gordon.dewis.ca - Random musings from Gordon


Archive for March 2016

There is something other than snow in the world

March 23, 2016 @ 10:35 By: gordon Category: Photography

I hear that the weather in Ottawa is rather icky right now, so I thought I’d post a picture I took a couple of days ago to give everyone hope that there’s something other than snow in the world.

Identifying priorities: Speed cameras

March 14, 2016 @ 00:03 By: gordon Category: Current affairs, General

Apparently, people speeding on residential streets in Ottawa is a problem. From what I’ve seen, there are definitely drivers in Ottawa that seem to treat speed limits as casual suggestions — a good idea for other people, but not applicable to them.

In response to this, there’s a motion going before Ottawa City Council to ask the province for permission to install speed cameras. Ontario tried speed cameras when Bob Rae’s NDP formed the government, but they were banished by Mike Harris for a variety of reasons.

In theory, speed cameras make sense. They allow penalties to be issued to speeders without needing a police officer to be there with a radar gun. Photographic evidence is hard to dispute (“is that your car in the photo?” “Uh, yes your honour” “right, fine upheld”); the police don’t have to pull the speeder over, which is safer for everyone; and the speeder is penalized.

Well, sort of. (more…)

Spring forward, lose some sleep

March 12, 2016 @ 22:20 By: gordon Category: Astronomy, Current affairs, General

Time_vortex-red-forward.jpgHey, it’s mid-March, so that means it’s time to move the clocks forward in a futile attempt to save energy. Or so they say. As I’ve mentioned in previous years’ versions of this post, daylight save time hasn’t been shown to actually save energy.

What it has been shown to result in is an increase in accidents because people are discombobulated by the change in their sleep pattern, much like being jet lagged, and a 10% increase the likelihood that you’ll experience a heart attack during the days immediately following the time change. And you’ll probably feel a bit jet lagged, too. I’m really not convinced it’s worth it. (more…)

Another honourable mention: The Europa

March 08, 2016 @ 22:06 By: gordon Category: Photography

I was in Halifax in the summer of 2004 when the tall ships were in town. One foggy day, I spotted the Europa in the harbour in Halifax under sail and fortunately I had my camera with me, so I was able to capture the following photograph:

While looking through all of my photos to put together a presentation for new members night at the Camera Club of Ottawa last month, I came across this photo, which I hadn’t seen in a few years. I actually thought that it might have been lost for good, so when I found it was very happy.

I entered it in the CCO’s February slide competition in the Open category, and I’m happy to report that it took home an Honourable Mention.

Gordon’s Rule for TAFs

March 01, 2016 @ 13:41 By: gordon Category: Weather

Terminal area forecasts (TAFs) are aviation weather forecasts. They are very precise and typically cover the next 24 to 36 hours from the time they’re issued. Each period within the TAF provides information on the winds, clouds and precipitation expected to occur. There are also optional sections that may appear for temporarily occurring weather (less than an hour) and for weather than may occur (30% and 40% probability). The latter is usually only for “bad” weather that could impact flight safety.

Gordon’s Rule for TAFs is simple: The longer the forecast, the more unsettled (aka “crappy” (a highly technical term)) the weather is going to be.

Here’s the TAF for Ottawa that was issued over the lunch hour:

TAF CYOW 011738Z 0118/0218 26005KT P6SM BKN120 OVC220 
     FM012000 05005KT P6SM -SN OVC070 
      TEMPO 0120/0122 4SM -SN 
     FM012200 06010KT 2SM -SN VV015 
      TEMPO 0122/0124 4SM -SN OVC050 
     FM020000 06012KT 11/2SM -SN VV012 
      TEMPO 0200/0202 3/4SM -SN VV008 
     FM020200 06015G25KT 1/2SM SN BLSN VV005 
     FM020500 06020G30KT 1/4SM +SN BLSN VV002 
      BECMG 0208/0210 04015G25KT 
     FM021100 35015G25KT 3/4SM -SN BLSN VV008 
     FM021300 31018G28KT 2SM -SN BLSN OVC025 
     FM021700 29018G28KT 5SM BLSN BKN030 
      RMK NXT FCST BY 012100Z