Ike

Jeff Masters:

Hurricane Ike is closing in on Texas, and stands poised to become one of the most damaging hurricanes of all time. Despite Ike’s rated Category 2 strength, the hurricane is much larger and more powerful than Category 5 Katrina or Category 5 Rita. The storm surge from Ike could rival Katrina’s, inundating a 200-mile stretch of coast from Galveston to Cameron, Louisiana with waters over 15 feet high. This massive storm surge is due to the exceptional size of Ike. According to the latest wind field estimate (Figure 1), the diameter of Ike’s tropical storm and hurricane force winds are 550 and 240 miles, respectively. For comparison, Katrina numbers at landfall were 440 and 210 miles, respectively. As I discussed in yesterday’s blog entry, a good measure of the storm surge potential is Integrated Kinetic Energy (IKE). Ike continues to grow larger and has intensified slightly since yesterday, and the hurricane’s Integrated Kinetic Energy has increased from 134 to 149 Terajoules. This is 30% higher than Katrina’s total energy at landfall. All this extra energy has gone into piling up a vast storm surge that will probably be higher than anything in recorded history along the Texas coast. Storm surge heights of 20-25 feet are possible from Galveston northwards to the Louisiana border. The Texas storm surge record is held by Hurricane Carla of 1961. Carla was a Category 4 hurricane with 145 mph winds at landfall, and drove a 10 foot or higher storm surge to a 180-mile stretch of Texas coast. A maximum storm surge of 22 feet was recorded at Port Lavaca, Texas.

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Couldn’t companies do a better job of advertising recalls?

The Consumerist:

Hey, contact lens wearers, according to a CDC survey, more than half of you have no clue that Advanced Medical Optics recalled their Complete MoisturePlus lens cleaner. The multipurpose solution fails to protect users from an amoeba that can cause acanthamoeba keratitis. Over 25% of users who contracted the infection required a corneal transplant, and if that doesn’t scare you, consider this quote from the CDC:

“This is just as serious as the fusarium outbreak,” said Lola Russell, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, referring to an outbreak of fungal eye infections last year that was linked to Bausch & Lomb’s ReNu with MoistureLoc lens cleaners.

Acanthamoeba keratitis

Looks harmless? Was it made in China?

Big Bird Fisher-Price Toy

MSNBC (hat-tip Bryan @ Why Now?):

WASHINGTON – Toy-maker Fisher-Price is recalling 83 types of toys — including the popular Big Bird, Elmo, Dora and Diego characters — because their paint contains excessive amounts of lead.

The worldwide recall being announced Thursday involves 967,000 plastic preschool toys made by a Chinese vendor and sold in the United States between May and August. It is the latest in a wave of recalls that has heightened global concern about the safety of Chinese-made products.

The recall is the first for Fisher-Price Inc. and parent company Mattel Inc. involving lead paint. It is the largest for Mattel since 1998 when Fisher-Price had to yank about 10 million Power Wheels from toy stores.

Poisoning Big Bird is not nice. Boo.

How many children have been exposed?

Related post:

Affairs of the nation

Liberty @ Corrente via Athenae @ First Draft:

I know I should not write on politics, but this hits me where I live. I was talking with a friend about his affair with a married woman whose husband is assigned away from the US. It is a sad story, and it is one I have heard mirrored many times. It is one with all the other stories that, like mad cats drawn from the same sack, scratch and claw at us. So forgive me being weak, and writing on a topic that should be forbidden to anyone who must by profession be faceless, blank and without core or surface soul. Forgive me for saying this.

Come home America, come home.

It is time to come home from distant wars against fictions and phantoms. It is time to come home to your wives who miss you, to your children who need you, to your families that feel the pain of missing souls.

It is time to come home America, home to the cities that have been flooded, the forests left untended, the fields left untilled. It is time to come home America, to the work left undone, the minds left unschooled. It is time to come America, to the home you did not leave behind, because no home ever lasts if left unrepaired.

It is time to come home America, and when you do, you will ask how you ever let that home be put into hands such as the ones that now have it. You will wonder at how they ever seemed to be giants, and on the back of which ant the cameras were mounted to make them look that way.

It is time America to come home. Home to the words which we written on parchment, printed on paper, but engraved on hearts and minds, with stylus of firearms, and ink mixed of blood and gunpowder: “when it becomes destructive to these ends… to alter or abolish it.”

Look at the man who wields the seal of 13 arrows and 13 stars, of 13 leaves and 13 olives, of 13 stripes and countless hopes and dreams. Ask yourself a single question: is he worthy of placing your sons lives in his hands? Hands that have signed so many laws unjust, unwise and unAmerican. Hands which have rubber stamped commands from other unelected. Ask yourself if his words are to be trusted, coming from the same mouth that has spat out so many of us on to the ground.

I have spent my life studying ruins, and I feel this home becoming one. I have spent my life studying kings, and know their portraits by heart. And in history’s wake I feel, I know and must believe because without this belief there is no hope in me: that all the crosses of gold and silver crowns, must in history’s turn be struck down. But I am not the one to do it, I can only call to you, who are still across the sea, or buried in your own affairs, to look up, and see. See that we are losing our America, from mountains blasted for blacker coal, to roads that crack and creak, to nursing wards for veterans that stink and reek, to schools that are dour and bleak.

Come home America, while there is yet time, let not the sands cover us, nor the waters wash us away. It is not out there that our freedom lives, but here. It is not a Vatican in Baghdad that we must build, but a shining city on hill which we must rebuild, our golden domes pealing, our silver stars tarnished, our private places violated by rude disruption, for an adventure we did not wish, nor want. Let dead caesars have their triumphs, let forgotten pharaohs have their obelisks. Let emperors have their might tombs, let them have them, one and all their arcs and boulevards.

Ask your son, your daughter, your wife, your lover. Each will tell you what I say here. “I don’t know why were are there, I just want you home.”

To our public servants I can only ask: “What do you think we changed the government for? We demanded only a few simple things. End the flow of corruption, end the war, and end the reign of error.” You have voted for another year for corruption to flow, already. You have not voted to end the war, yet. You have said that you will not act to remove those who have committed hight crimes and misdemeanors, ever. We sent you once to Washington, we can send you right back home again if you forget why we sent you there.

I don’t know what else to say, it is an old story, of Ulysses coming home, and cleaning the house of suitors that sought to suck the blood and treasure from his house and steal his wife. To servants who had forgotten their duties, and to all the animals save two that had forgotten his scent. He came home and bent his bow and slew the suitors on sight. But to bend his bow, the great hero first, had to come home.

Please, please, please. It is time to set right what has gone so horribly wrong.

“There’s a bomb in the building start clearing out”

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