2017 October 06

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Burnt-Rossman State Forest
Climate Change
Criminal Justice
Delmar, NY
John Burroughs Memorial State Historic Site
Labrador Hollow Unique Area
Power Plants
Tricentennial Park

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

Study Shows That Cities Are Safer Than Rural Areas, Despite Crime

"Now it’s true that the risk of homicide is greater in big cities than it is in the countryside. But the study, which analyzed 1,295,919 deaths from injury between 1999 and 2006, found the rate of dying from an unintentional injury is over 15 times higher than that of homicide for the population as a whole. Whether you live in rural areas or the city, you’re much less likely to die from a gunshot wound — either from someone else or self-inflicted — than you are in a simple accident. Especially car crashes, which make up the bulk of unintentional injury deaths — motor-vehicle-injury-related deaths occurred at a rate that is more than 1.4 times higher than the next leading cause of death."

NOAA: Assessing the U.S. Climate in September 2017

"Since June 2017, six additional weather and climate events impacted the nation that had direct, total costs exceeding $1 billion. These new events included the western U.S. wildfires, the Northern Plains drought, a severe weather event in the Midwest, and major Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. This brings the year-to-date total to 15 separate billion-dollar weather and climate disasters, tying 2011 for the record number of events during January–September. The record number of billion-dollar disasters for a calendar year is 16 events set in 2011. Cost estimates associated with the 2017 hurricanes will be available in January 2018."

"The September nationally averaged temperature was 66.3°F, 1.4°F above the 20th century average, and ranked among the warmest third of the historical record. Near-record warmth was observed in parts of the Great Lakes and Northeast. The year-to-date U.S. average temperature was the third warmest on record at 57.7°F, 2.7°F above average. Only January–September of 2012 and 2016 were warmer. Above-average temperatures spanned the nation for the first nine months of the year."

Happy Columbus Day Weekend! Mostly cloudy and 64 degrees in Delmar, NY. Calm wind. The dew point is 56 degrees. The skies will clear tomorrow around 5 pm.

Traffic is moving slowly out of the city, but then again its rush hour so I’m hardly shocked. A few more blocks and the bus will accelerate onto the Delmar bypass and we will be making good progress again. Then a quiet long weekend. Deep breath. 

The sun will set at 6:27 pm with dusk around 6:55 pm, which is one minute and 43 seconds earlier than yesterday. At sunset, look for mostly cloudy conditions and 64 degrees. The dew point will be 56 degrees. There will be a calm wind.

Going to be a quiet weekend now that I am planning to delay my autumn trip for now. Next week is going to be quite wet. It’s fine, I’d rather be at work than stuck spending a lot of money to camp in the rain. At any rate, I’m tired and will enjoy a nice quiet weekend. Monday is Columbus Day so I have it off but it will pour from the remnants of Tropical Storm Nate. Camping during the Remnants of Hurricane Harvey was really no fun, even if I did enjoy a good book by the ever so smokey campfire. Watching the plastic yogurt container melt in the coals was pretty neat too but I’ll have more chances to camp before the end of the year. Maybe even as soon as next weekend I’ll reschedule my trip. If I go next week, there will still be good colors in many lower elevations although this dry autumn has kind of made the autumn colors a bust. At least no snow yet and the rest of autumn is predicted to be quite warm.  

Tonight will be mostly cloudy, with a low of 55 degrees at 5am. 12 degrees above normal. Maximum dew point of 56 at 6pm. Calm wind. In 2016, we had clear skies with more clouds in the early hours of the next day. It got down to 44 degrees. The record low of 27 occurred back in 1986.

Tonight will have a Waning Gibbous Moon with 92% illuminated with the moon rising at 8:00 pm. The moon will set tomorrow at 10:03 am. The Last Quarter Moon is on Thursday night with partly cloudy skies. The Beaver Moon is in 4 weeks. The sun will rise at 6:59 am with the first light at 6:31 am, which is one minute and 7 seconds later than yesterday. Tonight will have 12 hours and 33 minutes of darkness, an increase of 2 minutes and 52 seconds over last night.

Tomorrow will be mostly cloudy, with a high of 79 degrees at 3pm. 16 degrees above normal. Maximum dew point of 63 at 4pm. Light south wind increasing to 5 to 10 mph in the morning. A year ago, we had mostly sunny skies. The high last year was 75 degrees. The record high of 89 was set in 1963.

Looking ahead to Sunday, a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 81. South wind 11 to 14 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms. Maximum dew point of 67 at 11am. Typical average high for the weekend is 63 degrees.

In four weeks on November 3 the sun will be setting at 5:44 pm, which is 42 minutes and 8 seconds earlier then today. Almost a month out to Daylight Saving time. In 2016 on that day, we had rain, drizzle, mist, cloudy skies and temperatures between 59 and 51 degrees. Typically, you have temperatures between 53 and 35 degrees. The record high of 75 degrees was set back in 1990.

Looking ahead, Friday the 13th (October) is in 1 week and Election Day 2018 is in 13 months.

Percentage of Murders Committed with Firearms, 2016

Despite popular stereotypes, generally the Western and Upper Mid-Western States have the lowest percentage of homicides committed with firearms while the southern states have some of the highest. Started states (Alabama and Illinois) are those with incomplete data. Florida does not report method of murder to the federal government.

Data Source: FBI, Unified Crime Reporting System, 2016. Table 12. Percentage of Murders Committed with Firearms versus Other Methods. https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2016/crime-in-the-u.s.-2016/topic-pages/violent-crime/murder

Traffic Deaths Continue to Rise in U.S., But Don’t Blame Texting

"Traffic fatalities in the U.S. rose for the second-straight year in 2016 despite a dip in crash deaths linked to distracted driving, according to data released by federal highway safety regulators."

"Some 37,461 people died in vehicle collisions in 2016, the highest annual tally since 2007, according to NHTSA figures. The 5.6 percent rise in traffic deaths last year came after a 8.4 percent spike in 2015, which was the largest annual increase since the mid-1960’s."

"Fatalities from distracted drivers, such as those texting, fell 2.2 percent last year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported Friday. Deaths linked to other risky behaviors such as speeding, drunk driving and not wearing seat belts contributed to an overall gain in fatalities, the agency said. Drunk driving was blamed for the most deaths."

Public education alert: Americans still support nuclear weapons use

"In what may be the most depressing article I’ve read since the epithets “Rocket Man” and “Dotard” entered the global lexicon, The Harvard Crimson reports that public approval of nuclear weapons use remains strong in the United States. In an appearance at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Stanford University nuclear expert Scott Sagan cited an August study that shows 60 percent of Americans supporting a decision to use atomic bombs that killed 100,000 Iranian civilians, if it meant that 20,000 American soldiers weren’t sacrificed in a ground attack on Iran, the Crimson reported. And almost 60 percent of those surveyed supported a nuclear air strike that killed two million Iranian civilians, if it meant 20,000 American soldiers didn’t have to lose their lives in an invasion."

Solar Energy Boom Sets New Records, Shattering Expectations

"Driven largely by a boom in solar power, renewable energy expansion has hit record-breaking totals across the globe and is shattering expectations, especially in the United States, where projections were pessimistic just a decade ago."

"In 2016, almost two-thirds of new power capacity came from renewables, bypassing net coal generation growth globally for the first time. Most of the expansion came from a 50 percent growth in solar, much of it in China."

"In the U.S., solar power capacity doubled compared to 2015—itself a record-breaking year—with the country adding 14.5 gigawatts of solar power, far outpacing government projections. In the first half of 2017, wind and solar accounted for 10 percent of monthly electricity generation for the first time. "