Letters to the Editor—April 29, 2010

April 29, 2010 // 0 Comments

Home grown scientist comments on climate column With regards to changes in the frequency and intensity of tropical storms over time, the status of current research is, as you note, inconclusive. The problem of extracting definitive conclusions from the data is complicated by many factors, including the evolution (and variety) of measurement techniques, gaps in the historical storm record, diverse methods of quantifying storm intensity, and the complex and localized nature of tropical storms themselves. The most accurate and consistent long-term data sample comes from studies of the North Atlantic, so let’s avoid some of these complications by restricting our focus here. For example, the Pew Center on Global Climate Change claims that the average number of named tropical storms in the North Atlantic since 1996 has exceeded the previous historical maximum set in the 1950s by approximately 40%. You may argue that this is merely the result of spotty historical data being compared to complete modern data; you may reference other studies or measures of storm frequency that show no statistically significant trend; you may claim that the change is a normal multi-decadal variation; and you would be right to so! Nevertheless, it is just one of many studies that at least suggest a long-term trend of increased storm frequency. Clearly, further study is required. But tropical storm frequency, as it turns out, is less meaningful than intensity, and here the research becomes rather abstruse. You cite Ryan Maue, a Florida State University PhD candidate, whose studies of net global “Accumulated Cyclone Energy” (the integrated sum of all cyclones’ maximum wind speed squared) are very interesting. ACE is a convolution of global storm frequency, intensity, and duration, so it falls a bit outside the stated bounds of discussion. Still, as a comparison, let’s also consider MIT Professor of Meteorology Kerry Emanuel’s “Power Dissipation Index” (the integrated sum of cyclones’ maximum sustained wind speed cubed). Although similar in definition to Maue’s ACE, Emanuel’s PDI indicates a ~60% increase over the past thirty years in the North Atlantic. It is highly correlated with the surface sea temperature, which itself is correlated with global warming. There’s obviously a good deal of natural variability in the frequency and intensity of tropical storms, and, as discussed, making conclusions about […]

Main Street by Roger Allen, publisher

April 29, 2010 // 0 Comments

Problem solving?—We hope Congress finally got through the health insurance issue; now it’s regulation of the financial industry. Can you believe what some of those guys did?—selling bad mortgages likely to default, and then making big bucks by betting they WILL default? It was SO easy for regular people to get mortgages they really couldn’t afford. Easy mortgages with low or even $0 down payments drove housing prices up into a big, fragile bubble. Some people couldn’t afford to pay their mortgages and, POP! went the bubble as house prices started to fall. Many people ended up owing more than their houses were worth and just walked away. So: lots of houses on the market; supply and demand; prices fell even more. A lot of people are hurting from this and other disastrous financial scenarios. A few people, however, got filthy rich from such shenanigans. Let’s hope Congress can pass regulation that will protect us better in the future. Then, maybe Congress could move on to the immigration problem. City blowing smoke? Yes, it did! Last week city workers pumped smoke into the sewer pipes to find leaks, broken pipes, and “illegal” connections. They found a lot of them, too. Too much clean water was flowing through the sewers. That will all be fixed so the sewer water will be nice and dirty. (No use treating clean water to make it cleaner.) Sin? What sin? A minister told his congregation, “Next week I plan to preach about the sin of lying. To help you understand my sermon, I want you all to read Mark 17.” The following Sunday, as he prepared to deliver his sermon, the minister asked for a show of hands. How many had read Mark 17? Every hand went up. The minister smiled and said, “Mark has only 16 chapters. I will now proceed with my sermon on the sin of lying.” Cause and effect? A well-dressed man was accosted by a particularly grubby-looking homeless guy who asked for a couple of dollars for dinner. The man took out his wallet, extracted 10 dollars, and said, “If I give you this money, will you buy beer with it instead of dinner?” “No, I had to stop drinking years ago,” the homeless guy […]

Opinions — March 18, 2010

March 18, 2010 // 0 Comments

Readers respond to Squire opinion column Journalism is a service industry and the service we provide is awareness. Armed with that awareness many Squire readers responded to an opinion piece that appeared in the January 21 edition of the Squire. Titled “Michigan a dysfunction State of being,” the column focused readers attention on the hardship being imposed on a new Rockford restaurant by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC). At the time the column appeared in the paper the new Mexican eatery, Cinco de Mayo, had been waiting almost eight months for the MLCC to issue a liquor license. The coveted license was the missing link to the restaurants future success. Squire readers responded to the lengthy injustice described in the column by sending letters of concern to the Governors’ office and to the offices of state senator Mark Jensen and state representative Tom Pearce. It appears that in short order the message got to the MLCC which shortly thereafter issued the long sought license on February 18, 2010. Sharon Martin, acting director of the MLCC was quoted last week in another local paper saying,” our goal is to issue a license within 90 days of receiving the application.” No one would disagree that goals are good. But goals are meaningless and just become more rhetoric unless they can be achieved. Martin is further quoted as saying the license application was filed in August of 2009. We find that interesting because the MLCC official website clearly states that the initial application was received by MLCC on June 3, 2009. You do the math. From June 3, 2009 to February 18, 2010 is an appalling nine-and-a-half months from application receipt to license issuance. So much for 90 days! At long last, all’s well that ends well, a new Rockford dining establishment can now serve a delicious ice-cold margarita or other libation with their fine Mexican cuisine. The would like to thank their many readers who responded with letters of concern sent to elected government officials. Taking the time to write a letter and address an envelope speaks volumes to our elected leaders. You should all be very proud of yourselves.

Main Street by Roger Allen, publisher — March 18, 2010

March 18, 2010 // 0 Comments

Exponential Our Expo is developing. Last year it drew some big crowds. This year it looks like there might be 170 booths and we’re starting to get them from out of town. Be sure to go. Unlike some similar events, this one is free! Green rocks and a tin box After Christmas, a teacher asked the kids how they spent the holiday away from school. One child wrote the following: We went to visit Grandma and Grandpa. They used to live in a big brick house but Grandpa got retarded and they moved to Arizona. Now they live in a tin box and have rocks painted green to look like grass. They ride around on their bicycles and wear nametags because they don’t know who they are anymore. They go to a building called a wreck-center, but it must have got fixed because it’s okay now. Grandma and Grandpa do exercises there, but they don’t do them very well. At their gate, there is a dollhouse with a little old man sitting in it. He watches all day so nobody can escape. Sometimes they sneak out, and go cruising in their golf carts. Nobody there cooks, they just eat out. And they eat the same thing every night – early birds. Some of the people can’t get out past the man in the dollhouse. The ones who do get out bring food back to the wreck-center for potluck. My Grandma says that Grandpa worked all his life to earn getting retarded. And she says I should work hard so I can be retarded someday, too. When I get retarded, I want to be the man in the dollhouse. Then I will let people out so they can visit their grandchildren. Luck of the Irish Paddy was driving down the street in a sweat because he had an important meeting and couldn’t find a parking place. Looking up to heaven he said, “Lord, take pity on me. If you find me a parking place I’ll go to Mass every Sunday for the rest of me life and give up me Irish whiskey!” Miraculously, a parking place appeared. Paddy looked up again and said, “Never mind, I found one.” About Face I tried to get on Face […]

Main Street by Roger Allen, publisher — March 4, 2010

March 4, 2010 // 0 Comments

  Let’s see… I think I have this right: The drug companies gave money to help our elected representatives get reelected. In gratitude, Congress voted to keep the government from bargaining with the drug companies over drug prices. That worked, so they gave our elected representatives more money to keep things the same. Then, insurance companies gave our elected representatives money to help with their reelections. In gratitude, Congress rejected “the public option,” which would have meant competition (and lower income) for the insurance companies. Drug companies and insurance companies got their profits; Congress people got re-elected. It’s a win-win situation—except for us. Out of reach In 1938, the first issue of Action Comics, featuring Superman, was published. I was 10 years old and my allowance was 5¢ a week. The comic cost 10¢ and I never had two nickels to rub together. I sat on the floor in front of the magazine rack, reading for free until the shopkeeper chased me out. Last week, one copy of that original comic was offered at auction. It went for one million dollars. It’s been 72 years and I still can’t afford it! Saw this coming? This blonde guy is looking to buy a saw to cut down some trees in his backyard. He goes to a chainsaw shop. The dealer says, “Why don’t you save yourself a lot of time and aggravation and get the top-of-the-line model? This chainsaw will cut a hundred cords of wood for you in one day.” So the man takes the chainsaw home and begins working on the trees. After cutting for several hours and getting only two cords, he decides to quit. “How can I cut for hours and only have two cords?” The next morning, the man gets up at 4 a.m. and cuts and cuts and cuts till nightfall, and still he manages to cut only five cords. “The dealer told me I’d be able to cut one hundred cords of wood in a day. I’ll take this saw back,” the man says to himself. The next day he brings the saw back to the dealer and explains the problem. The dealer, baffled by the man’s claim, removes the chainsaw from the case. “Hmm,” says the dealer, “it […]

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