The Political Come To Jesus Meeting About To Take Place

I watched cable news this morning as reporters and anchors tried to explain how Michael Cohen’s accepting money from AT&T, Novartis, Korea Aerospace and a billionaire pal of Vladimir Putin’s was probably legal and the job description of loads of Washingtonians. Business as usual!

What I’m saying is we needn’t worry how retired US Senator John Boehner will afford his newly embraced pot love. Selling access in Washington is big business. Boehner’s easy to pick on but it’s Democrats too.

I’m hoping this will open a national dialog about the position of money in government. I’ve used “come to Jesus meeting” in my title with the understanding it means a frank discussion about a very serious problem that needs immediate action. That’s us.

Obviously, AT&T, Novartis and the others who ‘gave at the office’ felt there were real profits to be made by buying Michael Cohen’s time and shaping his opinion. I find that entirely disgusting.

Before the recent tax bill was passed, The Hill reported this tidbit from Congressman Chris Collins of New York.

Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) had been describing the flurry of lobbying from special interests seeking to protect favored tax provisions when a reporter asked if donors are happy with the tax-reform proposal.

“My donors are basically saying, ‘Get it done or don’t ever call me again,’ ” Collins replied.

Here’s who they are:

Fewer than one in fifty of Collins’ campaign dollars comes from small individuals. Those weren’t little guys asking for this bill.

When you see obviously unpopular legislation (net neutrality and consumer financial rules as two examples) and wonder how could that possibly become law–see above.

If It Looks Like I’m Showing Off…

If it looks like I’m showing off weather maps lately it’s because I am.

It’s pretty amazing how far Greg and I have come. We’re doing something very different, adapting tools made for more scholarly pursuits.

These are not the maps I’d use to prepare a forecast. They’re designed for show and tell — to point at.

This project might be more detailed than even building my studio. I’m certainly learning more.

Greg writes most of the back end code, I handle the stuff you see, mainly written in an arcane macro language called .gs. Each map is hand crafted with all sorts of decisions for look and feel. They’re all similar but different depending on scale, topography or my judgement the moment of creation.

What’s posted here are 800×450 gifs. Internally I use 1920×1080 mp4s. The maps look good.

This would be impossible without Open Source programs like QGIS, ffmpeg, GrADS, NaturalEarth database and even the OpenSans font family! And it all runs on Centos Linux, also Open Source.

About 80 tasks are in the scheduler. Half run every hour 24/7/365, the others four times a day. Each frame in an animation is an individually rendered map. Tens of thousands are produced daily. Most are never be seen before being overwitten.

My box doesn’t do everything yet, but it’s getting closer. Each additional piece makes it easier to code the piece that follows.

It’s good to get excited.

No One Wants To Get This Text

I got that shitty text no one wants to get this morning. Cousin Gary was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in December. This morning he died.

It is an awful disease–a cruel killer with no regard for who you are or how good you were. Gary was a good guy. My friend Kevin, taken by pancreatic cancer ten years ago, was a good guy too.

Don’t get a false impression by my ‘cure.’ There is no actual cure for pancreatic cancer. My cancer was found and removed before it spread. That is the only way in 2018.

“Clean margins,” was the surgeon’s verdict after six hours in surgery. It was what we wanted to hear.

Only one in three can get this surgery. Only one in three of those have this result.

People call all the time to talk about pancreatic cancer. It’s a role I’ve taken on willingly. Most of the time I know how things are going to end before we begin.

There is research ongoing, but this is a particularly tough disease. There is no definitive test for pancreatic cancer other than a physical biopsy. It’s not a routine test because it’s surgery.

Though only 3% of all cancers, pancreatic cancer accounts for 7% of deaths. It’s fast and efficient. The five year survival rate for those whose cancer was detected after it began to spread is 3%.

So, we root for smart doctors and the really brave patients who let them experiment on them with trials, so far mainly ineffective. And we remind the families, like my cousins today, how much we love them and how much of their pain is shared deep inside.

It hurts me Gary suffered for one minute. I hate this damn disease.

I’m A Coder… Sort Of

When I mention I’ve been coding most of you have no clue what I’m talking about. A little explanation today. Coding is among the most rewarding and frustrating things I do!

First, an acknowledgment. I have a mentor in Greg Senia from Shelton. The amount of help he’s given me is immeasurable. I’d be dead in the water without him.

Atom text editor handling two files simultaneously. My new favorite text editor.

Coding simply means writing instructions a computer program can read. Each program has its own little language with strict rules. They’re all similar, but all different.

Spelling counts and only 100% passes. Keys you didn’t know existed like “|” and “`” and “{}” and “[]” become critical.

Most of what we do with computers and cellphones is done in real time. We’re in control. The programs I write run autonomously, sometimes without a keyboard or monitor, triggered by a clock. They won’t run years without any intervention, but they’re pretty dependable day-to-day.

My goal is animated maps at HD quality. Some of these short movies contain 120 separate maps. Each map is rendered individually and sandwiched between a basemap and overlay. The mp4 HD movie is made next. Once created it’s scanned to produce the optimum 256 color colortable for the animated gif. Phew.

My code has to communicate with three separate programs and the computer’s Linux operating system. Files and values are passed back and forth as the different programs perform different parts of the process. One of my scripts takes nearly a half hour to run while gobbling up a few gigs of data, writing over 7,000 separate maps and producing more than fifty animated HD movies.

TV stations purchase expensive systems to do this. This seemed like a better idea for me. It’s a ton of work and extremely unforgiving but the payoff is huge.

The programs I’m using, GrADS, ffmpeg and QGIS are all open source and free as is the Linux operating system, the cartography and weather databases and even the “Open_Sans” font family I’m using.

These programs are thinly used. Help is often tough to find. A few weeks ago I spent a full night looking for a problem causing a crash every time a certain program ran. Greg found it within thirty seconds. He’s a lot more experienced. Beyond that, my text editor conspired by breaking up long lines in a way which hid the cause. A true FML night.

Tonight Greg figured out how to label the correct time and time zone on forecast maps, stumbled upon a bug that would have randomly bit us later and showed me how to re-write all my code as a series of modules.

Yeah — rewrite all my code. I’m working toward long term efficiency, but it will cause pain today.

He’s given me some sample code and hints at approaching problems. Now I have to make it happen.

Write once. Run many.

Still to come, radar maps in real time and numbers on my forecast temperature maps. I am very pleased with how this is working out. Take a look at some samples below. The high quality mp4’s have around ten times the resolution!

If You Forward, You’re Responsible

I got another email today about Fabrizio Brambilla. Among people who know nothing about how computers work Fabrizio is a feared man.

Notify your contacts in your messenger list that they do not accept anything from Fabrizio Brambilla. He has a photo with a dog. He is a hacker and he has the system connected to your messenger account, if one of your contacts accepts it you will also be Jackeado , make sure that your contacts know it and paste it. Thanks

I don’t know what Jackeado means, possibly a euphemism for hacked? Whatever.

This message (or a close relative) hits my inbox at least four or five times a month. It’s always from someone who thinks they’re out ahead of a big story and has forwarded it without checking.

You can check these things with Google. Just enter Fabrizio Brambilla. He’s well known.

Though I have a problem with folks sending this stuff, my bigger problem is the lack a responsibility often taken by the senders.

It was sent by a trusted friend & to tell you the truth, I didn’t think about it! I figured better safe than sorry! If I was obligated to check all the garbage I receive I wouldn’t have time for anything. Sorry I sent it to you!

Of course this is BS on its face. This isn’t about what my Facebook friend received. It’s about what she sent.

My guess is I’m a little too tough on people who send these to me… but there are so many… and it’s so obviously a hoax… and the ulterior motive of being first with the news is so obvious.

Meanwhile, as I was wrapping up with this message, in comes…

Hi, I’m Mark Zuckerberg The Director of facebook.

Hello everyone, it seems that all the warnings were real, facebook use will cost money

If you send this string to 18 different from your list, your icon will be blue and it will be free for you.

If you do not believe me tomorrow at 6 pm that facebook will be closed and to open it you will have to pay, this is all by law.

This message is to inform all our users, that our servers have recently been very congested, so we are asking for your help to solve this problem. We require that our active users forward this message to each of the people in your contact list in order to confirm our active facebook users if you do not send this message to all your facebook contacts then your account will remain inactive with the consequence of Lose all your cont the transmission of this message. Your SmartPhone will be updated within the next 24 hours, will have a new design and a new color for the chat. Dear Facebook users, we are going to do an update for facebook from 23:00 p.m. until 05:00 a.m. on this day. If you do not send this to all your contacts the update will be canceled and you will not have the possibility to chat with your facebook messages

Will go to pay rate unless you are a frequent user. If you have at least 10 contacts

Send this sms and the logo will turn red to indicate that you are a user

Confirmed … We finish it for free Tomorrow they start to collect the messages for facebook at 0.37 cents Forward this message to more than 9 people of your contacts and it will be free of life for you to watch and it will turn green the ball of above do it and you will see.to 9 of you

Give me strength!

Connecticut: I Remember Nights Like This

Tuesday night 7:00 pm EST surface analysis. Click the map — it’s immense.

I remember nights like this, staring at my computer screen, hoping the next piece of data would give me confidence. Tonight it won’t. No matter what the computers say at this point it’s too late. No one trusts the output.

It’s not a question of being mostly right. This storm heading toward the Northeast demands forecast perfection. A mile or two misplacement, or degree or two missed forecast, will make the difference between ten inches of snow and zero.

Where the frustration comes in is, it’s not a question of me not working hard enough or missing a sign. Science just isn’t good enough yet.

There will be a storm. It will be an awful day. For folks off the shoreline it will be a day to find a reason to stay inside. Actually, shoreline too. Just awful

Winter is nearly over.