees in Delmar. There is a northeast breeze at 5 mph. A fairly pleasant evening, that is after waking after passing out in bed from exhaustion watching the PBS Newshour. I would be sad if Trump lead to the end of the Newshour in the evening and Morning Edition on NPR. I guess the private sector could pick it up. 

I went down to the library to upload a few more videos from my camping trip, and to post my thoughts on a carbon tax. I like the idea to tax carbon while reducing taxes overall. Even if it’s a windfall for billionaires on the back of working folks as I proposed, I think it’s important we control carbon emissions. And I think it horseshit that I am pay so much tax on my hard earned invested money compared to money I’ve spent. 

I heard the spring peepers on the walk home but now they are rapidly quiet. The temperature is dropping relatively quickly this evening with cold rainy weather expected tomorrow. No barred owl hanging out in the neighborhood, at least not tonight. 

 I got to get to the laundromat after work tomorrow, so hopefully I won’t be stuck at work too late. I also need to remember to get cash so I can get to the laundromat. I often do my wash at my parents house during Sunday dinner but I left all but my camp wash at home. At least the dirty and smelly wash is clean. 

Tonight will have a chance of rain, mainly after 4am. Increasing clouds, with a low of 46 degrees at 6am. Five degrees above normal. East wind 3 to 5 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible. In 2016, it got down to 45 degrees under cloudy skies. The record low of 23 occurred back in 1965.

Waning Crescent Moon tonight with 9% illuminated. The moon will rise around 4:12 am. The New Moon is on Wednesday night with mostly cloudy skies expected. The Full “Flower” Moon is on Wednesday, May 10th. The sun will rise at 5:58 am with the first light at 5:28 am, which is one minute and 29 seconds earlier than yesterday. Tonight will have 10 hours and 8 minutes of darkness, a decrease of 2 minutes and 36 seconds over last night.

Tomorrow will have occasional rain, mainly after 8am. High of 55 degrees at 3pm. Eight degrees below normal. Maximum dew point of 43 at 2pm. East wind 7 to 9 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible. A year ago, we had cloudy skies and a high of 59 degrees. The record high of 89 was set in 2009. 0.3 inches of snow fell back in 1928.

The weekend forecast looks to be pretty warm and nice. Saturday, partly sunny, with a high near 78. Maximum dew point of 55 at 1pm. So, not really sticky and modestly clear. Sunday, a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 72. Chance of precipitation is 40%. Maximum dew point of 56 at 5pm. Typical average high for the weekend is 64 degrees.

I don’t know what my plans are for the weekend. It can be a bit tricky with many of the campsites and roads still closed for the mud season. I don’t take risks in the mud with my big jacked up truck. Brookfield or Schoharie County seems to the top choices. Brookfield is nice but it’s a long haul and the roads out there are bound to be a bit soft. The Rogers Center is nice in the spring time though. The following two weeks I’m going to be stuck in town with personal things I have to do.

In four weeks on May 22 the sun will be setting at 8:18 pm, which is 30 minutes and 5 seconds later then tonight. In 2016 on that day, we had rain and temperatures between 75 and 54 degrees. Typically, you have temperatures between 71 and 49 degrees. The record high of 97 degrees was set back in 1911.

Looking ahead, May Day is Next Monday and Memorial Day is in 5 weeks. I am looking forward to Memorial Day Weekend as that’s the next long weekend that I have off from work. 

Today was an interesting day at work. I thought I ordered something at work that would come in like three boxes but when I arrived in the office there was fifteen boxes stacked by my desk. I was going to hand deliver them to my client but then I said I will send them back to mailroom because I can’t deliver that many boxes to his relatively small car. It was quite the visual to return to work and see my desk packed full of boxes. I guess I will ask next time before I order something for hand delivery to the client. 

I looked on the web and found that the local Lowes store in Glenmont has those Big Buddy Heater filters for $10 a piece. They use the standard hoses, so I won’t have to buy anything additional, although I do need to replace that hose that has the leak. I hear leaking propane sometimes makes a very loud bang. But it sure beats getting another “quick release” regulator hose and have the regulator fail. I thought the quick release hose was a good deal even though not cheap compared to a filter needing occasional replacement but now I disagree. I think I will buy two filters  in case one gets plugged while camping. So much mud in the wilderness. The regular hoses aren’t difficult to disconnect. It’s sucks to be in woods on a cold morning and not be able to make your chair nice and toasty. It will be good to have all standardized hoses, so they are interchangeable — and they have pressure valves in them, so they don’t have to be bled before switching appliances.

I was having some temporary issues with the blog, so this weather update wasn’t posted earlier. Sometimes when NOAA’s feed goes down or otherwise breaks I don’t have access to the weather updates I need to update the blog. Which was fine because I was so tired taking the bus home. I thought I would get a good night’s sleep in my truck cap last night but it was not to be. Oh, well.  

The whole thing about the buffoon for president is he scares me on the global scene, although the president is only one actor in the federal government. I hope we don’t go to war with North Korea or any nuclear power. The rise of reactionary right wingers across the world is scary, especially with the news of the recent French elections. Old style liberalism and globalism may be reaching it end, and reactionary conservative populism may be on the rise but the desire for change hopefully won’t end too destructively. I mean I am sympathetic to some parts of conservative populism as I think liberalism has at times gone too far but our demand for change shouldn’t come at the cost of global destruction. Just harping on the negative in liberalism and ignoring the burning world won’t get us anywhere but our destruction. 

I probably should think about bed. Not in a bed covered with LINE-X. I miss nights in the wilderness. 

I was hearing about President Trump’s tax reform idea and was thinking what would be the most effective, job creating tax proposal out there. I think it would be a carbon tax.

Right now, America does not tax fossil fuels based on their carbon content. President Bill Clinton once proposed taxing carbon using a “BTU tax” but the idea never really got off the ground. But that was 25 years ago, and if anything the climate crisis has gotten more urgent. At the same time, the tax code has gotten more complicated, picking winners and losers without much of a sense of fairness.

I really like the idea of a national carbon tax. Individuals and most businesses would not pay the carbon tax — the only businesses who would pay a carbon tax would be those who extract or import carbon products into America. Certainly it would be an expense to owners of coal mines and oil and gas wells — but those are a small fraction of the American economy. While it would mean consumers would pay higher gas prices and more for heating fuel — it could be offset by growing the economy by eliminating taxes on investing and saving.

I suggest the carbon tax be used to cut taxes on businesses and investors. One of the taxes which has bothered me to no end is the tax on capital gains and on most interest-bearing investments. It just doesn’t seem right that after working hard, and paying taxes — and doing the right thing to invest money into growing the economy — I should be hit with another round of taxes. Imagine if all investments were tax free, like municipal and most government bonds are. It would encourage millions of Americans to invest their money rather then spending it on consumption. Tax the fossil fuel-burning car, not the growth of the economy.

Tax-free investments would provide billions in new capital funding, rather then being blown on frivolous things like new cars or disposable toys. If people didn’t ever have to pay on investments, they would be much more likely to save for retirement or just a better tomorrow. And because investments would be tax-free, investors wouldn’t have to report their gains to governments. It would make taxation much simpler, as your taxing much fewer people — just the carbon fuel producers, and not the general economy.

A carbon tax would allow the government to replace the Clean Power Plant program with just a tax on carbon-rich fuels. It would discourage the use of the most-carbon intensive fuels, especially dirty coal. And as many of the most carbon-intensive industries are the most polluting, it could allow government to reduce the level of regulation on many polluters, especially if there was a dramatic drop on overall emissions over time when people move away from burning large quanities of coal and oil to make energy.

This is why support replacing the Capital Gains tax and the tax on interest-gaining investments with a Carbon Tax.

Major Dry Spells (PDF)

Meteorologists say that Albany's climate is getting wetter. One effect of the wetter climate in Albany is that major dry spells are becoming less common in the Albany-area. Indeed between 1995 and 2015, there was not a single period of 14 days without some sort of precipitation. That is the longest recorded period without a dry period in Albany. We did have a dry periods during the spring 2015 and the winter of 2016, but both just barely over the definition (14 days and 15 days).