Wednesday, July 7, 2010

a few thoughts

1. During the last winter we often heard people say things like, "Four more inches of snow. And they say there's 'global warming.' How can that be when it's so cold?"

I wonder if those same people are convinced by this record hot spell that truly there is global warming. Actually, they would be just as wrong as they were last winter. The problem is, as my son keeps pointing out, climate and weather are not the same thing. Today's conditions are weather. Any short period is weather. Climate is the difference between Florida and, let's say, New York, as observed over a long period of time.

2. Technology is changing the conditions of sports contests. Now, for example, you don't need to wonder if the umpire was correct when he calls balls and strikes. There are machine now that image the pitches and profess to show if the ball is within the strike zone.

At the World's Cup, the number and accuracy of the cameras and computers is threatening the integrity of officials as well. They can show whether someone was off-side from six angles, put up a computer generated model of the plays, and draw geometrically accurate lines and spaces to prove it. This "reality" has resulted in the Cup TV coverage no longer doing large screen replays at the stadiums. The risk of rioting is too real.

3. On days like this, hot and sunny, the most popular place in the neighborhood seems to be our birdbath. It needs to be replenished four times a day. The robins are the most enthusiastic non-paying customers. But te welcome sign is always posted for them. It's the starlings that are "avis non-grata."

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