Monday, November 27, 2006

An Empty Promise

Well... it snowed for what seemed like a grand total of five minutes yesterday in Oregon. I was pissed off because I love snow and I knew there was no way it was gonna stick or get any heavier. It was way too sunny out and there were only intermittent clouds scattered across the Portland Metro area.

We were supposed to have a snowstorm last night. It didn't happen. It's been awhile since Portland had a good amount of snow. I remember when the cold air currents from Canada somehow made it down into Oregon and it started snowing one day in January of 2004. We went back to school for one day before it hit us and we had the entire rest of the week off. Not only was there a huge snowstorm, but at one point it was so cold that we got hit with freezing rain and a two-inch thick insulating layer of frozen rain covered the snow everywhere. It was hard to even walk more than a few blocks on this stuff.

I can't imagine we'd actually have the fortune of experiencing a similar Winter this year, but one can always hope. In the meantime, it's still cold as fuck out and I still haven't picked up a good winter hat yet. Any suggestions?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

A Startling Discovery

I just finished watching "An Inconvenient Truth," a documentary on global warming featuring Al Gore. Although I was sleepy when I started the film, the bluntness of the information presented literally woke me back up.

For those of you who don't know, global warming occurs due to the presence of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. Don't confuse this with holes in the ozone layer caused by chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), although that is very much apart of global warming as well. Anyway, the C0-2 in our atmosphere causes the rays of the sun to get trapped. As a result, the overall temperature of the earth has been increasing, which is causing the ice caps at the North Pole, Greenland, and Antarctica to melt. I'm sure most of you are at least somewhat familiar with this concept if you've been in school in the last five or ten years.

Al Gore did a great job of using analogies and examples to illustrate the seriousness and severity of the reality of global warming. I especially like the use of the frog who jumps into a pot of boiling water and immediately jumps back out, but when he jumps in a pot of lukewarm water which is gradually heated up, he stays until he's rescued. This analogy reflects the action we've taken to combat global warming thus far. We don't realize how important something is unless it shows it immediately. I feel like this is reflected in my own life as well, such as when it's easier for me to do a short-term assignment than an essay due months after its assigned.

I really urge everyone who reads this to go see this movie, whether you know a lot about global warming or not. It's a real eye opener and it disappoints me to see that more action hasn't been taken despite the fact that this information has been available to us for more than thirty years. One of Gore's college professors saw a trend with the increase of carbon dioxide directly affecting the increase of the temperature, and that was in the 1970s.

What's wrong with an overall increase in temperature? So many different things. At the rate at which the ice caps are already melting, it's entirely plausible that an ice cap the size of Greenland could be nonexistent within the next fifty years. If this happened, the entire sea level across the world would increase 20 feet. The World Trade Center Memorial in Manhattan would be covered in water.

Our climate would change. Already, more species are animals are becoming extinct than ever before. The reason our planet stays at an overall constant temperature is because of the way wind and water currents cool warm air currents. We could very well be on our way to the next Ice Age, although this part of Gore's presentation seemed as if it were a bit stretched.

Overall, it was a very informative documentary. I'd check it out as soon as possible.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Sony eats Nintendo's Dust

Over the weekend, the Playstation 3 and the Nintendo Wii were both released, each completely selling out. Of course, the initial shipment of PS3's was only 400,000 or so, whereas the Wii shipped with an impressive million plus units. And so the console war has finally started, with Microsoft having an impressive lead so far.

Naturally, Sony has already screwed up. It turns out there's a fatal flaw in the core processing unit which requires Sony to recall 650,000 machines. Way to go Sony; you topped the annoying "disk read error" problem with the Playstation 2. Nintendo did a much better job with their first batch of consoles, although there were reports of firmware updates for the Wii that cause the system to stop working completely. Nintendo generally ships working consoles when they launch a new system (amazing concept, I know), and fortunately this problem has only occurred with a handful of units so far.

Right now, I'm fine with my Xbox 360. Gears of War will keep me occupied for months to come with many more notable releases (Lost Planet, what?). I'm also enjoying the "Nail the Trick" feature of Tony Hawk's Project 8. At first, I thought they were completely overhauling the game to be more realistic, since that seemed to be their main direction a few months back. Now that I think about it, they would've alienated a lot of people had they ditched the classic Tony Hawk game play. And really, who would want that?

I plan on picking up a Wii as soon as possible. I really think Nintendo is on to something. I'll think about a PS3 when I'm confident it won't break out me, when some more games comes out, and when it doesn't cost half a grand just for the watered-down version.