2017 December 14

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

Good evening! Partly clear and 11 degrees in Delmar, NY. There is a west-northwest breeze at 9 mph. The current wind chill is -2. Definitely felt that cold walking home from the library. Maybe not painfully cold but cold. Sidewalks and my driveway is quite icy too. I forgot what it was like with the icy sidewalks in town. 

Tonight will be partly cloudy, with a low of 6 degrees at 6am. 15 degrees below normal. Maximum wind chill around 0 at 1am; West wind 5 to 9 mph becoming light after midnight. In 2016, we had mostly clear skies with more clouds in the early hours of the next day. It got down to 6 degrees. The record low of -8 occurred back in 1874.

Tonight will have a Waning Crescent Moon with 9% illuminated.The moon will rise tomorrow at 4:34 am. The New Moon is on Sunday night with partly cloudy skies. The sun will rise at 7:18 am with the first light at 6:46 am, which is 44 seconds later than yesterday. Tonight will have 14 hours and 56 minutes of darkness, an increase of 27 seconds over last night.

Tomorrow will have increasing clouds, with a high of 26 degrees at 2pm. 10 degrees below normal. South wind around 6 mph. A year ago, we had mostly sunny skies. The high last year was 27 degrees. Just about as cold. The record high of 61 was set in 2015. 8.2 inches of snow fell back in 1968.

Another cold day ahead. It doesn’t really matter much to me though as I will be back at work. I enjoyed my day off even if all I really did is went for a short walk at Five Rivers Environmental Education Center, then to the store and then later to the library. I have the stuff I need for pasta salad tomorrow, I just have to boil the noodles, thaw the chicken and mix it up. Definitely a cold day but I enjoyed the cold weather from inside.

With the cold, I was surprised how much the battery voltage dropped when I hit the door unlock button and the headlights came on, but the truck started with ease. I think it’s just cold and in this weather the voltage drop will be much greater. The voltage meter is mostly for my safety when camping, just so I can glance in the truck while parked and ensure that the voltage is fully charged. It does read lower in the cold, especially under load.

Traffic getting to Shoprite through the rotaries at rush hour was pretty easy, and Shoprite wasn’t too crowded. So that went smoothly. I was happy about that as I didn’t feel like driving to Walmart. I am still thinking about ordering my jeans and other supplies online from Walmart rather than go to the store, especially with free shipping and lower prices. Honestly, Shoprite has better prices than Walmart for groceries and I wouldn’t mind the convenience of buying Walmart stuff online although I know somethings like ammunition and lighter fluid can only be bought at the store. Walmart in store now sells lighter fluid in non toxic HDPE plastic which is a big step up from PVC which stinks and is quite toxic when burnt.

Still thinking about heading out camping for a Christmas camping trip next weekend. It will be hot tenting in snow but I may do the Adirondacks this year as long as it is not too darn cold. I just need to get an early enough start because the sun sets early this time of year and there is a lot more to set up snow camping. As I noted earlier, I’d rather spend Christmas in God’s country under the stars then some consumerist celebration with artificial lights under a tree stuck inside a house.

Well, it’s time for me to get some sleep. 

Reclaiming Appalachia: A Push to Bring Back Native Forests to Coal Country

It's interesting to watch the progress they've made at the Winslow Hill Elk Area and also the Flight 93 Monument ...

"Such aggressive bulldozing is part of a new and evolving approach to healing forests destroyed by decades of surface coal mining in Appalachia, from Alabama to Pennsylvania. These lands were supposed to have been reclaimed in recent decades under the 1977 federal Surface Mine Control and Reclamation Act. But scientists and conservationists say that many of those reclamation efforts were failed or half-hearted efforts that did little more than throw dirt, mining debris, grass, and non-native trees over scarred lands."

"Now, Green Forests Work and other groups are attempting ecological do-overs with the aim of restoring native forests on large swaths of previously reclaimed public and private lands throughout Appalachia. The deep-ripping technique developed by Barton, with support from a team of other scientists, involves uprooting the non-native trees and grasses planted by coal companies and starting the entire land restoration process from scratch."

"At 2,000 acres, Cheat Mountain is Green Forests Work’s largest undertaking since it began operating as a nonprofit in 2013. Barton has partnered with public and private funders to coordinate the planting of more than 2 million trees on 3,300-plus acres in Appalachia. Other former mining sites that it is tackling include a 130-acre plot within the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville, Pa., the former mine site where one of the four hijacked planes crashed on Sept. 11, 2001; a 110-acre site near Fishtrap Lake in Pike County, Ky.; and a 86-acre area within the Egypt Valley Wildlife Area in eastern Ohio. These and other planned restoration sites are part of an estimated 1 million acres that the federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) has designated as legacy coal mine sites."

The Human Cost of the Ghost Economy

"Last year I worked undercover at a temp agency in Los Angeles. While I took the assignment for an article I was working on, I’d also been unemployed for over a year. It seemed I was in that middling space of over-qualified for entry-level jobs, under-qualified for the jobs I most desired, and aged out or irrelevant as a labor union organizer, where I’d gained the bulk of my work experience."

"One altered resume later I joined a temp agency and became the biggest ghost of them all, a member of America’s invisible workforce: people who ship goods for big box stores like Wal-Mart or Marshalls, sort recyclables for Waste Management, fulfill online orders for Nike, bottle rum for Bacardi. I’d found my squad, a cadre of screw-ups, felons, floozies, single moms, the differently abled, students, immigrants, the homeless and hungry, the overqualified and under-qualified, all of us ghosted by the traditional marketplace."

I don’t really celebrate Christmas these days. Sure I will go out to my parents house for Christmas dinner, but I don’t decorate or do much special for the holiday season. I don’t have any decorations in my apartment and I don’t hang up lights. I’m not really all that much into Christmas music or the hustle bustle of the stores. It’s just not a holiday that does much for me, especially not being a particularly religious person.

I think I would rather just spend Christmas in the wilderness, looking at the trees glimmering in the snow, enjoying a long night by the campfire. With the snow I usually can’t camp with the power from my truck to run the colorful Christmas lights, but I can have lots of candlelights, and the lantern works well. The Big Buddy heater will help to keep my chair warm and my tent toasty. Listen to some Christmas music and maybe some podcasts, enjoy the stars and God’s beauty, then retire to the tent for a nice warm night in cozy sleeping bags.

nycmap $id

nycmap $id

nycmap $id

Car Crashes in Albany County, 2014

During the year in Albany County, there were 10,542 property damage crashes, 3,189 property damage and injury crashes, 1,179 injury crashes, and 36 fatal crashes. This only looks at number of vehicles involved in crashes, not the number of passengers in the cars that may have been injured or killed. Note: 2014 is the most recent year that car crash data is available online from the NYSDMV.

Data Source: Motor Vehicle Crashes - Case Information, NYSDMV. https://data.ny.gov/Transportation/Motor-Vehicle-Crashes-Case-Information-Three-Year-/e8ky-4vqe