Wednesday, October 10, 2018


I live in a northern suburb of Atlanta, GA. Rain is coming down hard here, fortunately not high winds. Hoping we don't get a repeat of the tropical storm winds as we had from Irma last year. Looking at the devastation from Hurricane Michael, I feel a combination of anguished sorrow and intense anger, like one feels at the suffering of a loved one whose actions caused their own suffering. The people in the areas being hit worst have been denying climate disruption and voting for people who have blocked action on it. And I don't expect the two hurricanes that have recently devastated the southeast U.S. will change many people's minds. I hope I'm wrong.
Oct. 10, 2018
One important reason Michael got so strong is that very warm water (around 29°C or 84°F) extended to some depth across the Gulf and extended all the way up to the northern Gulf Coast, a rarity for mid-October. More typically, at least one or two cold fronts have chilled the waters just off the Florida Panhandle coast by this point. Florida just experienced the warmest September in its history, a sign of the overall atmospheric and oceanic warmth that’s prevailed across the region over the last few weeks.
As human-produced greenhouse gases continue to warm our climate, it’s reasonable to assume that waters warm enough to support an intense hurricane will be present over larger areas and over longer stretches of the season. Michael came ashore more than a month later in the season than all six of the previous strongest mainland hurricanes in U.S. history (as measured by central pressure at landfall). Many studies have shown that we can expect an increasing proportion of Earth’s hurricanes to reach intense levels as the climate warms. In addition, at least one study has found that hurricanes and other tropical cyclones have tended to intensify more rapidly over the last 30 years.
October 10, 2018, 9:49:38 PM EDT
On Wednesday afternoon, Hurricane Michael became one of the most intense hurricanes to ever strike the United States as it unleashed catastrophic winds and storm surge across the Florida Panhandle.
Hurricane Michael was just shy of Category 5 status when it made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida, with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph and even higher wind gusts.
The minimum central pressure is another way to measure the intensity of a hurricane. The lower the pressure, the more intense the storm.
When Michael made landfall, it had a minimum central pressure of 27.13 inches of mercury. This makes it the 3rd-most intense US land-falling hurricane with a pressure lower than Katrina and Andrew.
Oct. 8, 2018
The Australian government has rejected the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report’s call to phase out coal power by 2050, claiming renewable energy cannot replace baseload coal power.
The deputy prime minister, Michael McCormack, said Australia should “absolutely” continue to use and exploit its coal reserves, despite the IPCC’s dire warnings the world has just 12 years to avoid climate change catastrophe.
Oct. 3, 2018
'This drought is different': it's drier and hotter – and getting worse
On the land and in the towns across Australia they’re affected to varying degrees; some find it harder to cope. But they all agree something has changed
Oct. 10, 2018
US and Mexican authorities have discovered an incomplete cross-border drug smuggling tunnel complete with a rail track and a solar-powered lighting and ventilation system.
Oct. 10, 2018
Why are teachers in Europe paid so much better than those in the United States?
But to observers in Europe, the mere existence of the U.S. debate has appeared rather strange at times — if not downright tragic. On both sides of the Atlantic, the vast majority of people tend to agree that teachers are important — and that they deserve to be paid well.
And yet, somehow, the wages of American teachers — unlike anyone else in the top ranks of that list — have dropped over the past decade. That’s a long way from similarly wealthy European nations such as Germany, for example, where teachers are among the nation’s top earners and can make more money than Web developers or sometimes even entry-level doctors. Besides the United States, no other developed country has such a large gap between salaries paid to teachers and to professionals with similar degrees. In fact, according to a recent OECD study, teachers' salaries have increased almost everywhere else since 2005.
Meanwhile, in the United States, the fading competitiveness of the teaching profession is manifesting itself in recruitment and quality. According to a poll from May, fewer Americans consider a career in teaching to be the right choice for their children, mainly because of low pay. Public schools are facing a staffing crisis, and the drop in competitiveness will make it worse.
Regardless of gender, two-thirds of Americans think that the country’s teachers are underpaid. And as far as Western Europe is concerned, that view is more than justified.

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