Jul 4, 05:31 AM: On this date, 1776.
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
Jan 20, 02:52 AM: History can teach us, perhaps
So I’m sort-of enjoying another 15 minutes of Internet fame, as an image I put together tonight has gone “viral” (kind of), and is approaching 1,000 views on flickr.
Some backstory, I found an atlas from 1927 at a used bookstore many years ago. I recently found it, and have been poking through it as a hobby. Tonight I decided to scan some of the images, including the spreads (I have to stitch them together in Photoshop).
That made me think, and I scanned the 1927 map of Asia. Things were quite a bit different back then. It made me think of our current conflicts in perspective. Deep down I know most of the countries we are “dealing” with didn’t exist 80 years ago, but the visuals really hit home.
So I wanted to preface those maps with some commentary, and since I put the images together, I feel I’m entitled to at least that.
Obviously large maps don’t fit a fixed-width blog layout, so I constructed a very basic HTML page. Without further ado.
Jan 17, 03:39 PM: Science and History of Ice Storms
First of all, check out this site for some of the basic meteorology behind an ice storm. From the article:
"Whether freezing rain forms from the cold rain or not depends critically on the characteristics of the surface cold air layer. If the layer is too thick or too cold, it will refreeze the rain into ice pellets (sleet). If the cold layer is too warm or too shallow, the rain will continue to the ground as normal rain and will not freeze unless the temperature of the ground or some other surface it contacts is well below freezing. Often small temporal or spatial differences in air temperature and in droplet size result in freezing rain mixed with sleet, snow or non-freezing rain.
The sensitivity of freezing rain formation to the temperature of this lower air layer makes precise forecasting of formation, amount and ice accumulation rate difficult, particularly since sites measuring the vertical temperature distribution are few and widely spread across the affected region.
In most cases of glaze formation, the temperatures of the air, the rain water, and the surface are at or slightly below 0oC, especially in those events where icing is extensive. Glaze ice usually forms when the air temperature near the surface is in the narrow range of -4oC to 0oC (25oF to 32oF). Once the water droplet strikes a surface, the violent impact triggers a rapid transformation of the supercooled liquid water to ice."
Anyway, there's the science behind it. Now let's look at some other examples of brutal ice storms.
The first one that comes to mind is the Ice Storm of 1998. Wikipedia has a good summary of the storm that hit Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick, New York, Vermont and New Hampshire. Damage estimates from that storm ranged from $5-7 billion, and there were nearly 60 deaths reported. Damage to Canada's power infrastructure was severe, as this picture shows:
Jumping back a bit, we also have the Great Ice Storm of 1886, which hit New Hampshire. I point this one out since there is a good resource with historical photos online.
Here's one of the photos:
There was also the Nashville Ice Storm of 1951, also known as the "Great Blizzard." The National Weather Service has the history of that storm.
I'm sure there have been plenty of other large ice storms, and this is simply a quick summary. However, it is clear that ice storms are some of the most damaging and most dangerous storms.
My number one tip, if you're in an ice storm, no matter what kind of car you have (SUV, 4 wheel drive, etc), don't try to drive it. Stay put. Don't become a bumper car, as seen in a video shot in Portland.
Finally, you can check out this handy (albeit a bit corny) PDF from the National Weather Service: Winter Storms - The Deceptive Killers.