The Thinking 

Peak Winter

January 2, 2010



The summit of Mount Washington in New Hampshire has some of the most extreme weather on the planet. The peak is situated in the path of dramatic clashes of air masses, as if it stood between warring gods hurling ice and blocks of frigid air. At 6,288 feet, Washington is higher than the surrounding mountains, unprotected by the sort of frictional interference that would modify conditions on a smaller peak. The other day the wind chill was – 82 Fahrenheit with winds gusting up to 100 miles per hour.

The observers on the summit, who take continuous readings of wind, temperature, barometric pressure and humidity, are envied by weather junkies everywhere. But their lives include many tedious chores. For one, they have to frequently remove rime ice from the instruments. Earlier this week, there was a seven-inch glaze of ice on the anemometer and wind vane.

Staff meteorologist Mike Carmon wrote in the daily journal on December 28:

Temperatures rose through the 20s throughout Saturday night and the wee hours of Sunday, and a southeast flow fed plentiful moisture into the region. As a result, glaze ice began to form around 10 p.m. At first, the accumulation was nothing out of the ordinary-about 1-2″ per hour. Then, when I went to the tower for the midnight observation, I could not believe my eyes! There was nearly 7″ of glaze ice coating the posts that I had de-iced approximately one hour before! It was by far the fastest accrual of glaze ice I had seen in my lifetime. The pitot-static anemometer and wind vane were encased in this thick coating. It took many, many whacks of the crowbar to get rid of all of this ice.

Read More »


Will Men Shame Women?

January 2, 2010


In the previous entry on the low-cut, low-rise, low class clothes of modern women, clothes that leave a man feeling insulted or in a constant state of  distraction or alienated from his normal male responses, Clark Coleman argued that men should shame women for their appearance. I said I thought it was unlikely that they would.

Perhaps I was too pessimistic. Maybe it could happen. Certainly it would be a great development.

But would men have the courage to criticize women who are powerful and attractive or even those who are their friendly co-workers? Can they afford to criticize women who are powerful and attractive?  There are effective ways to go about it. No woman likes to be called a slut. It’s a word that retains its power, unplugging the secret, stoppered spring of modesty and shame in even the most uninhibited and sexually practiced of women. Men have used this word often in reference to women with little social status, those who are not beautiful and who are sexually loose. They risk nothing in doing this. Could they use it against someone successful, in a position of influence, surrounded by admirers and yet dressed in lingerie at work?

As another reader comments below, the situation is serious for men. They sometimes risk financial and social ruin in criticizing women.

Read More »