Flash Flood Watch — Richmond, VA

I just wanted to let everyone know that RIchmond, VA is under a flash flood watch till Friday evening.  Come on Ernesto!

Flash Flood Watch

/O.CON.KAKQ.FF.A.0003.000000T0000Z- 060902T0000Z/ /00000.0.ER.000000T0000Z. 000000T0000Z.000000T0000Z.OO/ NORTHAMPTON NC-HERTFORD-GATES- PASQUOTANK-CAMDEN-INLAND CURRITUCK- BERTIE-CHOWAN-PERQUIMANS-OUTER BANKS CURRITUCK-PRINCE EDWARD- CUMBERLAND- MECKLENBURG-LUNENBURG-NOTTOWAY-AMELIA- POWHATAN- CHESTERFIELD-HENRICO- BRUNSWICK-DINWIDDIE-PRINCE GEORGE- CHARLES CITY-NEW KENT-GLOUCESTER- MATHEWS-GREENSVILLE-SUSSEX-SURRY- JAMES CITY-YORK-SOUTHAMPTON-ISLE OF WIGHT-NEWPORT NEWS/HAMPTON- NORFOLK/PORTSMOUTH-SUFFOLK-CHESAPEAKE- VIRGINIA BEACH- NORTHAMPTON VA- INCLUDING THE CITIES OF… MARGARETTSVILLE…AHOSKIE… ELIZABETH CITY…EDENTON…COROLLA…FARMVILLE… SOUTH HILL… CREWE…COLONIAL HEIGHTS…RICHMOND…LAWRENCEVILLE… PETERSBURG…HOPEWELL…EMPORIA… WAKEFIELD…WILLIAMSBURG… POQUOSON… FRANKLIN…NEWPORT NEWS…HAMPTON… EASTVILLE 1257 PM EDT THU AUG 31 2006

…FLASH FLOOD WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT THROUGH FRIDAY EVENING…

THE FLASH FLOOD WATCH CONTINUES FOR

* PORTIONS OF NORTHEAST NORTH CAROLINA…CENTRAL VIRGINIA…EAST CENTRAL VIRGINIA…SOUTH CENTRAL VIRGINIA AND SOUTHEAST VIRGINIA… INCLUDING THE FOLLOWING AREAS…IN NORTHEAST NORTH CAROLINA…BERTIE… CAMDEN…CHOWAN…GATES… HERTFORD… INLAND CURRITUCK… NORTHAMPTON NC…OUTER BANKS CURRITUCK… PASQUOTANK AND PERQUIMANS IN CENTRAL VIRGINIA… AMELIA… CUMBERLAND…HENRICO… POWHATAN AND PRINCE EDWARD IN EAST CENTRAL VIRGINIA…CHARLES CITY… GLOUCESTER…MATHEWS AND NEW KENT IN SOUTH CENTRAL VIRGINIA… BRUNSWICK…CHESTERFIELD… DINWIDDIE…LUNENBURG…MECKLENBURG… NOTTOWAY AND PRINCE GEORGE IN SOUTHEAST VIRGINIA…CHESAPEAKE… GREENSVILLE…ISLE OF WIGHT…JAMES CITY…NEWPORT NEWS/HAMPTON… NORFOLK/PORTSMOUTH…NORTHAMPTON VA… SOUTHAMPTON…SUFFOLK… SURRY… SUSSEX…VIRGINIA BEACH AND YORK.

* THROUGH FRIDAY EVENING

* TROPICAL STORM ERNESTO IS EXPECTED TO MAKE LANDFALL NEAR THE BORDER OF SOUTH CAROLINA AND NORTH CAROLINA BETWEEN 8 PM AND MIDNIGHT TONIGHT. THE REMNANTS WILL THEN LIFT NORTHWARD TOWARD THE MID ATLANTIC REGION OVERNIGHT…AND WILL PUSH THROUGH SOUTHERN VIRGINIA FRIDAY AFTERNOON. SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS ACCOMPANIED BY VERY HEAVY RAIN WILL BECOME MORE WIDESPREAD DURING THE EVENING HOURS…AND WILL CONTINUE THROUGH LATE FRIDAY AFTERNOON. ADDITIONAL RAINFALL AMOUNTS OF 4 TO 8 INCHES ARE EXPECTED BEFORE THE RAIN TAPERS OFF FRIDAY EVENING. THIS WILL BRING STORM TOTAL PRECIPITATION AMOUNTS SINCE WEDNESDAY TO 5 TO 10 INCHES…WITH LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS UP TO 14 INCHES.

* RAPID RISES OF CREEKS AND STREAMS ARE POSSIBLE OVER THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS IN AREAS WHERE THUNDERSTORMS DEVELOP. FLOODING OF POOR DRAINAGE AND LOW-LYING AREAS ON ROADWAYS CAN ALSO BE EXPECTED…MAKING DRIVING EXTREMELY HAZARDOUS.

A FLASH FLOOD WATCH MEANS THAT CONDITIONS MAY DEVELOP THAT LEAD TO FLASH FLOODING. FLASH FLOODING IS A VERY DANGEROUS SITUATION.

YOU SHOULD MONITOR LATER FORECASTS AND BE PREPARED TO TAKE ACTION SHOULD FLASH FLOOD WARNINGS BE ISSUED.


To Wear a Helmet or Not?

Should you wear a helmet while bicycling or not?  I currently don’t; but I’m looking for a helmet that fits (I try on everyone in the store when I go.  I was surfing tonight and came across this Wikipedia article on Bicycle Helmets.  The text of the article may interest you:

Collision energy varies with the square of impact speed: a typical helmet will absorb the energy of a fall from a stationary or slow-moving bicycle, an impact speed of around 12mph, but will reduce the energy of a 30 mph impact to only 27.5 mph, and even this will be compromised if the helmet fails

So if you are going fast, the helmet isn’t very good.  Later on, I read:

Helmets are most effective in straight line, or linear, blows to the head at moderate speed. Helmets are not well designed to deal with high speed impacts or rotational stresses (crashes that are not centred, and involve rotation of the head). They are not designed to provide adequate protection for a collision involving another moving vehicle, (e.g. a car).

So if you are in an accident with a car, what is the point of a helmet…it isn’t designed to prtect against that threat!

The major source of serious injury to cyclists is impact with motor vehicles. Current helmet standards are inadequate to protect against such collisions, the energies involved are routinely in excess of the rated capacity of the best motorsport helmets. Helmets designed to higher standards have generally not sold well, while helmets designed to even lower standards have sold well. A helmet’s ability to absorb energy could be improved by increasing the volume of polystyrene, but this would make it thicker, heavier, and hotter to wear. The trend is towards thinner helmets with many large vents. This trend to lower standards has been noted in some of the studiesIt is relatively common for helmets to fail on test, and some helmets on sale are not certified to any accepted standard.

So here we see that helmet standards don’t protect against injury from the most common type of accident.  We also see that the trend is towards thinner lighter helmets.  Thinner = lighter = less foam stuff = less protection = what’s the point???  We then read:

Many believe that a helmet can save a cyclist’s life, an idea which is repeatedly asserted in debate. There is no sound evidential basis for this claim and there are no known cases where mass helmet use has actually reduced the number of cyclists’ deaths or serious head injuries. Association with increased risk of death has been reported. It is likely that helmets could prevent a significant number of minor cycling injuries but the overall safety benefits are inconclusive; this is thought to be in part due to risk compensation behaviour. A cost-benefit analysis of the New Zealand helmet law showed that the cost of helmets outweighed the savings in injuries even taking the most optimistic estimate of injuries prevented.

While a helmet may mitigate the effects of a fall or collision, other factors (such as maintenance, road conditions, and driver behaviour) are more important for reducing the chance of such accidents in the first place. In general, the value of bicycle helmets has been systematically overstated.

Some studies have even suggested that helmets increase risk. Although the head injury rate in the US rose by 40% as helmet use rose from 18% to 50%, this does not necessarily mean that helmets themselves increase risk.

Did you catch that? “no known cases where mass helmet use has actually reduced the number of cyclists’ deaths or serious head injuries.”

Then, I read:

Ordinary cycling is not demonstrably more dangerous than walking or driving, yet no country promotes helmets for either of these modes.

So, am I going to get a helmet?  Who knows.  Will I be safer?  It doesn’t look like it?  Or, if I am, I should also wear one while walking or skiing.  What’s the point of a bike helmet?

In the end, I think our “let’s get rid of all risk” and “blame someone else for a problem” attitude brought this on.  Clearly to be rational in our thinking, if we are going to mandate bike helmets then we should make people wear them while walking too.

[Update 05-28-2008  09:45:04] Go to this post to see a video about bike saftey .

[Update 2014-05-31 10:22:50] There’s an article in the Telegraph today with a brain surgeon talking about this.

New Seat

Forte Contour Saddle I bought me a new saddle (aka seat) for my bike yesterday.  I bought the Performance Forte Contour Saddle.  It was on sale for $24.99.  I didn't get to ride on it today except for a short jaunt to make sure I had it ok…this saddle is comfortable!

Cell Phone Minutes Used — August 2006

Anytime Minutes
415.0
Anytime Minutes Above Top Tier
10.0
Night & Weekend Minutes
306.0
Sprint Mobile to Mobile
1,135.0
Roaming Minutes
19.0

1,885.0


Sprint still has our billing messed up (the minutes above top tier and the roaming minutes shouldn't be there).

Whats Wrong With “Security” These Days?

Let's see….where do I begin.  Pilots having to take off their shoes.  Passengers having to take off their shoes.  Not being allowed to take water on a plane.  Not being allowed to take toothpaste on a plane.  I could write things like this ALL DAY LONG.  And what do people do?  They take it!  They pass it off as "They say we have to do it to be safe" or "Better safe than sorry."  Come on people!

Want another example?  How would you like your flight to be diverted, delayed for many hours, held at gunpoint, and questioned?  How would you like it if that happened because someone accidentally dropped their IPod in the lav. on the plane?!?!

Don't believe me?  Take a look at this eyewitness account of government gone awry.

Here is a teaser:

When the pilot on my Ottawa-bound United flight from Chicago last Tuesday came on the intercom to report a problem, I felt a trickle of panic, even though he assured us that there was no cause for alarm. They had discovered, he said awkwardly, an object on the plane that should not be there. He had notified the authorities at Ottawa airport, and they would handle the problem upon our arrival.

A few nervous minutes later, at around 4 p.m., we landed and taxied to a desolate spot far from the terminal. I and my fellow passengers (close to 50 of us) expected to see emergency vehicles waiting and a crew of people to rush us off the plane before this "object" exploded. No such luck. We were greeted by an eerie silence, a silence that lasted almost 40 minutes until a bus finally pulled up near our plane.

Perplexed and confused, we were ordered to disembark and told that we could bring nothing with us, not even our passports. (Apparently this order was a mistake because we were expected later to have our identifying documents with us.) Grim-faced police officers with guns stared at us with accusing glances as we staggered down the steps. I felt the impulse to put my hands up. What had we done wrong? Were we suspected of terrorism?

We were transported to a large garage, filled with armed police, on the airport complex and told that we had a long wait ahead of us. This turned out to be true. It would be four hours from our arrival at Ottawa before we were finally released.

Meanwhile, the word had gotten out. The "object" that had caused all this panic was an iPod that slipped off the belt of a young man (who looked to be about 18) when he was using the bathroom. It landed in the toilet. Knowing that his iPod was ruined and apparently reluctant to put his hands in the toilet, the young man tried unsuccessfully to flush it away and returned to his seat. When another passenger saw the iPod and mentioned it to the flight attendant, she immediately told the captain, who then notified Ottawa airport authorities.

Once the young man realized that his unflushed iPod was causing such concern he went up to the attendant and told her what had happened. But it was too late. The call to Ottawa airport had set a process in motion that could not be stopped. The Ottawa police, who were in charge of Operation iPod, had a protocol to follow and they were not to be deterred.

Kyrgyzstan Prayer Request

This is from a recent Voice of the Martyrs prayer  update:

July 28th, a church planter and his son were surrounded by a large mob opposed to their ministry in the predominantly Muslim community in Kara Kuldza, Kyrgyzstan. The church planter suffered broken fingers and severe head injuries. Both his home and the building where the church meets were ransacked and all the Christian literature was taken out and burned in the street. The national director for the Bible League in Kyrgyzstan reports that such incidents are not uncommon. Mobs have frequently disrupted worship services and threatened to burn down their homes if the religious activities do not stop. In several locations, the wives of the church planters have been raped when they would not flee.

Pray this church planter will fully recover from his wounds. Ask God to protect him and his family from further attacks. Pray the Holy Spirit will bring many people in Kyrgyzstan to a precious relationship with Jesus.

Don't know much about Kyrgyzstan?  Check out the Kyrgyzstan page on the CIA Fact Book.

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Interesting Parasites

In my surfing tonight, I also came across this interesting article on parasites.  I thought it was an interesting read.

Here are the six it deals with:

  • Cymothoa exigua
  • Screwworms
  • Sacculina carcini
  • Filarial Worms
  • Guinea Worms
  • Leucochloridium paradoxum

Do you live in Alabama? Better watch out!

I was surfing tonight when I came across this story on giant yellow jacket nests.  From the story:

MOBILE — To the bafflement of insect experts, gigantic yellow jacket nests have started turning up in old barns, unoccupied houses, cars and underground cavities across the southern two-thirds of Alabama.

Specialists say it could be the result of a mild winter and drought conditions, or multiple queens forcing worker yellow jackets to enlarge their quarters so the queens will be in separate areas. But experts haven't determined exactly what's behind the surprisingly large nests.

Auburn University entomologists, who say they've never seen the nests so large, have been fielding calls about the huge nests from property owners from Dothan up to Sylacauga and over into west-central Alabama's Black Belt.

At one site in Barbour County, the nest was as large as a Volkswagen Beetle, said Andy McLean, an Orkin pesticide service manager in Dothan who helped remove it from an abandoned barn about a month ago.

That is just insane!  Wonder how you kill them all to start getting rid of the nest.