Can you picture 8 trillion gallons?

The National Weather Service has estimated that 8 trillion gallons of rain fell on North Carolina during Hurricane Florence. That boggles the mind, not because it’s a big number but because it’s so big it’s hard to relate it to anything you can wrap your mind around. Ask Congress, which can’t grasp how big a $21 trillion national debt is so they don’t bother to. I’ll try to make the number smaller and, I hope, into something you can understand better so you’ll see the scope of the flooding now occurring. There will be some trivial rounding errors involved but don’t sweat it. There are 7.5 gallons in a cubic foot so if we divide 8,000,000,000,000 by 7.5 we get 1,066,666,666,666 cu ft. Smaller, but not much help. Now let’s think of a swimming pool. You can picture a swimming pool, right? Our swimming pool is 8 ft deep all over. 8 ft is easy to picture. It’s the distance from the floor to the ceiling in most houses. If we divide the volume by 8 ft we get 133,333,333,333 sq ft of surface area in our pool. Still hard to picture. I know that most pools are rectangular or some weird kidney-shaped but to make it simpler our pool is square. If we take the square root of the area, we get 365,148 feet. That is the length of each side of our pool. Getting there. That’s a lot of feet so let’s try miles. Yes, miles. Divide by 5,280 and we find that our swimming pool is 8 feet deep and 69 miles long on each side. The rain that fell on North Carolina would have filled our pool. Still a bit mind boggling but much easier to picture than 8 trillion gallons. Isn’t math fun? Feel free to check my numbers, just in case.

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I’m back, at least for now.

It’s the first full weekend of college football and while it’s mostly cupcake games there are enough potentially great ones to keep you entertained so here’s Mike’s entertainment and channel guide.

Noon on FS1 is Texas at Maryland. Normally I wouldn’t include this one because Texas is a 2 TD favorite but it will be interesting to see how Maryland reacts to the recent death of a player after a practice, the suspension of the head coach, the firing of two assistants, an investigation, and lots of lawyers. Take Texas and give the points.

Noon on ESPN is Mississippi at Texas Tech. Tech is a FG favorite. Ole Miss has the offense but a defense that gave up lots of points last year. Tech has an air raid offense but a new starting QB. Even though they are on the road, take Ole Miss and the points.

3:30 on ABC is what should be the best game of the day – #6 Washington and #9 Auburn playing indoors at Atlanta. Auburn is a 2-point favorite but consider the game a Pick ‘Em. Both teams are playoff contenders. Both teams have strong offenses that lost few players from last year. It will come down to which defense cracks. I think Auburn’s O-line will be too much for Washington’s D-line, allowing for some big runs. Take Auburn, give the points.

3:30 on CBS is #17 West Virginia and Tennessee playing at Charlotte. WV is a 10-point favorite but the question today is whether Tennessee, under a new head coach, sucks as much as they did last year. Lots of questions about both teams this year. For WV it’s their defense. For Tennessee, it’s their offense which averaged less than 20 points a game last year. The Vols picked up a couple of star grad transfers, particularly at QB with Stanford’s Keller Chryst. Look for Tennessee to lose, but not by the spread.

3:30 on ESPNU is my team, Kentucky, hosting Central Michigan. Kentucky is a 17-point favorite but don’t let that fool you. Kentucky has a history of flat out losing to non-conference, minor-conference foes, never mind the spread. Benny Snell is back at RB so look for some break-away speed and long runs. The Cats start a JC transfer at QB but he’s mobile and has an arm, with a reasonable good receiver corp to throw to. The defensive line, however, has already lost a couple of key players to preseason injuries so it will all be on the linebackers and defensive backs to save the day. As for special teams, it’s best not to talk about that. Despite all this, take Kentucky and give the points.

7:30 on NBC is #14 Michigan at #12 Notre Dame in a game nobody cares about but fans of Michigan and Notre Dame. The game is a Pick ‘Em so pick one. I don’t care which. The best part of any Michigan game is usually what looney thing Jim Harbaugh has to say in the post-game press conference.

8:00 on ABC is #1 Alabama and Louisville playing in Orlando. Bama is a 24-point favorite and I only include the game because I like to see Louisville get crushed, and they will be. Take Bama and give the points. It won’t be close.

Something I’ll ask my Senator, Lindsey Graham

Senator Graham, this is the oath of office you took when you were elected to the Senate:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”

Where in there does it say “except for the Fourth Amendment”? You know, the amendment that says “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

If Eisenhower gave his famous 1961 farewell address today…

1961
“This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military–industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

2015
“This conjunction of an immense intelligence establishment and a large technology industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the intelligence-technological complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge technological and intelligence machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

It’s flu shot time!

I noticed something new on the CDC’s website this year about flu shots. In the past the only vaccine offered was a trivalent one. It provides protection against the 2 A-strains and 1 B-strain of influenza that the CDC thinks will be most prevalent during the season. This year there will be a quadrivalent vaccine available that protects against an additional B-strain in addition to the others. People 65 and older have the option to get a high dose trivalent shot. I’m guessing that this provides extra protection for seniors whose immune systems may not be as robust as they once were. Not every clinic will be offering all 3 vaccines but you can check which clinic offers what by going to http://flushot.healthmap.org/ and typing in your zip code.

Meta data and how it can be misinterpreted.

MIT has developed this program called Immersion that examines the From, To, Cc and Timestamp fields of the emails in the account you are signing in with. Supposedly it doesn’t examine the content of your emails. This is what my Gmail account looks like over the last 3 years.

Image

By looking at this you would think that Briar is my favorite child. OK, some days she is but since she is a chef and I’m a foodie I often send her links to food-related articles I come across and email is the best way to do that. Justine’s circle is smaller because we often communicate via the WhatsApp. William’s circle looks like a bump on a pickle because we usually use FB to message each other. The NSA might be wondering who Christy is. I am, too.

It’s time to play “Ask the Candidates”.

Before every general election I ask some of the candadates on the ballot in my precenct questions about the issues that are the most important to me. First up this year, like in 2008, are the candidates for County Council in District 6, which covers part of West Ashley and a small part of North Charleston. Vick Rawl is the Democratic incumbent and Carolyn Hughes is his Republican opponent. These are the questions:

1) Now that the SC DOT has voted to not take over the I-526 extension what do you think County Council should do? If Council decides that 526 should be finished what path should the highway follow and how should it be financed? Should it be a limited access highway like the rest of 526 or a parkway with more points of entry?

 2) Do you think County Council should approve, at least in theory, the Sea Islands Greenway? If so, how should that be financed?

 3) This is related to the first two questions. The PGA hinted that the PGA Championship could return to the Ocean Course at Kiawah as early as 2019 but that they had concerns about the traffic problems this year. Is a PGA Championship every 7 to 10 years enough reason to widen the roads leading to the island? Or were the problems mostly about getting people out of the parking lots on Kiawah and not about the roads? 

4) Should County Council approve the tax-increment financing district for the Beach Company’s Kiawah River Plantation development?

If you live in District 6 and have other questions you'd like me to ask let me know ASAP. I'll post the responses here.