Friday, June 29, 2012

The 5-H Club

Hazy, Hot, and Humid -- with highs in the hundreds.

“D.C. hits a record 104 degrees -- Today is the hottest day in June in 142 years of record-keeping.”
-- Washington Post

[Note -- not the hottest local June 29 on record;  the hottest June day tout court.]

Silver lining:  this hits the legislators where they live.  

Granted, one swallow does not a summer make, nor a data-point  a pattern;  but this does fit into a larger picture, meticulously laid-out by climatologists.   And since the yahoos understand nothing deeper than anecdotal evidence anyway -- nothing, really, beyond the argumentum ad baculum -- well, let them sweat a bit.

[Update 30 June 2012]  Aftermath:  1.5 million D.C.-area customers are without electricity.  (This happens a lot around here.)
Fortunately, the town where I live had the engineering smarts to bury the power lines.  We're fine.

On our little cul-de-sac, we did lose one fine upstanding tree, apparently in the prime of life, whom we shall miss.    My wife and I took an  early-Saturday-morning walk (the last point in the day -- forecast as a meteorological re-run of yesterday -- that such an outing will be bearable) and surveyed the damage on the path down to the lake;  I brought along a pair of loppers to help clear the way, feeling like a jungle-explorer with a machete.

Later, my wife went off to work, and I policed the lawn, gathering up the windthrow, and taking it to the back deck to deposit in the wheeled trashbin, which was lying on its side.  Devotees of this chronicle (reading it now aloud in the family circle around the fire, or rather, around the A/C) will recognize this useful object as the very barrel which, for over a week now, I have refrained from using, since a skillfully engineering spider (once again, we salute our engineers, whether they have two legs or eight) has been putting it to better use.    But now, rudely overturned by last night’s gale, that structure is no more.   Yet, reaching to return the refuse-bin to its normal use, I perceived that that same sleek-limbed green craftsman, had built another web, yet more wonderful than the last:  now spanning, not the sidelined opening, but, spurning the vertical, stretching from the bin’s uppermost edge  over to the deck-seat -- perfectly symmetrical, as horizontal as a bubble-level, and shining dewily in the morning sunlight.  With a sigh, I set the gleanings aside, to be dealt with later.

Artistically, and no doubt cynegetically, the work is a marvel:  yet, returning again to the ever-necessary engineering standpoint, its infrastructure is open to criticism.  For, whereas before, any non-toppling jostling of the trashbin would simply bear the internally spanning structure along with it  unharmed, now the least breeze will displace the bin -- of flimsy plastic -- with respect to the deck-bench, shredding the carefully-woven fabric, or bunching it as the case may be.


Just called my wife at the home where she works:  Though well north of D.C., they too are wholly without power, and at the mercy of the continuing heat-wave.

Which again brings up the subject of infrastructure.

Our current President entered office  calling for a massive shoulder-to-the-wheel surge on infrastructure.  And if Congress had had any sense (or indeed, if the electorate had had any sense, since their pressure does matter), our nation would have seen a revival of the CCC and WPA.  But several factors opposed this.

(1) The current credit-card culture of eating the seed corn -- nay, gorging on it, leaving the bills for the next generation, conveniently declaring bankruptcy pro re nata
(2) The general war on labor, and on organized labor in particular.

Now, the latter point is primarily a matter of traditional class warfare, which has existed since ancient times, never dying -- though sometimes dying down for a time, ever ready to be revived.  Yet there is a curious psychosocial dimension, peculiar to our age …

 [TBC ...]

[Update Sunday, 1 July]

“On top of heat wave, it may take a week for power to be restored.  Forecast: Still flirting with triple digits.”  -- The Washington Post.

Give us this day, our daily A/C -- which is working, thanks to the enterprise and foresight of our town's civil engineers.

[Update]  Turns out  what hit us was a derecho.  Nice to know it has a name.

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