Ernesto critique; read this, feel older
Tropical Storm Ernesto turned into an, er ... fizz-o, at least as far as Florida was concerned.
Coming ashore at Plantation at the southernmost tip of the Sunshine State Wednesday morning, the storm weakened to a tropical depression as it lumbered its way north before exiting near Daytona Beach. It intensified in the Atlantic Ocean, though, and had near-hurricane winds when it made landfall near the North-South Carolina borders Thursday.
All we got on the Island was a bit of a drizzle and a cloudy day. In fact, a line of thunderstorms coming in from the Gulf of Mexico early Thursday morning produced more rain than all of Ernesto's "wrath."
There has been some discussion in the media regarding the National Hurricane Center and the projected long-range forecast track and intensity of Ernesto. Some have pointed out that extrapolating the track early in the storm's formation had landfall in the Texas-Louisiana area, then Tampa Bay, and then finally its final destination of South Florida and the Carolinas. Why the huge swing? some have voiced, or penned.
In reality, the NHC was pretty right-on with the "cone of indecision." Remember that just a little wobble in a storm can result, in a five-day projected path, to hundreds of miles of discrepancy.
NHC forecasters kept repeating in their advisories that they expected the storm to veer to the east - it did - and expected it to weaken as it passed Cuba, which it also did.
Was the Ernesto forecast path as arrow-straight as when the weather gurus predicted for Hurricane Katrina last year? No, but Katrina didn't have all those pesky islands like Haiti and Cuba to contend with either, just a wide-open Gulf.
And kudos have to go to the NHC and the Cuban government and weather authorities, too, for a long-standing but seldom-reported easing of U.S.-Cuba relations during a weather emergency. Hurricane hunter aircraft are allowed pretty much carte-blanche flyovers during storms, with data available to all. Ditto any information Cuban weather watchers glean.
Keep up the good work, all.
... and now, to feel really old
Beloit College in Wisconsin has been offering a quick guide to faculty and all the rest of us that has put some age on more than a few people.
One of the college's humanities professors has come up with a quick history of what the incoming freshman class has experienced it its 18 years of life. It's meant as a guide to staff as to life-experiences they can expect from their students. It also serves as a rude awakening to the rest of us.
Can they be that young? Yep.
"Most 18-year-old students entering the class of 2010 this fall were born in 1988," the college reports on its Web site. "They grew up with a mouse in one hand and a computer screen as part of their worldview. They learned to surf the Internet as they learned to read. While they were still in their cribs, the 20th century started to close as the Berlin Wall came down, the Soviet bloc disintegrated, and frequent traditional wars in Latin America gave way to the uncontrolled terrors of the Middle East."
The list "is an important reminder to faculty, some of whom are only a Ph.D. older than their students, that what we call 'hardening of the references' can set in quickly. It is meant to be thought-provoking and fun, yet accurate. It often provides the base for good opening seminar discussions as faculty and students address the challenges of examining important issues from differing perspectives."
Below is part of the "Belolit College Mindset List." For incoming college freshmen:
- The Soviet Union has never existed and therefore is about as scary as the student union.
- They have known only two presidents.
- For most of their lives, major U.S. airlines have been bankrupt.
- Manuel Noriega has always been in jail in the United States.
- They have grown up getting lost in "big boxes."
- There has always been only one Germany.
- They have never heard anyone actually "ring it up" on a cash register.
- They are wireless, yet always connected.
- A stained blue dress is as famous to their generation as a third-rate burglary was to their parents'.
- Thanks to pervasive headphones in the back seat, parents have always been able to speak freely in the front.
- A coffee has always taken longer to make than a milkshake.
- Smoking has never been permitted on U.S. airlines.
- Faux fur has always been a necessary element of style.
- The Moral Majority has never needed an organization.
- They have never had to distinguish between the St. Louis Cardinals baseball and football teams.
- DNA fingerprinting has always been admissible evidence in court.
- They grew up pushing their own miniature shopping carts in the supermarket.
- They grew up with and have outgrown faxing as a means of communication.
- "Google" has always been a verb.
- Text messaging is their e-mail.
- Mr. Rogers, not Walter Cronkite, has always been the most trusted man in America.
- Bar codes have always been on everything, from library cards and snail mail to retail items.
- Madden has always been a game, not a Superbowl-winning coach.
- Phantom of the Opera has always been on Broadway.
- "Boogers" candy has always been a favorite for grossing out parents.
- Carbon copies are oddities found in their grandparents' attics.
- Non-denominational mega-churches have always been the fastest growing religious organizations in the U.S.
- They grew up in mini-vans.
- Reality shows have always been on television.
- They have no idea why we needed to ask "...can we all get along?"
- They have always known that, "In the criminal justice system, the people have been represented by two separate yet equally important groups."
- Young women's fashions have never been concerned with where the waist is.
- They have rarely mailed anything using a stamp.
- Brides have always worn white for a first, second, or third wedding.
- Being techno-savvy has always been inversely proportional to age.
- "So" as in "Sooooo New York," has always been a drawn-out adjective modifying a proper noun, which in turn modifies something else.
- Affluent troubled teens in Southern California have always been the subjects of television series.
- They have always been able to watch wars and revolutions live on television.
- Ken Burns has always been producing very long documentaries on PBS.
- They are not aware that "flock of seagulls hair" has nothing to do with birds flying into it.
- Retin-A has always made America look less wrinkled.
- Green tea has always been marketed for health purposes.
- Public school officials have always had the right to censor school newspapers.
- Small white holiday lights have always been in style.
- Most of them never had the chance to eat bad airline food.
- They have always been searching for "Waldo."
- The really rich have regularly expressed exuberance with outlandish birthday parties.
- They never played the game of state license plates in the car.
- They have always preferred going out in groups as opposed to dating.
- There have always been live organ donors.
- They have always had access to their own credit cards.
- They have never put their money in a "savings and loan."
- Bad behavior has always been getting captured on amateur videos.
- Disneyland has always been in Europe and Asia.
- They never saw Bernard Shaw on CNN.
- Beach volleyball has always been a recognized sport.
- Acura, Lexus and Infiniti have always been luxury cars of choice.
- Television stations have never concluded the broadcast day with the national anthem.
- LoJack transmitters have always been finding lost cars.
- Diane Sawyer has always been live on Prime Time.
- Dolphin-free canned tuna has always been on sale.
- Disposable contact lenses have always been available.
- "Outing" has always been a threat.
- Oh, The Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss has always been the perfect graduation gift.
- They have always "dissed" what they don't like.
- The United States has always been studying global warming to confirm its existence.
- Richard M. Daley has always been the mayor of Chicago.
- They grew up with virtual pets to feed, water and play games with, lest they die.
- Ringo Starr has always been clean and sober.
- Professional athletes have always competed in the Olympics.
Super Typhoon Ioke made landfall with little notice last week on the Pacific island of Wake. The island's 2,500 people were totally evacuated before the storm's 150-mph winds reached its shores.