Category Archives: The Weather Will Kill Us All

January 27, 2014, 5:16 pm

Floated Through The Air Like Autumn Leaves Dealing Death And Destruction

1938 hurricane September 21 1938 weather mapThe Great New England Hurricane of 1938 was the first substantial hurricane to hit New England since the 19th century. It was a powerful storm (peaking at Category 5 and making landfall at Cat. 3), and the weather forecasting of the day was off in both its severity and its timing. This latter was particularly bad, as the hurricane arrived well before it was predicted to, and thus caught many before they had finished (or started!) their preparations. The eye went over New Haven, CT. Colonel Edwin Bowden, who we last saw losing money in the 1925 Florida housing boom was stationed in Devens, MA when the hurricane hit. He and a friend set out in the middle of the storm to rescue his wife, who was visiting friends at an exposed location. Bowden’s story (sorry for the image file!):

Library of Congress Veterans Collection. Photo copyright David Silbey 2013

The Bowden family survived…

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December 8, 2013, 5:37 pm


Montgomery County weather alert included the following:

If you must drive, please use extreme caution and allow plenty of breaking distance as pavement conditions remain unfavorable.


May 15, 2013, 6:52 pm

Volume, Confusion, and Rage: On Commuting

Knocker-up in action
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Commuting has been part of the human experience since the Industrial Revolution. Ever since the workplace and the home got firmly disentangled, people have been waking up and resignedly making their way to their place of employment. The amount of culture that has developed about the idea of commuting is enormous, including the “knocker-up” of 19th and early 20th century Britain who served, before the advent of universal alarm clocks, as a wake-up call for workers by tapping on their windows in the morning with a long pole.

It is probably safe to say that few have ever really enjoyed their commute [1], a feeling best exemplified by the opening scene of the movie Office Space, from which this excerpt comes (warning, very bad language):

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Commuting has had a fair amount of academic analysis applied to it. The…

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February 8, 2013, 5:56 pm

Storm of the Century

Been having a lot of those lately:


I note without comment that this parallels the appearance and rise of the Weather Channel. TWC is now naming winter storms, with a range of rather unstaid names. I look forward to Winter Storm Yogi.