Mini-micro Review: Mike Flynn “Nexus” & More Weather

A: Review: Michael Flynn’s Novella Nexsus in this month’s Analog

A reconstruction(1) of a conversation taking place around 12:30 a.m. last night, as my wife is entering the bedroom where I am just putting down the latest issues of Analog:

“Reading Mike Flynn?”

“Just finished. It has about every ridiculous pulp science fiction idea you’ve ever heard of in one place: time travel, appalling space aliens, space aliens that can pass for human, telepathy,  faster than light travel, transporter beams, androids…”

“What’s it about?”

“Aristotelian causality.”

There is a woman who can’t die, a weather balloon cover story, ninja space cops, weird alien necrophilia (PG-13), alien invaders, aliens working under cover to protect earth from alien invaders. There’s Theadora the hooker-Empress, conflicting time-lines, the need to keep the cops and the military out of it, and super-ninja space cops.

Trying to remember if Area 51 gets a shout out.

And, yes, it all hangs on what Aristotle would call in Greek a ‘walking together’ – a series of coincidences – the component events of which are most definitely caused (they literally could not not be) but the walking together itself is just Fate, which takes the blame but is not, strictly speaking, a cause.

To sum up: Totally awesome. Mr. Flynn has made no direct comments on the whole Pulp Revolution stuff of which I am aware (wise man) – but, based on this, he’s down with it, at least conceptually .

B: Cows home yet? No? Let’s talk about the weather!

Here’s a sloppy picture of Mt. Diablo, elevation 3,849 feet, as seen looking east from the road on my drive home:

Mt Diablo
Mt. Diablo. North Peak to the left, main peak to the right. 

That white stuff is snow! It’s really not unusual for there to be snow on Mt. Diablo, happens probably every other winter on average. What is remarkable is that, with all the epic-level precipitation we’ve been getting this year, this is the first batch.

For the first time this rainy season, we got a classic Gulf of Alaska storm. All the other storms have been either pure Pineapple Express ‘atmospheric rivers’ pulling tropical moisture from the ocean around Hawaii and therefore too warm to leave snow at as low an elevation as Mt. Diablo, or some blended Alaska/Hawaii storm, which tend to be in the middle, temperature-wise, and still not cold enough.

We end up with a very pretty situation: all the grass is green, the cherry blossoms are out, the first tips of green are on the trees – and there’s snow on the mountains. Lovely.

3. But how about those CCC Water District rain gauges? 

I thought you’d never ask. Last we checked, all but 5 of these gauges had already received more than an average rainy season’s worth of rain. Three have since reached their annual totals (overall, the gauges average over 150% of their annual average total), leaving only 2 that are registering less than their average annual amounts of rain. (2):

2017 03 06 Rain Gagues
A piece of my little OCD rain gauge spreadsheet.

Unlike the earlier storms, this last storm hit the Concord Pavilion and Kregor Peak gauges as hard or harder than any of the others. Why would that be?

The winds accompanying Pineapple Express storms tend to blow from south to north. Gulf of Alaska storms, on the other hand, tend to strike our stretch of coast pretty much west to east.My theory is that the generally south to north direction of the previous storms put these 2 gauges in the rain shadow of Mt. Diablo. This last storm hit them as squarely as any of the other gauges. Thus, they started to catch up.

Concord Pavilion will probably reach its annual total, given anything like normal March rain. Kregor Peak is more iffy – an inch and a half is a lot of rain for these parts. Possible.

I promise to lay off the weather stuff – unless something really interesting happens.

  1. The conversation went something like this, but perhaps not so tidy.
  2. Don’t know how I missed this before, but: except for a few of the very oldest gauges, the annual averages are suspiciously round numbers, suggesting they are just guesses, not actual averages. Makes sense – I’d want a century of data before giving any weight to averages. As guesses, they carry much less weight than even the little weight they’d carry as 40 year averages.
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Author: Joseph Moore

Enough with the smarty-pants Dante quote. Just some opinionated blogger dude.

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