Disrespecting Authorities That Cry Wolf

 

Having the trifecta of a conservative temperament, theology, and political outlook, I am the kind of guy who generally respects authorities.  This is getting harder to do.  One of the recurrent problems is authorities who “cry wolf.” I received the following warning over my iPhone, accompanied by an emergency audio signal vaguely reminiscent of a Star Trek red alert:

Emergency Alert

National Weather Service: A FLASH FLOOD WARNING is in effect for this area until 3:45 PM MST.  This is a dangerous and life-threatening situation.  Do not attempt to travel unless you are fleeing an area subject to flooding or under an evacuation order.

I’m in Tucson, Arizona.  I’ve lived here, more or less continuously, for almost 50 years now.  I don’t think that I’ve ever seen a rainstorm that presented a dangerous and life-threatening situation.  Not, at least, if you exercise a lick of common sense, like staying out of washes.

I received two of these messages over the weekend, too, but being among the oldest of Gen X, I pressed a button on my phone that deleted the message before I could transcribe it and couldn’t get it back.  (Isn’t that helpful, too?)

I’ve noticed this strange trend for quite a long time now, but it seems to be getting worse.  Many people seem paranoid, panicked, phobic.   Risks seem to be wildly overstated.  It sometimes seems as if the whole world is composed of the type of hysterical teenaged girl who gave us the witch trials once upon a time.

The examples are legion, and are not confined to one side of the political spectrum:

  • Dying of Covid
  • Getting shot by the cops
  • Mass extinction, apparently, because the temperature may be warming up a bit
  • A variety of catastrophes if the Taliban takes over Afghanistan (again)
  • Russian troops invading the US if not stopped at the Ukrainian border, or something like that

And oh, by the way, it’s a life-threatening emergency every time it rains in Tucson.

This is getting a bit old.

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  1. kedavis Inactive
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    DrewInWisconsin, Oik (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin, Oik (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Justin Other Lawyer (View Comment):

    I prefer Kelvin.

    That was a terrible movie, and the ones following have been even worse.

    Wrong!

    Oh come on. Just for one thing, Scotty “accidentally” beams into the liquid cooling system of an interstellar starship, and it’s just for grins?

    You’re so analytical. Sometimes you just have to let art . . . flow . . . over you.

    Crap like that exceeds my ability to suspend disbelief, and for very good reason.

    If they just wanted some yucks, they could have beamed him into the women’s showers or something.

    • #91
  2. DrewInWisconsin, Oik Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oik
    @DrewInWisconsin

    kedavis (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin, Oik (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin, Oik (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Justin Other Lawyer (View Comment):

    I prefer Kelvin.

    That was a terrible movie, and the ones following have been even worse.

    Wrong!

    Oh come on. Just for one thing, Scotty “accidentally” beams into the liquid cooling system of an interstellar starship, and it’s just for grins?

    You’re so analytical. Sometimes you just have to let art . . . flow . . . over you.

    Crap like that exceeds my ability to suspend disbelief, and for very good reason.

    You probably hated Jar-Jar, too.

     

    • #92
  3. kedavis Inactive
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    DrewInWisconsin, Oik (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin, Oik (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin, Oik (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Justin Other Lawyer (View Comment):

    I prefer Kelvin.

    That was a terrible movie, and the ones following have been even worse.

    Wrong!

    Oh come on. Just for one thing, Scotty “accidentally” beams into the liquid cooling system of an interstellar starship, and it’s just for grins?

    You’re so analytical. Sometimes you just have to let art . . . flow . . . over you.

    Crap like that exceeds my ability to suspend disbelief, and for very good reason.

    You probably hated Jar-Jar, too.

     

    Well sure, Jar-Jar Abrams has done many awful things. Although “Alias” was pretty good.  But everything else seems to be a rip-off from things far better than he’s made, that were made by far better people than him.

    • #93
  4. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):

    randallg (View Comment):
    Here in southern BC we are going through the hot part of summer. That means temps in Vancouver the mid-high 20s C (sorry Americans), and ranging into the mid-high 30s C in the interior.

    For some reason, Tucson had a bank clock and thermometer that displayed C and F. When we moved in June, we drove by it and it read 46 C and then 114 F. A nice welcome to Tucson.

    For some reason? Mexico uses Celsius.

    (I preferred Centigrade.)

    Centigrades freak me out with all their legs. I prefer tardigrades. 

    • #94
  5. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Justin Other Lawyer (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Justin Other Lawyer (View Comment):
    I prefer Kelvin.

    Don’t have to worry about the little degree symbol.

    Yup.

    Plus, even really cold temps are still positive.

    I just had a thought, what would be neat is a scale from 0 to 1, where 0 is absolute zero and 1 is that “maximum heat” I’ve seen some mentions of recently.

    Every temperature relevant to people, especially, would be a very small fraction.

    I think I have a fever.  My thermometer reads 0.000013.  Is that high?

    • #95
  6. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Justin Other Lawyer (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Justin Other Lawyer (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):

    randallg (View Comment):
    Here in southern BC we are going through the hot part of summer. That means temps in Vancouver the mid-high 20s C (sorry Americans), and ranging into the mid-high 30s C in the interior.

    For some reason, Tucson had a bank clock and thermometer that displayed C and F. When we moved in June, we drove by it and it read 46 C and then 114 F. A nice welcome to Tucson.

    For some reason? Mexico uses Celsius.

    (I preferred Centigrade.)

    I prefer Kelvin.

    The cartoon?

    Lord Kelvin.

    So, not the kid with the stuffed tiger.

    • #96
  7. Taras Coolidge
    Taras
    @Taras

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Justin Other Lawyer (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Justin Other Lawyer (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):

    randallg (View Comment):
    Here in southern BC we are going through the hot part of summer. That means temps in Vancouver the mid-high 20s C (sorry Americans), and ranging into the mid-high 30s C in the interior.

    For some reason, Tucson had a bank clock and thermometer that displayed C and F. When we moved in June, we drove by it and it read 46 C and then 114 F. A nice welcome to Tucson.

    For some reason? Mexico uses Celsius.

    (I preferred Centigrade.)

    I prefer Kelvin.

    The cartoon?

    Lord Kelvin.

    So, not the kid with the stuffed tiger.

    Kelvin and Higgs?

     

    • #97
  8. randallg Member
    randallg
    @randallg

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Justin Other Lawyer (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Justin Other Lawyer (View Comment):
    I prefer Kelvin.

    Don’t have to worry about the little degree symbol.

    Yup.

    Plus, even really cold temps are still positive.

    I just had a thought, what would be neat is a scale from 0 to 1, where 0 is absolute zero and 1 is that “maximum heat” I’ve seen some mentions of recently.

    Every temperature relevant to people, especially, would be a very small fraction.

    That’s a bit impractical.
    Maximum heat happened in the big bang at t=0 and T=infinity° in any scale.
    Meaning any real temperature is 0°.

     

    • #98
  9. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    randallg (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Justin Other Lawyer (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Justin Other Lawyer (View Comment):
    I prefer Kelvin.

    Don’t have to worry about the little degree symbol.

    Yup.

    Plus, even really cold temps are still positive.

    I just had a thought, what would be neat is a scale from 0 to 1, where 0 is absolute zero and 1 is that “maximum heat” I’ve seen some mentions of recently.

    Every temperature relevant to people, especially, would be a very small fraction.

    That’s a bit impractical.
    Maximum heat happened in the big bang at t=0 and T=infinity° in any scale.
    Meaning any real temperature is 0°.

    Then I must have a fever.

    • #99
  10. kedavis Inactive
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Flicker (View Comment):

    randallg (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Justin Other Lawyer (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Justin Other Lawyer (View Comment):
    I prefer Kelvin.

    Don’t have to worry about the little degree symbol.

    Yup.

    Plus, even really cold temps are still positive.

    I just had a thought, what would be neat is a scale from 0 to 1, where 0 is absolute zero and 1 is that “maximum heat” I’ve seen some mentions of recently.

    Every temperature relevant to people, especially, would be a very small fraction.

    That’s a bit impractical.
    Maximum heat happened in the big bang at t=0 and T=infinity° in any scale.
    Meaning any real temperature is 0°.

    Then I must have a fever.

    And hypothermia.

    Simultaneously.

    • #100
  11. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Taras (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Justin Other Lawyer (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Justin Other Lawyer (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):

    randallg (View Comment):
    Here in southern BC we are going through the hot part of summer. That means temps in Vancouver the mid-high 20s C (sorry Americans), and ranging into the mid-high 30s C in the interior.

    For some reason, Tucson had a bank clock and thermometer that displayed C and F. When we moved in June, we drove by it and it read 46 C and then 114 F. A nice welcome to Tucson.

    For some reason? Mexico uses Celsius.

    (I preferred Centigrade.)

    I prefer Kelvin.

    The cartoon?

    Lord Kelvin.

    So, not the kid with the stuffed tiger.

    Kelvin and Higgs?

    I can’t top that.

    • #101
  12. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    kedavis (View Comment):

    I just had a thought, what would be neat is a scale from 0 to 1, where 0 is absolute zero and 1 is that “maximum heat” I’ve seen some mentions of recently.

    Every temperature relevant to people, especially, would be a very small fraction.

    That would not be very useful.

    • #102
  13. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Arahant (View Comment):

    randallg (View Comment):
    the mid-high 20s C (sorry Americans), and ranging into the mid-high 30s C

    25 C = 77 F
    26 C = 78.8 F
    27 C = 80.6F
    28 C = 82.4 F
    29 C = 84.2 F
    30 C = 86 F
    31 C = 87.8 F
    32 C = 89.6 F
    33 C = 91.4 F
    34 C = 93.2 F
    35 C = 95 F
    36 C = 96.8 F

    mnemonic device:

    30 is warm

    20 is nice

    10 is chilly

    0 is ice.

    • #103
  14. kedavis Inactive
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Arahant (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    I just had a thought, what would be neat is a scale from 0 to 1, where 0 is absolute zero and 1 is that “maximum heat” I’ve seen some mentions of recently.

    Every temperature relevant to people, especially, would be a very small fraction.

    That would not be very useful.

    And I point out the same problem with Celsius, really.  For example with thermostats, a Celsius thermostat has to allow for fractions otherwise you only have half the “discrimination” available to F thermostats.  Since one degree C is about equal to two degrees F.  So, roughly, for example, without fractions you can’t adjust a C thermostat to what might be 72 F.  You can have 71 or 73, but not 72.

    • #104
  15. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    kedavis (View Comment):
    And I point out the same problem with Celsius, really.  For example with thermostats, a Celsius thermostat has to allow for fractions otherwise you only have half the “discrimination” available to F thermostats.  Since one degree C is about equal to two degrees F.  So, roughly, for example, without fractions you can’t adjust a C thermostat to what might be 72 F.  You can have 71 or 73, but not 72.

    Try the Rankine.

    • #105
  16. randallg Member
    randallg
    @randallg

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    I just had a thought, what would be neat is a scale from 0 to 1, where 0 is absolute zero and 1 is that “maximum heat” I’ve seen some mentions of recently.

    Every temperature relevant to people, especially, would be a very small fraction.

    That would not be very useful.

    And I point out the same problem with Celsius, really. For example with thermostats, a Celsius thermostat has to allow for fractions otherwise you only have half the “discrimination” available to F thermostats. Since one degree C is about equal to two degrees F. So, roughly, for example, without fractions you can’t adjust a C thermostat to what might be 72 F. You can have 71 or 73, but not 72.

    Unless you have an analogue thermostat! Old fashioned I know, but it is infinitely variable, at least to the quantum level. I include my Celtic Woman calendar because it is beautiful.

    • #106
  17. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    kedavis (View Comment):
    And I point out the same problem with Celsius, really.  For example with thermostats, a Celsius thermostat has to allow for fractions otherwise you only have half the “discrimination” available to F thermostats.  Since one degree C is about equal to two degrees F.  So, roughly, for example, without fractions you can’t adjust a C thermostat to what might be 72 F.  You can have 71 or 73, but not 72.

    Also, most modern thermostats allow one to set which scale one wants.

    • #107
  18. randallg Member
    randallg
    @randallg

    randallg (View Comment):

    Unless you have an analogue thermostat! Old fashioned I know, but it is infinitely variable, at least to the quantum level. I include my Celtic Woman calendar because it is beautiful.

    Which reminds me, it is August now.

    • #108
  19. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    I think we have officially broken the thread.

    • #109
  20. kedavis Inactive
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    randallg (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    I just had a thought, what would be neat is a scale from 0 to 1, where 0 is absolute zero and 1 is that “maximum heat” I’ve seen some mentions of recently.

    Every temperature relevant to people, especially, would be a very small fraction.

    That would not be very useful.

    And I point out the same problem with Celsius, really. For example with thermostats, a Celsius thermostat has to allow for fractions otherwise you only have half the “discrimination” available to F thermostats. Since one degree C is about equal to two degrees F. So, roughly, for example, without fractions you can’t adjust a C thermostat to what might be 72 F. You can have 71 or 73, but not 72.

    Unless you have an analogue thermostat! Old fashioned I know, but it is infinitely variable, at least to the quantum level. I include my Celtic Woman calendar because it is beautiful.

    Are those the magnetic/spring type thermostats?  Those are the worst, due to hysteresis in operation.

    • #110
  21. kedavis Inactive
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Arahant (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):
    And I point out the same problem with Celsius, really. For example with thermostats, a Celsius thermostat has to allow for fractions otherwise you only have half the “discrimination” available to F thermostats. Since one degree C is about equal to two degrees F. So, roughly, for example, without fractions you can’t adjust a C thermostat to what might be 72 F. You can have 71 or 73, but not 72.

    Also, most modern thermostats allow one to set which scale one wants.

    Yes, but unless the C scale allows for fractional settings – and so far I haven’t seen one that does – you lose half of your “granularity.”

    • #111
  22. randallg Member
    randallg
    @randallg

    Arahant (View Comment):

    I think we have officially broken the thread.

    It was broken until I restored it with my post on the hysterical heat warning here in BC. Admittedly I have since broken it again, probably irretrievably. But the Celtic Women are lovely and talented!

    • #112
  23. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):
    And I point out the same problem with Celsius, really. For example with thermostats, a Celsius thermostat has to allow for fractions otherwise you only have half the “discrimination” available to F thermostats. Since one degree C is about equal to two degrees F. So, roughly, for example, without fractions you can’t adjust a C thermostat to what might be 72 F. You can have 71 or 73, but not 72.

    Also, most modern thermostats allow one to set which scale one wants.

    Yes, but unless the C scale allows for fractional settings – and so far I haven’t seen one that does – you lose half of your “granularity.”

    Some folks would complain if ya hanged ’em with a new rope.

    • #113
  24. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    randallg (View Comment):
    But the Celtic Women are lovely and talented!

    True.

    • #114
  25. kedavis Inactive
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Arahant (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):
    And I point out the same problem with Celsius, really. For example with thermostats, a Celsius thermostat has to allow for fractions otherwise you only have half the “discrimination” available to F thermostats. Since one degree C is about equal to two degrees F. So, roughly, for example, without fractions you can’t adjust a C thermostat to what might be 72 F. You can have 71 or 73, but not 72.

    Also, most modern thermostats allow one to set which scale one wants.

    Yes, but unless the C scale allows for fractional settings – and so far I haven’t seen one that does – you lose half of your “granularity.”

    Some folks would complain if ya hanged ’em with a new rope.

    It’s the hanging that matters, not the age of the rope.

    • #115
  26. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    kedavis (View Comment):

    randallg (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    I just had a thought, what would be neat is a scale from 0 to 1, where 0 is absolute zero and 1 is that “maximum heat” I’ve seen some mentions of recently.

    Every temperature relevant to people, especially, would be a very small fraction.

    That would not be very useful.

    And I point out the same problem with Celsius, really. For example with thermostats, a Celsius thermostat has to allow for fractions otherwise you only have half the “discrimination” available to F thermostats. Since one degree C is about equal to two degrees F. So, roughly, for example, without fractions you can’t adjust a C thermostat to what might be 72 F. You can have 71 or 73, but not 72.

    Unless you have an analogue thermostat! Old fashioned I know, but it is infinitely variable, at least to the quantum level. I include my Celtic Woman calendar because it is beautiful.

    Are those the magnetic/spring type thermostats? Those are the worst, due to hysteresis in operation.

    Hysterics are why only dads are allowed to touch them. 

    ~cancels self~ 

    • #116
  27. Taras Coolidge
    Taras
    @Taras

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):
    And I point out the same problem with Celsius, really. For example with thermostats, a Celsius thermostat has to allow for fractions otherwise you only have half the “discrimination” available to F thermostats. Since one degree C is about equal to two degrees F. So, roughly, for example, without fractions you can’t adjust a C thermostat to what might be 72 F. You can have 71 or 73, but not 72.

    Also, most modern thermostats allow one to set which scale one wants.

    Yes, but unless the C scale allows for fractional settings – and so far I haven’t seen one that does – you lose half of your “granularity.”

    Some folks would complain if ya hanged ’em with a new rope.

    It’s the hanging that matters, not the age of the rope.

    “[M]ost modern thermostats allow one to set which scale one wants” — not in Scotland, perhaps.  

    I was staying in a hotel in Glasgow, during a cold summer some years ago, and every evening the temperature in my room would be comfortable, but by morning it would be too cold.  With pen and paper, I did my Fahrenheit to Celsius conversions; but I always seemed to be setting the thermostat wrong.*

    After several days I learned that the heating was shut off, so it didn’t matter how I set the thermostat.  The hotel loaned me a space heater, but by that time I had already caught a cold.

    Not telling people things they need to know may be a Scottish trait.  On another visit, it was only when I tried to change trains in the underground that I discovered the branch to the convention center had flooded that spring and was still shut down.

    *The thermostat lacked a Fahrenheit option, presumably because advocates for metrication enjoy imposing that extra bit of coercion.

    • #117
  28. kedavis Inactive
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Taras (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):
    And I point out the same problem with Celsius, really. For example with thermostats, a Celsius thermostat has to allow for fractions otherwise you only have half the “discrimination” available to F thermostats. Since one degree C is about equal to two degrees F. So, roughly, for example, without fractions you can’t adjust a C thermostat to what might be 72 F. You can have 71 or 73, but not 72.

    Also, most modern thermostats allow one to set which scale one wants.

    Yes, but unless the C scale allows for fractional settings – and so far I haven’t seen one that does – you lose half of your “granularity.”

    Some folks would complain if ya hanged ’em with a new rope.

    It’s the hanging that matters, not the age of the rope.

    “[M]ost modern thermostats allow one to set which scale one wants” — not in Scotland, perhaps.

    I was staying in a hotel in Glasgow, during a cold summer some years ago, and every evening the temperature in my room would be comfortable, but by morning it would be too cold. With pen and paper, I did my Fahrenheit to Celsius conversions; but I always seemed to be setting the thermostat wrong.*

    After several days I learned that the heating was shut off, so it didn’t matter how I set the thermostat. The hotel loaned me a space heater, but by that time I had already caught a cold.

    Not telling people things they need to know may be a Scottish trait. On another visit, it was only when I tried to change trains in the underground that I discovered the branch to the convention center had flooded that spring and was still shut down.

    *The thermostat lacked a Fahrenheit option, presumably because advocates for metrication enjoy imposing that extra bit of coercion.

    Was it digital, or analog?

    A digital thermostat in Celsius, without fractional settings, could only be set to the equivalent of like 71 or 73.  The equivalent of the intermediate temp of 72 F would not be available because 1 degree C is about the same as 2 degrees F.

    • #118
  29. Taras Coolidge
    Taras
    @Taras

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Taras (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):
    And I point out the same problem with Celsius, really. For example with thermostats, a Celsius thermostat has to allow for fractions otherwise you only have half the “discrimination” available to F thermostats. Since one degree C is about equal to two degrees F. So, roughly, for example, without fractions you can’t adjust a C thermostat to what might be 72 F. You can have 71 or 73, but not 72.

    Also, most modern thermostats allow one to set which scale one wants.

    Yes, but unless the C scale allows for fractional settings – and so far I haven’t seen one that does – you lose half of your “granularity.”

    Some folks would complain if ya hanged ’em with a new rope.

    It’s the hanging that matters, not the age of the rope.

    “[M]ost modern thermostats allow one to set which scale one wants” — not in Scotland, perhaps.

    I was staying in a hotel in Glasgow, during a cold summer some years ago, and every evening the temperature in my room would be comfortable, but by morning it would be too cold. With pen and paper, I did my Fahrenheit to Celsius conversions; but I always seemed to be setting the thermostat wrong.*

    After several days I learned that the heating was shut off, so it didn’t matter how I set the thermostat. The hotel loaned me a space heater, but by that time I had already caught a cold.

    Not telling people things they need to know may be a Scottish trait. On another visit, it was only when I tried to change trains in the underground that I discovered the branch to the convention center had flooded that spring and was still shut down.

    *The thermostat lacked a Fahrenheit option, presumably because advocates for metrication enjoy imposing that extra bit of coercion.

    Was it digital, or analog?

    A digital thermostat in Celsius, without fractional settings, could only be set to the equivalent of like 71 or 73. The equivalent of the intermediate temp of 72 F would not be available because 1 degree C is about the same as 2 degrees F.

    Analog, as best I can recall.

    • #119
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