December is here and you know what that means don’t you? Yes you’re right; it’s time for the ALERT Christmas party! You are all cordially invited to the ALERT Christmas party Tuesday, December 10 at the NWS Forecast Office. This is a Pot Luck affair, which means you bring your own pot, meaning a pot with food in it, a covered dish, or desert, for three or four people.
ALERT will provide the soft drinks. If you wish, apple cider, coffee and hot cocoa can be provided.
Our President Ronnie King is coordinating this event, so please contact him and let him know what you are bringing, how many people will be in your party and if you prefer any of the above drinks so he can make sure to be there early enough to fix them.
Ronnie can be reached at email@example.com or 745-1199
Bring your spouse, kids, and perspective members and be prepared to have Christmas fun!
“Loose Lips Sink Ships And Helps Relieve You Of Your Goods.”
Social Media is the rage of the land, and we all enjoy it to one degree or another. Whether it is Facebook, Twitter or any of the growing number of “social outlets”, we are all exposing more and more of our personal lives to the world.
We think “well they are my friends” and we ignore the inherent risks. You should ask yourselves “How much of my personal information am I broadcasting?” “To whom am I exposing myself and my family?”
Again, who really is seeing the detailed information you are providing? Remember it’s not just your “friends” who read your information. And, also please remember that the friends you have reconnected with after 35 years may not be the same people you knew “way back when”. People change, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse.
To be blunt and perhaps a little stinky, we put way too much personal information on “social media” sites.
For instance, posting or tweeting “I can’t wait until I get back from Los Angeles Jan 4 to try out my new HDTV & computer”, and then following up by giving position updates when you reach Dallas, Phoenix, and so forth. Why not just post an “out of town” sign in your front yard, hang a key & leave them a plate of cookies for the burglars while you are at it?
How about on the air? Is telling everyone within scanner range that you are leaving town really that smart of a move? Especially since you can look up a callsign on QRZ, get the address, go to MapQuest to get directions and even retrieve a recent satellite view of the house?
Remember that someone having a ham license doesn’t necessarily ensure that they are “nice people”. While most are, be assured that there are some crooks, creeps and lunatics in our midst, and not everyone who listen to us on scanners are saints either.
One problem we occasionally encounter is a ham casually giving out our address or phone number on the air. That, with the added little mention that we will be in Florida for a week or that I’m working the graveyard shift isn’t information I want advertised.
This too may help explain why, with the exception of emergency preparedness applications and hiking, I’m not really interested in getting into APRS.
It always seemed odd to me that some of the same gents who worry about the government tracking them with drones and GPS beacons install APRS units in their cars so that everyone and their goat can track their every move online.
It’s not that I’m going to go someplace I “shouldn’t go”. I just don’t want people to know that “the coast is clear, let’s go see what he’s got”.
Paranoid, you say? Not really, for “things” happen every day. I know for it has happened to me. I had my goods “liberated” a few years ago.
Do you really want to help those who could mean you harm?
Take for instance parents who proudly display the names of their children on the back of their cars. This is giving tactical information to any nut who can read.
“Hi Becky, I’m Jim, one of your dad’s buddies. Do you need a ride home?”
See what I mean?
Then there are the “soap opera details” that people choose to post. Do you really need to discuss the details of your proctologist exam for the whole world to see? Or other personal problems, such as job troubles, marital woes, or that you think Aunt Gladys is a nut? (Forgetting that Auntie is on your friends list.)
Finally, did you know that EVERYTHING that you post online whether on Facebook, Twitter, message boards or wherever remains out in cyberspace in your increasingly wide electronic footprint?
This is why some employers are requiring access to employee or prospective employee Facebook accounts.
Act nutty online today, and someone, somewhere just might dredge it up to use against you later.
The moral of the story is go ahead and have fun, but, use some common sense while you do so.
Remember the old saying “the cautious seldom err” – Confucius, or was it Elvis, I forget.
December, the tenth Roman Month, is the cloudiest month of the year, with only 40 to 60% of possible sunshine poking through the clouds. It is also the stormiest month of the year for the Continental US & the Gulf of Mexico. By “stormy” meaning large-scale storms, not necessarily the tornadic storms that they bring, even though we are still in the Second Tornado Season.
A region of heavy rainfall usually forms from Texas to Northwest Florida to Tennessee and Arkansas. Cold waves bringing rain, snow, ice and occasionally tornadoes, sweep across the region.
December can be cloudy and cold, and, then it can swing into spring like warmth, luring plants to bloom early, only to have the frosts and freezes return and the plants are “nipped in the bud”.
Hurricane season is now “officially” over, however Mother Nature sometimes throws a surprise in to make life interesting. In 124 years of records, from 1885 to 2011 there have been 5 December hurricanes. The last December hurricane being Hurricane Epsilon during the 2005 season, the year in which we ran out of hurricane names. That year also featured Tropical Storm Zeta, the latest forming Tropical Storm which formed on December 30, 2005 and lasted until January 7, 2006.
Winter Solstice will be December 21 at 11:11 AM CST.
Mercury is low in the east-southeast during dawn.
Venus shines brilliantly in the southwest during and after dusk. It is at its highest and brightest of the year. A small telescope will reveal a crescent similar to a crescent moon. She will remain visible until setting an hour and a half after sunset.
Mars rises around 1 a.m. and by dawn is high in the southeast sky.
Jupiter rises in the east-northeast around 7 or 8 pm and reaches zenith around 2 a.m.
Saturn is low in the east-southeast during dawn, rising near where Comet ISON would have risen, if the sucker had survived passing near the Sun, which it didn’t.
Uranus in Pisces and Neptune in Aquarius, respectively, are in the southern sky in during the evening.
Whatever happened to Pluto? You may ask. Poor old Pluto was demoted to a new classification called a “dwarf planet”. A dwarf planet being defined as “a planetary-mass object that is neither a planet nor a satellite, in direct orbit of the Sun that is massive enough for its shape to be controlled by gravitation (hydrostatic equilibrium), but that unlike a planet has not cleared its orbital region of other objects.”
Pluto isn’t the only dwarf planet. The growing list includes Ceres, in the asteroid belt, and beyond Neptune, Haumea, Makemake and Eris, which is larger than Pluto and was labeled by the media in 2005 as the “tenth planet”. Six other trans-Neptunian objects, including Orcus, Salacia, Quaoar and Sedna are likely dwarf planets, but have not yet been officially recognized as such by the International Astronomical Union.
The Geminid Meteor Shower peaks on December 13-14. Geminids are one of the year’s best meteor showers. It’s a consistent and prolific shower, and usually the most satisfying of all the annual showers, even surpassing the more widely recognized Perseids of August. This shower typically produces 50 or more meteors an hour, or about one every minute.
As a general rule, the dazzling Geminid meteor shower starts around mid-evening and tends to pick up steam as evening deepens into late night. No matter where you live worldwide, the greatest number of meteors usually fall in the wee hours after midnight, or for a few hours centered around 2 a.m. local time. If you’re game, you can watch the Geminid shower all the way from mid-evening until dawn.
This year we will have the disadvantage bright Gibbous moon which will interfere with the shower, but, it will still be worth the effort.
December’s Full Moon is “Cold Moon” in Native American folklore.
This month’s meeting will be on December 10 at 7PM at the National Weather Service Forecast office at the Shelby County Airport.
If for some reason you cannot attend the meeting in person, you can still participate via telephone. The teleconference number is 1-877-951-0997 & and the participant code is 741083.
From Mark & Teresa’s house we wish you all Merry Christmas and 73.
Mark / WD4NYL