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24 November 2019 at 7:30 am

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Macheide’s Aurelian Dream

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The more we know what we know, the more we know we don’t.

Almost a quarter century ago, I wrote an article for an early issue of Contingencies, the #1 magazine for actuaries, entitled “Next Best Thing to an Aurelian Dream“. Now standing at retirement’s shoreline, I am realizing that vision to be as recurring a dream as all those I’ve ever kept dreaming. Maybe if I start now, then a quarter century from now I can look back claiming to have made my dream at least more vivid, if not ever to be real. Or at least to have been content spending an entire lifetime dreaming it . . .

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30 March 2015 at 4:08 pm

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Underground Systems

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On a personal leave of absence from 43things the past two years, mildly disappointing to now finally get the memo about that site going down soon. It was always more the idea of it than anything else, that and a community I never belonged to, but nothing great functionality-wise. Even so, it was better than anything else I am finding by way of search for a replacement.

Why do I bother wasting time any longer looking for a new killer app for such interests or records? For years now, my go-to has settled into a close collaboration between Excel and Word, stored and controlled on my own local laptop. I won’t stop looking for some means to move some of the content online, if only so I can access things I want on different devices. But for the vast volume of material I work with, Word and Excel work quite fine; so I can stop wasting time playing around with tools that can only manage little pieces of the job.

So now among my major underground systems —

  • Benefits Finance Study — The first of my systems to demonstrate to me a power in Excel-Word collaboration that I have not found anywhere else. Also perhaps the best example of the “underground” nature of these systems – although I continue to dig and build on and on, quite likely nobody will ever see this material.
     
  • Poetry Register — Despite the success of my Benefits Finance Study’s use of Excel-Word, I persisted far too long with far too many alternatives, wasting so much time and effort, before I finally started treating the poems and poets as though they were pension plans, recreating almost overnight via Excel-Word what I had taken years to lose to the likes of Google’s junkyards. And again, like my benefits study, the system that I’ve built in my Poetry Register will more than likely never make it aboveground to get seen by anyone, despite how useful many might find its content.
     
  • Bucket List — Despite how well Excel-Word had been working for me on benefits and on poetry, there I too easily went again, off hunting for some app or software to handle for me what 43things had previously been doing. Why? No, once again, now I’ll turn to Excel and Word to rebuild what 43things will soon demolish. And more than ever, like my benefits study and poetry reading, this task list will never see the light of day, certainly not as I had felt comfortable doing with the 43things website.
     

Next?

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25 September 2014 at 4:25 pm

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Perfecting the Future Imperfect

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I’m done starting anything new. Except for this one last new thing I’d already recently started: shutting things down.

Yesterday I settled into what will be the final year I will have been working on my favorite hobby: my spreadsheet of pension disclosure information, which includes details going light years beyond what any of the formal studies look into. Even for me to say “final year” plays the weasel: I ought to say yesterday I opened a new corporate financial statement for the last time, input a new piece of data for the last time from one of the financial statements I already have, for an existing trend rounded out the data for the last time, selected a subset of companies and hit recalc for the last time, even so much as opened the spreadsheet the last time. For this one, shutting down will be a longer process, I think. Still, I’ve turned the corner. I will start nothing new on the spreadsheet. And anything further I do on it will be aimed toward closing it down.

Some things I won’t be back to. I’ve already played my last game of chess. I’ve already ridden my last century on a bicycle. This is not quitting. I’ve done what I wanted to do, and I don’t need to keep doing it for it to have been done. Other things I will return to, as I have returned to this account, for the purpose of closing things out. I’m not finished cooking soups or making teas. I’ve not yet seen all the new words I want to know. But even for those things I will be starting nothing new. It is time to turn toward closing the books.

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27 March 2012 at 5:56 pm

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9th Life

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In other words, to borrow a line from a favorite movie, “mostly dead.”

Eight times I actually did die. And then eight times they brought me back. I had made up my mind and body and soul to go. They didn’t accept my answer and came up with their own: stay.

I am on my ninth life.

This record – here in this leftover blog – is not that. Not even a reflection of that, nor a shadow of it.

But as I make the turn, I will reopen the windows on this room and air it out and spend some time in here again.

Bear with me as I dust the shelves and throw out old receipts and devices I no longer use and cords that have been tangled way too long. Eventually, everything here will work again. Eventually, everything here will again have its place. Eventually, everything here will be worth something again.

I don’t believe in waste. I don’t believe in chance. I never stopped believing in what was meant, only in thinking anyone else had to believe the same, or ever once did.

And I have never stopped believing in love. That won’t change, no matter how many more times I manage to die.

know dying

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15 March 2012 at 11:17 am

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Coming Back Around

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This is already starting to feel like the times when I’d been writing a really good poem and made it maybe eight or nine good stanzas into it, then had most of that destroyed or lost, then tried to rewrite it all over again. In some ways, the new version can emerge better than the original, with parts that never would have been seen if the original had remained intact blocking the view. Yet there are always pieces irretrievably lost.

Aftermath will never be public again (update 3/2/2012 – or what is uncloaked once again will not be public as most of the public would think as such, rather more along the lines of the clothes I might choose to wear when walking out and about), but will always remain the core of my blogging experience. Much of its sidebar will have been lost, with old passwords for some of the pieces long forgotten and unattainable, and with other pieces – like Bloglines and Ning – gone to their graves. Eventually, new pieces will take all the places of those parts, and in some ways it will never quite be as it had been, but it should eventually be better than ever.

Polymath will carry the “public” face of Aftermath. Why public? I don’t write for anyone else to read, and I don’t expect to ever collect any regular readers. But maybe it’s like how I don’t just remain stuck in my rocking chair in my bedroom in my own home 24/7: I don’t go out to eat or work or run errands or do other things outside for establishing and maintaining any solid external relationships, nor even to make any particular impression, but I’m still out there being seen – and occasionally interacting.

Other pieces that make Aftermath and Polymath work – Facebook, Twitter, et cetera – are gradually loosening up and moving out into the world once again. It feels like when you try to walk after you’ve been sitting on your leg until it’s gone numb. (Update 3/3/2012 – Or more like, still being seen here after eight unsuccessful attempts to convince them I was done.)

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12 September 2010 at 7:50 am

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La Macheide

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In the case of “Prufrock”, though, Eliot obviously wants to avoid that “contract”. He wants the poem to sound like the “rambling” of an old man; perfect, symmetrical or predictable meter would run counter to that goal. Instead, he surprises us with each line, all within its scrambled heterometrical structure. IMHO, this is a significant part of the beauty and innovation in “Prufrock”. (It also explains its alleged role as “la Macheide” in debates over the subsequent decline of metrical work and study but we can leave that discussion for another day.)

comment to a post under the blog for the poetry foundation

Another day? Oh, let’s not delay another!

Search “macheide” on Google, on Microsoft’s new Google-wannabe Bing, contributing to Cornerstone Recovery via GoodSearch (powered by the Yahoo! search engine), on Excite, or on just about any other Internet Search engine, and perhaps upwards of 95% of the search results will point to one of my own footprints (including my own websites, mrs macheide’s websites, or discussions pointing to me or to her), with most of the remaining links arising from German chess players, topped off with a small handful of links pointing to Lasker’s philosophical treatise wherein he created the word “macheide” and its concept.

Throughout the thousands of links comprising that collection, the quote above stands out quite unique: obviously drawing no reference to me, it uses the term “la macheide” in a non-chess discussion, on a topic very near and dear to my heart – poetry! indeed, about an issue of poetics that has always been of extreme interest to me!! And does so in a very natural manner that seems to presume that the other readers will naturally understand the reference! Then is not questioned by any of those other readers about that statement!

Yet any followup Internet searches on “la macheide” or on “the macheide” or on any other restricted reference do nothing more than make it easier to find references to the Lasker origin of the concept.

Since when have poetics experts become so natural with the macheide concept as to use it so fluently?! I’m not complaining that they do – their reference is quite exquisite! Just . . . I feel a bit left out. Now I want those lectures or treatises or discussions that led this commenter to so naturally, so correctly, so appropriately call on the name ‘macheide’ in this non-chess context.

Consider that a new Internet research expedition I shall undertake. Possibly commencing with simply contacting the author of the comment.

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10 June 2009 at 6:06 am

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Aftermath Privacy Settings

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I’ve launched a ning discussion topic for notes on further efforts to tighten up the privacy settings for aftermath and its sidebar connections. As always, any suggestions or other discussion always welcome.

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8 June 2009 at 2:40 pm

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Live But Private

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msnliveprivate090607

annotare is now a private journal.

If I can’t figure out how to open it up selectively, so that I get to choose who may view it, then I may eventually kill it as a separate blog and pull its content up into an aftermath category. Which it could be, although not without squeezing some round peg into a square hole. I’ve been using MSN Live blog annotare for collecting comments on news events, almost like a cyberspace version of what I do all the time verbally watching the everyday news. And although I’d not yet finished stretching out my legs with annotare, doing such current events commenting via a separate blog, with RSS feed into an aftermath sidebar space, was offering me additional features that a simple aftermath category will probably not give me without much struggle and compromise. For instance, starting to build a separate favorites list and blogroll that would be specifically oriented toward current events tracking, versus attempting to segregate those contact points within WordPress’ structure while still linking that segregated sublist up with the current events aftermath category posts themselves.

Without going into any greater detail here, annotare was starting to shape up into being one of the primary illustrations of a design I had been building toward, a sort of “cloud” blogging style, where multiple blogs were being woven into one, giving more depth to my blogging than any one blog with any single service could ever dream of providing.

Alas, I’ve decided that I can not blog for myself and for you and for simply allowing the Internet world at large a glance at that, without sacrificing privacy I desire and need, no matter how open or veiled my writing itself is. So the past week or so, I’ve locked up aftermath, stripped out Twitter, and rendered Skitch pictures available on an invitation-only basis.

And with signs that MSN Live – which is a loose conglomerate of services under which annotare is being built – had been compromised in a way I do not wish to see pursued, this had to be the next step. Nice, that with annotare I didn’t have to do things like with the still-very-elementary Twitter, where full privacy was attainable only by deleting all of the past and by electing to never again Twitter anything at all. As indicated earlier in this post, until I can refine the new settings, even you can’t see annotare anymore. But for the moment, at least that means nobody else can either. And I can work with future changes better from that perspective than from where it was viewed yesterday.

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7 June 2009 at 5:50 am

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The Luke Method

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The Luke Method for Computer Security: Unplug your computer, take out any battery back-up power, and let it sit like a rock.

When I first met Susan, she was working part-time for Luke, who ran a computer business out of a little shop in a local strip mall. When “Crash” – as she all-too-appropriately nicknamed the desktop computer she was using at the time – began suffering motherboard meltdown, naturally Susan took the equipment to her employer . . . again, and then again when it still wouldn’t work, and then again and again and again. Each time charged for Luke’s work without getting back a computer that worked.

When all else failed, Luke finally offered to simply purchase Crash from her . . . for a price that – when added to all she had spent for work that had not worked – would have amounted to the same deal as if she had paid him to take the computer off her hands in the first place, essentially paying him a fee to not be wasting her time.

She donated Crash to the Boy Scouts instead.

As ludicrous as Luke’s idea of a good price was, even more outrageous was his philosphy on how to maintain computer security. Susan would encounter a problem – which we did finally figure out to be related to a malfunctioning motherboard, i.e., hardware-based, not software-related – and Luke would say, “Don’t use the Internet, and you won’t have problems.” So she’d cut back her use of the Internet to the bare-bones, completely innocuous websites, and he would say, “Well, don’t use AOL Internet Messenger, and you won’t have problems.” Then, “Well, don’t use e-mail, and you won’t have problems.” Then even getting as ridiculously stupid as Apple commercials are, trying to bullshit her into believing, “Well, if you don’t use Word, you won’t have problems,” and “Well, if you don’t use Windows, you won’t have problems.” Little by little cutting out every possible thing the computer might be doing when its motherboard would blow up, until essentially she would have arrived at the essence of the Luke Method: Don’t use your computer, and your computer won’t have problems.

We laugh – and in no small part, we laugh because he was charging his customers for such expert fix-it know-how – but the Luke Method can at least be used as the farthest extreme of a ranking for computer activities that are more secure or less secure. For example, the following list represents some of my own initial impressions, with rankings running from 0 for zero exposure and zero risk (but of course also zero utility and zero use), representing strict application of the Luke Method, all the way to 100 for complete exposure and absolute risk (representing complete freedom for only the nano-second it will take before your computer goes belly up to a virus or some other attack). Notice that the two extremities of this list loop around to the same result: in either instance, you lose use of your computer.

0 The Luke Method – Turn your computer off, unplug it, and never turn it on again. Guarantee: Your computer will never crash nor be infected with any virus. Result: zero use of your computer.
5 Avoid All External Contact – Luke is unrealistic, but technically correct: avoid all Internet use whatsoever, and you will need no firewalls, no anti-virus software. Of course, we had computer viruses spreading to our equipment long before the Internet – to reach for minimum risk, you must also not load any files from diskettes, from flash drives, from any external source whatsoever without first scanning for the nasties. Result: You have a sophisticated typewriter, not really what we’d think of as a modern computer.
10 Super Security-Conscious – It’s possible to overload your computer so tightly with firewalls and anti-virus anti-popup anti-cookie software and operating system security updates and all manner of other protective gear, that your computer will run almost as sluggishly as near the high end of this ranking. Technically, the strongest anti-virus software packages are almost as bad as the viruses they supposedly protect from, the only difference being that you give them a piece of your bank account up front by paying for the anti-virus software, instead of letting them steal access to your bank account itself. In mob-infested neighborhoods, we call that a protection racket. It’s also very near the Luke Method end of the scale: you turn over the majority of your computing power to the protection software, hoping it hands you back sufficient computing power to conduct the rest of your computer use in some relative semblance of peace.
50 Shared Computer Use – Don’t be the only person to use your computer. I place this computer practice midway down my personal ranking, because in a sense it can be thought of so, representing the “balance” of two or more users of your computer. Unfortunately, the risks and exposures do not average out among the users; rather, the security level for all will be the security level of the worst. For example, take two users: one strictly uses the Luke Method itself and stops using the computer whatsoever, but the other user goes to the farthest extreme; the result will be an infected computer that neither can use. We can’t all selfishly own and control a computer completely to one individual, but sharing a computer does demand shared responsibility, shared awareness of the risks, shared respect for the other users’ security.
55 Type Your URLs – Nobody, even the best court stenographer, is immune from keyboard mistakes. Make a mistake when you type in an URL you wish to visit, and all too frequently you don’t just get a not-found message; rather, you can run smack into the arms of an Internet rodent who has anticipated the typing error. Worst instance of this one: try to visit your bank’s website by typing in its URL incorrectly, and you’re begging to be robbed. Best is to visit your trusted websites only via trusted links, creating such links as favorites after the very rare times when you very very very very carefully type in the correct URL.
60 Check out Links Suggested by Stangers – You meet a kind stranger who suggests on his LiveJournal or Facebook that there’s some picture or video or other content that you really really really must see, just click right here. Ooops, time to flush out your computer again and feed it antibiotics to rid it of unwanted viruses and other deadly content. Better thing to do: don’t.
70 Pop-Up Temptations – A pop-up ad interrupts your surfing, warning you that your computer is at risk, wouldn’t you like to have your computer scanned for problems and protected from future risks. Click to accept the pop-up’s offer, and you’ve quite likely just done the exact opposite, inviting the vampire through your computer’s front door.
80 Visit Internet Gaming Websites – See the porn site comments further down in this ranking. Gambling websites and other gaming sites are generally not quite as venal as the porn, but their basic character is much the same: leave without becoming an addicted paying customer, and you risk leaving with an unwanted guest on your computer; pay, and the only relief they will grant is that the unwanted guest might not destroy as long as you continue to pay.
90 Visit Internet Porn Websites – Even the typical porn website that offers supposedly free content is highly dangerous. The standard porn distributor doesn’t really wish to crash your computer, since that threatens to remove a paying customer from coming through the door. But they do know that even a paying customer is likely to get addicted enough to pay to come back, even if that means battling unwanted junk piled onto your computer. And forget it if you’ve simply peeked through their free content and try to leave without getting hooked – count on it, as surely as swimming in a cesspool without a gas mask: you leave the site with a nasty kissoff for failing to pay up.
95 Run E-Mail Attachments from Strangers – Any e-mail from any unknown source should always be deleted without even opening the e-mail itself, much less running any attached software. Guarantee: Any software attached to strange e-mail has one goal and one goal only. Run that software, and you may have to fix a hell of a lot more than your computer, starting with your phone number and your bank account and in the worst scenarios even extending as far as your home address and even your own name.
100 Piss Off an Internet Rodent – By any of the previous high-ranked methods or by any other activities, get on the bad side of a person who has evil intentions and zero morals. Whether out of sour grapes or because it was their intention all along, the rodent will target your computer for destruction. Guarantee: Even with anti-virus equipment, firewalls, and other protection, your computer will inevitably suffer the consequence of the rodent’s attack. Result: zero use of your computer.

As I’ve hinted, although i scoff at what Luke himself advised, generally speaking I consider my own computer use and Internet use to be far closer to the Luke Method than to the high end of these rankings. Nobody but I use my own equipment. I surf only a very small number of Internet websites, almost all of those maintained by governmental agencies, and all of those accessed through links vs typing in the URL. I rarely use e-mail, and then only from people I have long trusted. I install no new software except from the absolute most trusted sources.

Like how it’s sad that airline hijackings and school shootings and other crimes we’ve suffered in modern society have robbed us of personal and social freedoms, so too it is a shame we do not have as much freedom with our computers that we ought to have. But all in all, Luke’s foolishness did possess an ounce of wisdom: if we lock our doors at night and set the house alarm, we can usually sleep with a degree of peace.

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1 June 2009 at 5:48 am

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Out of Place

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This is not where the ear buds for my cell phone belong. I can’t even imagine what brain fart threw them here. (And since it’s been several days since I last used the buds, this picture says what my hair has looked like all week.)
 
But then, if I always put things back where they belong after use, I’d still have the bluetooth earpiece for my cell phone, so wouldn’t have wasted time out of the morning hunting for this equipment in preparation of the day’s conference call.
 

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26 February 2009 at 7:18 am

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Humdrum Doldrums

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Maybe it just goes with my mood, but it’s incomprehensible to me how a sage of Safire‘s erudition can write an article with the word “plunge” featured in the title, lead off with a quote speaking of “doldrums” with the distinct implication of that being the destination of said plunge, then immediately hand out false praise of the observation being “rich in literary-linguistic associations.” Sorry, Bill, but that amalgam is about as improper as your stockbroker friend’s bonus pay or as poor as his clients’ 401(k) balances. Tell him to stick with picking stocks (yeah, right), not words.

The Doldrums are not the state one endures when suffering depression, clinical or economic or otherwise. Dolorous as The Doldrums can be, especially when one has a schedule to keep (such as a retirement date), they are nothing worse than the worst of being stuck at a standstill out in the middle of nowhere, far from port. With the Meltdown’s stormy headwinds still costing the U.S. alone some 30k-50k jobs each new day (no sir, sitting on one’s ass unemployed doesn’t mean you’ve stopped falling), we should be so lucky as to be in The Doldrums. At least then we could send out the rowboats to pull our sad ship to gentler winds, instead of having to bail bail bail bail bail our way praying the ship won’t sink all the way down to the ocean floor. When a victim has been pushed off the roof of the New York Stock Exchange and is midway plummeting to certain death in an encounter with the pavement below, we don’t say he’s in The Doldrums. (Or at least, we don’t praise the insight of anyone who does say so.)

In his glory days, Safire used to be unparalleled in bringing out the color in our language. Back then, his instinctive response would have been, “No, grasshopper, one is not in The Doldrums when one is still in freefall, sliding down the slippery slope, very much at the mercy of the hurricane force winds of greed and deceit.” Back then, if handed a poem titled “The Plunge” with “Doldrums” as one of the main rhyme scheme words, he wouldn’t have graded the exercise better than a C- without seeing the work reach for that pause, like a child’s swing at its dizziest reach, before things turn back the other direction. Back then, Safire would not have so easily been fooled by his stockbroker friend’s delusion that the seemingly endless pitch into darkness might somehow have constituted a bit of doldrumosity by virtue of losing his bearings enough to not realize we’re all still falling.

Like, at least reach past that feathery glancing tease that touched no further than the first two definitions given in your Oxford English Dictionary. Because that would have brought you to the third definition, which very much does characterize the state my own head has been in this past day –

An intellectually non-plussed condition.

And of course, “nonplussed” being –

Brought to a nonplus or standstill; at a nonplus; perplexed, embarrassed.

Which of course points us to “nonplus” –

A state in which no more can be said or done; inability to proceed in speech or action; a state of perplexity of puzzle.

Which quite accurately describes my own head since early afternoon yesterday, with the germ of a new poem sitting in there grinning back at me like a cheshire cat, but no winds from any muse inside the horizon from any direction.

But which comes nowhere remotely close to characterizing the economic shape we’re in. No, not even when we take congressional Republicans into account, notwithstanding their pitifully bailout-worthy level of perplexity and inability to act. Constipation or catatonic stares are not signs of being in The Doldrums. The Doldrums are when you have no wind to fill your sails, not when you’ve forgotten where you’re going or how to turn the ship around.

[Footnote: And it is the “Meltdown.” Just because the president who brought it to us can’t pronounce “nuclear accident” doesn’t mean we know what the downwind fallout is doing to us.]

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Written by macheide

1 February 2009 at 4:02 pm

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Saturday Morning Sunlight

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1 November 2008 at 10:00 am

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Hell or High Water

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One single metric does not suffice to warn people of a pending hurricane threat. Calling Ike a 2 left far too many people unprepared. And trying to emphasize Ike was a “strong 2” just 1mph below a 3 didn’t help. Weather forecasters would do better to work toward educating people on a 4-metric system: wind – rainfall – surge – intensity. And like has been done with the existing single-metric scale, so as to build on common public understanding of relative degree of threat, construct the new metrics so that they also go from 1 through 5, exponentially.

  1. Wind – Yes, do keep the existing scale based on wind speed. Potential damage to roofs, structures, blowing debris, and other wind-related risks is obviously one critical aspect of a hurricane.
     
  2. Rainfall – Allison didn’t even make it to a cat 1 and accordingly posed little or no threat to structural integrity vis a vis wind damage, but was of course a sufficiently severe rainfall threat to make Allison the only tropical storm that never reached hurricane status yet had its name retired. Perhaps the metric here could be developed from the forward speed of the storm, since a stalled storm dumps far more rain.
     
  3. Storm Surge – Ike will be remembered more for its surge than for its winds, while its rain was hardly a shrug. For this metric, look to wave levels as the storm approaches perhaps.
     
  4. Intensity – Or duration, something that indicates the momentum behind the storm. Like how getting hit by a 110mph train is a hell of a difference from being hit by a 110mph feather. Ike was huge, with hurricane-force winds extending some 120 miles from center as it approached land. That meant it would last longer inland after landfall, indeed was said to have built up more kinetic energy than any other hurricane for the past 40 years. People were insufficiently warned of what that threat meant.

So Allison might have been tagged a 0-4-0-3, so residents in low-lying areas with high flash flood risk would know their threat to be very high and of somewhat extended duration. And shoreline residents might not have shrugged so much at Ike if it had been tagged a 2-1-4-5. Whereas a 4-1-1-1 would tell mobile home residents to beware even if the relative duration of the storm were to be brief. While something like a 2-2-1-5 would warn residents that storm threats would persist very far inland.

Such a system would not be overly complicated to communicate, especially if they built it up on a 5-must system similar to the existing scale. People already juggle multiple numbers in numerous situations, from blood pressure readings to stock market swings to sports standings. Is it too much to ask that we have the necessary information for something so life-threatening as a hurricane?

[Additional Ike-related aftermath content: Hurricane Ike Aftermath]

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14 September 2008 at 6:24 am

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Maplog

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As noted in aftermath’s current sticky post, most of my blogging on Hurricane Ike is being written on my personal tracking map.

As I’ve probably recounted before, I have kept journals almost from the day I learned to write. So I had barely using the Internet during its earliest pre-commercialization days before I itched to switch from the card catalog organization of favorites list to a daily record organization, a shift in perspective that I did in fact develop for a major inhouse knowledge system within the company for which I then worked. To those two integrated organization perspectives we can now add a spatial aspect: placement of Internet links and content on a map.

I know, I have made it rather clear that I find the arrogant mediocrity of Google‘s products and services to be even worse than that of Microsoft. And as soon as any reasonably competent competitor wakes up to the powerful potential of mapping blog content, Google will once again lose my recommendation, that I can guarantee. For now, though, Google Maps offers some intriguing blogging tools that to the best of my knowledge are unique, unavailable anywhere elsewhere on the Internet. And although certainly there are already many users who have dabbled with Google’s map tools, very few bloogers if any at all seem to have yet taken those mapping tools to their maximum potential.

Read the rest of this entry »

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10 September 2008 at 9:49 am

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Missing Actuary

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For almost a decade now, I’ve wanted categories for my journalling so much that I constructed complicated workarounds when the architects of opendiary, then in like kind of livejournal, ignored pleas for the capability until left too far behind by the rest of the blogosphere.

Here, WordPress has both categories and tags, separately. But frequently seems confused about what it’s doing with them, and why. Read the rest of this entry »

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23 August 2008 at 9:36 pm

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Momentary Views

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My pet spreadsheet currently has 1300+ companies for which I track information on pensions, other benefits, or executive compensation. Usually, though, any armchair analysis I do on my data focuses solely on S&P 500 companies. Except of course, the S&P 500 set changes regularly, frequently several times each month. I’ve got that covered by having a listing of every company that has ever been a member of the S&P 500 during the past decade or so, of course adding to that set each time a new member is admitted to the club, with dates indicating entry or departure from the set. One of the primary input items on my pet spreadsheet’s main page, then, is the date as of which I wish the S&P 500 set selected, and Excel identifies the correct set as of that date and filters out data for just that set. That date-specific filtering capability was what made it so easy for me to quickly make some observations on pension “leakage” in my post on “How To Lose $50 Billion,” which observed that during recent years the general trend has been for S&P to replace DB plan sponsors with non-DB companies in changes to the S&P 500 set.

I want that same date-specific filtering capability for my Wall, which essentially is a document-type parallel of my pet spreadsheet, at least in its style, if not as a natural extension of focus.

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Written by macheide

7 May 2008 at 1:17 pm

Posted in macheide