Sunday, April 18, 2010

On ash clouds...

The anxiety currently being expressed about the Icelandic volcano ash, and its adverse effect on air travel, has got my attention. While only a few have apparently speculated about this, one has to wonder what would happen if this thing continues for weeks, months or years?

For the time being, the media seems to be focused almost entirely on the disruption to air travel both between the US and Europe and within Europe itself. But it makes me wonder what other things might be effected.

Of course the first thing that comes to mind is what is happening to the lungs of the 200 million people in the wake of this thing. That can't be good. And while it is understandable that ash in a fanjet engine at 30,000 feet above the Atlantic might have grave consequences, I wonder about other machinery too.

I'm actively wondering if the cruise ship industry is paying attention. It would seem that if this thing goes on for weeks, months or years, that there will be a need for some kind of alternate transportation across the Atlantic. The option of taking the Orient Express to Asia and a plane from there to the US is likely not to be an option. But a return to transatlantic ships and intercontinental trains does hold some romantic notions for me. But then I get thinking that volcanic ash is probably not too good for cruise ship engines or locomotives either.

Of course, most business can continue to function with telephones, e-mail and video conferencing. But the travel industry isn't going to like this, and I had completely forgotten about the postal and express shipping industry. All the more to wonder about that global economy thing. Local subsistence is sounding smarter and smarter.

So, get the Queen Mary 2 spiffed up and get it ready to take on the masses. I'm sure a four day passage to NY would be preferable to sleeping on the floor in Heathrow for another night. Update: Apparently, things are going well for Cunard due to all this - April 22nd passage on two ships is all booked!

Image from Financial Times

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Spring Snow

So, alright already. I overslept this morning. I didn't have to get up for anything.

So, at 7:45 am I rolled over. And I did that again at 8:45.

But then I slept until 10:07 am and had to really drag myself out of bed.

But I almost jumped back under the covers when I looked out the window and saw patches of snow on the ground and the cars in the parking lot covered. I felt like Rip Van Winkle and thought I had slept through the remainder of spring, all of the summer and most of the fall. Was it already late October?

It sure looked like it. Ugh.

Thinking this was just a brief setback, I went out and got bagels. Fortunately, the ice scrapper was still on the floor of the back set of the car 'cause I had to brush off the snow to be able to see.

Throughout breakfast it continued to snow and sleet, but the accumulations had stopped. Then, at about 11:30 am, it started to snow even harder...those big wet flakes that you get in spring snow storms in March.

When it started covering the ground again, I got out my trusted camera and took this video.

I'm thinking about going back to bed...