"When the first polar vortex hit"? The polar vortex has existed since time immemorial. It's been undulating around and doing things and making for severe winter weather for a similar amount of time; the blizzard of '67 would probably have been blamed on it if we'd had enough weather satellites up to sense the thing. There are polar vortices at both ends of the globe, and the southern polar vortex is the prime driver behind the ozone "hole". None of this is new.
The XKCD strip makes the point that warming is the trend and the unusual cold is just weather, the same way the warmist folks do. The problem is, warming isn't the trend and hasn't been for fifteen years, and if the next few solar cycles continue the weakness displayed by this one cooling will be the trend...and the people who are now blaming global warming on human carbon emissions will change gears and blame the global cooling on whatever sounds halfway plausible to them.
Meanwhile the high temperature for today appears to be about 1° and we're slated to hit -19° tonight.
None of this would bother me very much if it weren't for the fact that #CABLE_SERVICE_PROVIDER is having trouble with its distribution system. When the mercury dips below about 10-15°, our cable and internet turn amazingly crappy. Last night I measured our ping time with an on-line tool, and while the ping time was moderately acceptable at 39 milliseconds, the jitter (variance between successive pings) was 59 milliseconds. In other words, one ping would make the round trip in 39 seconds but the next one would make it in 98 milliseconds.
Our download speed was ten percent of what it should have been.
We've had a tech out twice now because this issue makes it all but impossible to enjoy watching any TV; when it gets this cold, about twenty percent of the time we're watching video compression artifacts instead of actual video. The most recent visit yielded no useful information and the tech didn't really do anything but tell us about how something in the system is failing in the cold weather, and #CABLE_SERVICE_PROVIDER has to find it, blah blah blah etcetera.
Needless to say, it makes WoW unplayable.
This is the one advantage DSL has over cable: the physical plant is, for the most part, below the freeze line, and not subject to temperature variations.
Regardless, until #CABLE_SERVICE_PROVIDER locates the problem in the wiring and fixes it--or spring arrives--we're going to continue to have crappy Internet and tiling on the TV. Argh etc.
Meanwhile, yesterday I blew down the driveway yet again, as I have done at least once per week since the year began, and I put the last of the 2-cycle gas into the blower. This marks the first winter since I got the thing that I've needed more than one gallon of gas to get me through the winter. In fact, the gas I just used up is leftover from last year (if not the year before!) so that puts into perspective just how much snow we've gotten this year as compared to prior ones. Sheesh.
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Borepatch has a good discussion on why green energy is a fool's game.
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So the next world war will start in the Sea of Japan, I guess, over a jumble of worthless rocks, because China's pride is at stake, or something.
The idea is that China will seize control of these islands with a "surgical strike" and that the US and Japan will essentially accept it as a fait acccompli with a shrug of their shoulders.
The Chinese professional suggested that this limited strike could be effected without provoking a broader conflict. The strike would have great symbolic value, demonstrating to China, Japan, and the rest of the world who was boss. But it would not be so egregious a move that it would force America and Japan to respond militarily and thus lead to a major war.China is fooling itself.
Just about every time such a silly thing has been tried, the people trying it have fooled themselves by saying, "What are they going to do about it? They're not going to do anything about it! What can they do? Start a war?" ...all without thinking that perhaps the other guy is going to regard their actions themselves as starting a war.
If such a strike has "great symbolic value" then the other interested parties must respond militarily. In international politics the appearance of weakness is itself weakness (ask Jimmy Carter).
The only thing China has on its side is the presidency of Barack Hussein Obama. He's not going to want to commit US forces to a conflict against a communist nation (since he's a fellow traveler himself, albeit cloaked) and so Japan must either go it alone or let China have its way. Either way is not good, and even if the US doesn't get involved other nations will, because there are plenty of countries around who have a vested interest in keeping China contained, and some of those countries have some major hardware.
Like? Russia. Japan and Russia going to war against China would be interesting, given how things were in WW2, but although Russia and China were fellow travelers for the latter half of the 20th century the two countries nonetheless hate each other. Russia's interest would be academic at best until and unless China acted to do something to Japan that incidentally also injured Russia...and then the bear would go to war.
The instant China thinks it can get away with it, they'll make a move; war will start, and China will be bitching and moaning about how it's everyone else's fault that there's a war.
Because that's how these things go.
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It's been 18 years since Hillary Clinton drove a car. How much does it cost to buy a gallon of gas? Does she even know? --or care?
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It's bitter cold outside and there's nothing that needs doing. I could be with my wife in a cozy bed.
What am I doing here?