Thursday, April 19, 2007

We have a president

Dr. Mark Huddleston, presedent of Ohio Wesleyan University, has been elected the 19th president of UNH.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Addtion to the pile: Week of 16 April 2007

Only one paper of interest last week:

Huba, J. D., and G. Joyce (2007), Equatorial spread F modeling: Multiple bifurcated structures, secondary instabilities, large density 'bite-outs', and supersonic flows, GRL 34, L07105.

Flood warning

The latest storm resulted in a small stream flood warning for our area. The Town of Durham reports that several area roads are closed or may close:

  1. Bagdad Road by pond - 1 foot of water going over roadway.

  2. Coe Drive by SAU - water over roadway by large culvert

  3. Mill Road at Plaza entrance

  4. Pettee Brook/Madbury Road at brook - the Pettee Brook is running over Madbury Road

  5. Bennett Road in typical three locations - near Packers Falls Road; by LaRoche Brook; Between Beaudette and LaRoche farms.

  6. Dame Road by Dame Farm/twin culverts (on Durham Point end of road)

  7. Durham Point Road in two locations - by Bay Road; by Deer Meadow Road

  8. Route 155 to Dover is closed

  9. Route 4 to Portsmouth is open but a great deal of water on either side of road by Wagon Hill Farm

  10. Route 108/Dover Road by Evangelical Church is under 1 foot of water and is expected to worsen

  11. Route 108/Dover Road by Beards Creek is a concern - the water is very high here.

UNH was open this morning but curtailed operations sometime around 10:15 EDT. I saw the Mill Road closure on my way to work this morning: water was gushing out of a storm drain at College Brook, which is at the highest level I have ever seen it (and quite a bit higher than during last year's monsoon).

UPDATE: NWS has posted a spotter report of 5.35 inches of rain from this storm as of 8:00 EDT, and it's been raining all day.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Friday music mix: Games and luck

Today is Friday the 13th, a date many in the West associate with bad luck. So here is a list of songs about games and luck:

Warren Zevon -- Lawyers, Guns and Money
Little River Band -- Lonesome Loser
Bob Seger -- Fire Lake
Genesis -- Invisible Touch
Jethro Tull -- Only Solitaire
Alan Parsons Project -- Games People Play
Suzanne Vega -- Knight Moves
ABBA -- Take A Chance On Me
Pink Floyd -- On The Run
Queen -- Play The Game

One bullet dodged, another coming

Snow in April hereabouts is not that unusual. Three snowstorms in the same April is.

We didn't get much snow out of yesterday's storm, but there's another one coming:

... A potential major coastal storm may affect the entire area Sunday through early next week...

Latest indications are showing a growing potential for a major noreaster to develop and intensify along or off the mid Atlantic
coast on Sunday and then stall off the southern New England coast early next week.

If this occurs the potential for copious amounts of snow or rain exist. Very strong winds would also accompany this storm.

Along the coast coastal flooding and beach erosion may occur due to the potential combination of strong onshore winds and astronomical high tides early next week.

Mariners should also take note and be prepared to head to port and take the appropriate precautions.

This is a storm that will need to be monitored very closely due to its potential size and intensity. All interests are advised to
keep abreast of the latest statements on this developing situation since it is still several days away.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Here we go again...

Tomorrow's forecast calls for 3-6 inches of snow mixed with rain. Another big mess.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Additions to the pile: Week of 9 April 2007

Last Monday there wasn't anything to report, but this week we have quite a few papers of interest in AGU journals:

Chaston, C. C., C. W. Carlson, J. P. McFadden, R. E. Ergun, and R. J. Strangeway (2007), How important are dispersive Alfvén waves for auroral particle acceleration?, GRL 34, L07101.

Lui, A. T. Y., M. W. Dunlop, H. Rème, L. M. Kistler, G. Gustafsson, and Q.-G. Zong (2007), Internal structure of a magnetic flux rope from Cluster observations, GRL 34, L07102.

Wang, H., and H. Lühr (2007), Seasonal-longitudinal variation of substorm occurrence frequency: Evidence for ionospheric control, GRL 34, L07104.

Sandholt, P. E., and C. J. Farrugia (2007), Role fo poleward moving auroral forms in the dawn-dusk auroral precipitation asymmetries induced by IMF By, JGR 112, A04203.

Xin, L., and J. D. Menietti (2007), Modulation of the growth of auroral kilometric radiation by electromagnetic ion cyclotron waves, JGR 112, A04205.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Friday music mix: Twelve bar blues and twelve tone rows

I like quite a few different kinds of classical music, from the Renaissance to modern stuff, as well as quite a variety of popular music. There are some exceptions. In two of those cases, the fundamental reason why I dislike the genre is the same, but the details of why are quite different. They are twelve bar blues and twelve tone rows, and the fundamental reason is that in both cases the artificial restrictions imposed are too severe.

Twelve bar blues has a rigidly defined chord progression: I-I-I-I-IV-IV-I-I-V-IV-I-I. Repeat ad nauseam. The result is that all such songs have a tendency to sound alike. Note that it doesn't take much deviation from the formula to make a song enjoyable: the Pink Floyd songs "Money" (from Dark Side of the Moon) and "Dogs of War" (from A Momentary Lapse of Reason) are based on that same chord progression but have deviations as simple as changes in meter that are enough to make both songs enjoyable.

In principle, it is quite simple to write a twelve-tone piece. Start with the twelve notes of the Western chromatic scale arranged in some initially arbitrary order. Once that order is fixed, the following transformations are allowed:

  1. Inversion. Where the original sequence goes up (down) by n semitones, the new sequence goes down (up) by the same number of semitones.

  2. Retrogression. Play it backwards. (The people who were looking for hidden messages by playing songs backwards were looking in completely the wrong place.)

  3. Inverted retrogression. Do both of the above transformations.

  4. Transposition. Take the original sequence, or the result of any of the above transformations, and shift every note by the same number of semitones.

In most cases, these transformations will give you a total of 48 sequences. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to use all 48 sequences in something that actually sounds like music and not just mind games. I don't know of anyone who has succeeded; there has not been the equivalent of the Well-Tempered Klavier for twelve-tone rows. Again, it's not that I dislike 20th century concert hall music; on the contrary, I count Aaron Copland, Gustav Holst, and Percy Grainger. The difference is that these composers connect with the listener, in ways that practitioners of twelve-tone music like Arnold Schoenberg do not.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

It's a mess out there

Lots of tree limbs down, power is out in many areas and not expected to be fully restored until Saturday. At least one neighborhood in Durham was completely cut off earlier today: downed power lines and trees prevented all access.

I had power this morning (there is now a carload of brush in my yard, but none of it fell on power lines), so I shoveled out and then walked to work as usual. Only when I got to campus did I find out that operations were curtailed all day. The power was out in my building (and probably campuswide) for several hours overnight; presumably the administration wasn't sure when (or if) the power would be back today. For the record: it was back by 9 AM.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Just because it's April doesn't mean winter's over

A winter weather advisory is in effect tonight:

A Winter Weather Advisory remains in effect from 6 PM this evening to 10 am EDT Thursday.

Look for occasional snow or rain during the day today... with snow accumulations generally an inch or less. The mixed precipitation will change to snow tonight. By the time the snow tapers to rain and snow showers Thursday morning... expect a storm total accumulation of 4 to 6 inches.