Friday, March 31, 2017

Fact-Checking the Torah -- Oral transmission

If there’s one last reason why Torah had to be transmitted orally, here it is.
This relates to an email I got from somebody in response to a review on Amazon where I said that Torah had to be transmitted orally.
The question was whether I believed Exodus 34 about the tables that Moshe carved to replace the ones he broke, and wrote the law on them.  These are also discussed in Deuteronomy 10.
I asked what happened to them?  Is there evidence in Jewish classics about what was done with them after they were written?
The answer is that they remained in the box Moshe made for them.  Jewish classics have no record that these tables were ever taken out for use in teaching the Israelites the law.
Instead, we have Exodus 34:32 which says that Moshe commanded the Israelites all that Gd told him.
In other words, Torah was transmitted orally to the people, and they had to teach it to their children orally and so on and so forth.  Rashi talks about this in his comment on Exodus 34:32.
That’s because it’s how he learned it himself.  He lived about 1100 CE, before the printing press.  All books were reproduced in manuscript.  It took a long time.  It was difficult and error-prone.  It was expensive because basically the price charged to you was the whole income of the scribe while producing that one copy.  So you might be able to study from a copy owned by your community, but only wealthy people had personal copies of things like Talmud.  To teach Talmud in a class with more than one student required oral recitations and explanations.
The flip side of this is that literacy rates were not what they are now.  High literacy rates are a product of the Industrial Revolution on top of the invention of the printing press.  One article I read estimated that by 100 CE, at most 15% of Jews could read.  If they were going to obey Jewish law, 85% of Jews had to learn it orally.  That’s nearly a millennium after the oldest known definite Hebrew writing.
It doesn’t matter what parts of Torah were written down first or when it happened.  The parts that had to do with settling fights before they turned into murder, or whom one could marry, had to be transmitted orally for centuries.  By the time that the full text of Torah was written down, it had existed orally for centuries.  Maybe for millennia, considering the age of the motifs in the Noach wine episode.
This is another example of how multiple sciences create a total picture of a situation that is probably accurate.  You can’t understand evolution in isolation from fields like thermodynamics and geology, and you can’t understand the origin or structure of Torah in isolation from archaeology (the only history we have of the times) or you paint a picture of a culture that doesn’t operate by the same processes as all the other cultures in history.  That is an extraordinary claim that requires huge amounts of reliable evidence to convince somebody else that you know what you’re talking about.

One or two more posts and then I'll hit the fallacies.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Thursday, March 30, 2017

21st Century Bible Hebrew -- Progressive Aspect

Genesis 1:2.
 
ב וְהָאָרֶץ הָיְתָה תֹהוּ וָבֹהוּ וְחשֶׁךְ עַל־פְּנֵי תְהוֹם וְרוּחַ אֱלֹהִים מְרַחֶפֶת עַל־פְּנֵי הַמָּיִם:
 
Translation:     The earth was empty and chaotic and dark above the depths and a spirit of Gd was wafting back and forth above the water.
 
You should be asking me a question here: why is there a definite article with mayim but not with t’hom.  I don’t know. I tried to find something online that explains this.  They all focus on how the construct noun CAN’T have a definite article.
 
And now that other word, m’rachefet. Let’s go through the drill of classifying it.
 
The root is rachaf. It has resh which can’t take certain things in conjugation, and it has a guttural, chet, in the middle. (What are the other three gutturals? Just checking.)
 
The binyan is piel and I’ll say more about that in the next lesson.
 
It’s a progressive aspect.
 
It’s a feminine singular, and that’s all you need to know when you’re looking at progressive aspect.
 
There are two reasons to use progressive aspect here. One is that we have a prepositional phrase for a location, al p’ney ha-maim.
 
The other, and this is the basic reason the progressive aspect got its name, is that we have a continuous motion, not a one-time thing. I’ll talk more about that next lesson.
 
Here’s the conjugation.
 
Singular
Plural
Person/gender
מְרַחֵף
מְרַחֲפִים
First
מְרַחֶפֶת
מְרַחֲפוֹת
Second/masculine
 
Notice what happens under the chet in the plural. If this reminds you of what happened under the heh in some forms of hayah, you have good eyes. Both of these are gutturals and there are some things they can’t take. Normally there would be a shva in this position.
 
The mem at the start is the sign that this is piel. There’s another binyan that can put mem in this position for this aspect, and I’ll talk about it when I get to it. It’s kind of a uniting factor between the two binyanim, but at the point when it’s important, I’ll show you how to tell them apart.
 
Finally, do the endings on the verb remind you of anything?
 
If they remind you of the construct state noun, you have good eyes. That’s also a unifying factor that I’ll discuss when it becomes important.

For  now, let's move on.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Friday, March 24, 2017

Fact-Checking the Torah -- Orality of Torah

There’s another reason why I believe Torah originated orally, or rather there are two interconnecting reasons.
First, we know that Hebrew didn’t have a writing system until some centuries before 800 BCE, the date of the oldest confirmed Hebrew writing.  I said long ago that cultura non facit saltus, so there had to be generations or centuries of development before 800 BCE and the first recognizably Hebrew written text.
But as I said a long time ago, the northwest Semitic languages began to break away from Akkadian by 2000 BCE.   That’s at least a 1000-year gap from speaking a Semitic language that was incomprehensible in Sumero-Akkad, to a Hebrew language that also had a writing system.
In the interim, we have two mileposts.  We know that Hebrew writing developed out of one form of the Ugaritic syllabary, itself an adaptation of Akkadian cuneiform to a western Semitic language.  Ugarit was destroyed not long after 1200 BCE by the Sea Peoples.  The generations of adaptation that produced the Hebrew syllabary had to precede that.  Luckily we know that the Israelites spent centuries in the Holy Land before then, providing the time for development.
By 1100 BCE we have evidence in the hilltop settlements that there was indeed a separate Israelite culture that not only differed from the lowland K’naani culture, but deliberately held itself aloof, and that culture had at least one common feature throughout its settlements.  That implies a system of laws.
The Israelites might have had a syllabary for writing those laws down, but archaeology has not found samples of them yet.  Because the hilltop settlements were built on bare ground and not tells, and because of the evidence of isolation represented by the pottery, there’s no chance of confusing such samples with other cultures of the time.  They would be a marvelous find – but we haven’t found them as far as I know (March 2017).
Humans have had language for dozens of thousands of years and writing only for thousands.  In the interim, they had to communicate their laws somehow.  Before the Jews had a writing system, their ancestors had to transmit laws orally, not in writing.  And they had to do it in their own language because by rules 1 and 2 of SWLT, no other language could catch the nuances of their culture.
And I just hinted at the other reason why Israelites had to transmit their laws orally.  That’s for next week.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Thursday, March 23, 2017

21st Century Bible Hebrew -- Construct State

Genesis 1:2.
 
ב וְהָאָרֶץ הָיְתָה תֹהוּ וָבֹהוּ וְחשֶׁךְ עַל־פְּנֵי תְהוֹם וְרוּחַ אֱלֹהִים מְרַחֶפֶת עַל־פְּנֵי הַמָּיִם:
 
Translation:     The earth was empty and chaotic and dark above the depths; a spirit of Gd was wafting back and forth above the water.
 
Vocabulary in this lesson:
 
הָיְתָה
was (f.s.)
תֹהוּ
empty
בֹהוּ
chaotic
חשֶׁךְ
dark, darkness
עַל
on, over, above
תְהוֹם
depths
רוּחַ
spirit, wind
מְרַחֶפֶת
waft, 3rd f. s., piel form (repetitive)
עַל־פְּנֵי
above
פְּנֵי
face, construct state, masculine plural
 
All right, here’s the table for the construct state. Masculine and feminine nouns work differently and I’m going to give you both.
 
indefinite
construct
Person/gender
בֵּן
בֵּן
Masculine singular
בָּנים
בְּנֵי
Masculine plural
 
 
 
פָּרָה
פָּרַת
Feminine singular
פָּרוֹת
פָּרוֹת
Feminine plural
 
Notice the change in the feminine singular and the masculine plural construct.
 
I’m going to stop here so that you have a week to memorize this table. You will see forms like this over and over again and I refuse to rush you.

Next: a new aspect on things.
 
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Saturday, March 18, 2017

LOUD, PROUD AND 60!

(keyn ahora as we say in the Tribe)

Yes, that is a six not a five, six zero, sixty!

WOOOOHOOOOO!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Fact-Checking the Torah -- Oral tradition of Jewish literature

The reason that Talmud is known as Torah she-b’al-peh meaning Oral Torah, is because up until the time of Rabbi Judah the Prince, it was transmitted orally.  Individual students might make written notes; that was permitted as a reminder.  (Babylonian Talmud Shabbat 6b, including Rashi’s note.)  But study and usage were oral, either in class or in action in the courtroom.

The components of Talmud are two: Mishnah, the post-Torah records of information needed to run Jewish culture; and Gemara, supplemental material from oral discussions and courtroom decisions.  There are two sets of Gemara, one developed in Babylonia and the other developed in the Holy Land.
The Mishnah plus Gemara from the Holy Land is called Jerusalem Talmud.  There  are 1700 numbered pages in the classic edition.
The Mishnah plus Gemara from Babylonia is called Babylonian Talmud.  There are 2700 numbered pages in the classic edition.
You’re going to object that Talmud breaks the rule as an oral communication because it is lengthy.  But don’t forget the fact that written material tends to be linearly organized, such as by subject.  Talmud is hard for most people to understand because its organization is associative.  The rule of association is personal to the people who transmitted it and relates to the particular subject under discussion, how the discussion got started, and the purpose for discussing it. 
Everybody who tries to understand Talmud has to put in a lot of work.  None of them were there when the discussion got started, some of them don’t live in a subculture which applies Talmud, and some people take up the study without a solid grasp on the underpinnings of Talmud in Torah and Mishnah.  Plus there’s a habit of trying to relate to it through translations instead of primary documents.
Now you’re going to object that Gemara is a commentary.  The answer is, it’s an in-culture commentary, developed specifically to clarify Mishnah, which is a commentary itself. 
Mishnah developed specifically to clarify the law in Torah, and to supplement it since experience in the courtroom showed that the Torah had gaps of information needed to decide court cases and teach courtroom procedure.
Those gaps occurred because Torah itself was an oral communication.  Oral communications suffer from problems with human memory; we easily forget what we don’t use on a regular basis.  Gd, being omniscient, would have known better than to try and tell the Israelites everything they would need to know in future millennia, because they would have forgotten what they didn’t use and didn’t understand, and they would have to recreate it anyway once they did need it.  Telling them that it was illegal to start a car on Shabbat would never have survived the millennia between establishment of Shabbat and invention of the car.  Even in writing – remember those lost Greek works? – it might have disappeared or – remember the Bamian statues? – been destroyed.
Torah law is much shorter and simpler than Talmud, but it has the gaps of information typical of orally transmitted material, and it also has an associative organization, the rule for which we do not know because the rule was not recorded at the time or passed along.  (I’ll take a guess at it at the end of this blog based on the statement of a rabbi which he made in audio lectures on Talmud.)
There are two reasons why things don’t get recorded.  One is that nobody records great secrets because they can get into unauthorized hands through carelessness or deliberate stealing.  The other reason is that nobody records things that are common knowledge.  Nobody imagines that they might be forgotten.
Things that were common knowledge, when the ancestors of the Jews began using Torah, dropped out of communications because they need not be said.  Once they dropped out of communications, it was a matter of time until they dropped out of memory.  When a case came into court where such information would have been useful, it was gone.  Then the court had to create a ruling that supplemented whatever they knew.  Torah explicitly permits this in Deuteronomy 17:8-12. 
Torah has gaps and an associative structure.  Because it is like Talmud in this way, I believe that its origin is oral, not written.  But wait, there's more.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Thursday, March 16, 2017

21st Century Bible Hebrew -- Construct State intro

Genesis 1:2.
 
ב וְהָאָרֶץ הָיְתָה תֹהוּ וָבֹהוּ וְחשֶׁךְ עַל־פְּנֵי תְהוֹם וְרוּחַ אֱלֹהִים מְרַחֶפֶת עַל־פְּנֵי הַמָּיִם:
 
Transliteration: V’ha-arets haitah tohu va-vohu v’choshekh al-p’nei t’hom v’ruach elohim m’rachefet al-p’nei ha-maim.
Translation:     The earth was empty and chaotic and dark above the depths and a spirit of Gd was wafting back and forth above the water.
 
Vocabulary in this lesson:
 
הָיְתָה
was (f.s.)
תֹהוּ
empty
בֹהוּ
chaotic
חשֶׁךְ
dark, darkness
עַל
on, over, above
תְהוֹם
depths
רוּחַ
spirit, wind
מְרַחֶפֶת
waft, 3rd f. s., piel form (repetitive)
עַל־פְּנֵי
above
פְּנֵי
face, construct state, masculine plural
 
The next thing to notice in this verse is the phrase tohu va-vohu. You can use “and” here because of the clear conjunctive relationship between the nouns.
 
The only other time this phrase occurs in the Jewish Bible is Jeremiah 4:23. The material in Jeremiah is from just before the Babylonian Captivity of the middle 500s BCE.
 
And the grammar point: p’ney t’hom and p’ney ha-maim.  You have to get this absolutely straight because  you will see it over and over in the  Jewish Bible.  The term for it is “construct phrase”, and the first word is in a form called  “construct state”. 
 
There are three states a noun can be in; memorize this and I’ll wait until the next post to give you a table to memorize.
 
A noun can be termed “indefinite” when it has no definite article and is not in the construct state or in a construct phrase.
 
A noun can be termed in the construct state when it is associated with another noun and the one noun modifies or limits the meaning of the other noun.  More about that next post.  Construct state is by definition definite and both nouns in a construct phrase are definite.
 
A noun that has ha- in front of it, is definite.  There are definite nouns that are not construct that don’t use ha for purposes of “euphony” and I’ll point it out when we get there.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Friday, March 10, 2017

Fact-Checking the Torah -- SWLT zero

Now we’re up to the zeroth rule of SWLT, which has a similar function to the zeroth law of thermodynamics.

There are two systems of communication, one recorded on some medium other than the human brain, and the other recorded only in the human brain. The first I am calling “written” for convenience and the second I’m calling “oral.”
Written communications can survive for some time without human intervention.
Oral communications come to an end when humans stop relaying them by word of mouth.
Written material tends to be organized by subject matter or some other linear feature with the exception of written communications that replace speech, such as personal letters or diaries and journals, and the speech put into the mouths of characters in fiction or history.
Oral communications tend to be associatively organized, but there’s no rule for how oral communications perceive information to be associated. It depends on culture and subculture and the purpose of the communication, and also on factors inherent in the communicators.
Written communications preserve symbols of the language in which they are expressed. When the meaning of those symbols is forgotten, the written material becomes incomprehensible without a lot of work to figure out what the symbols mean.
Oral communications are comprehensible at the time they are made, to those who understand the language. They alter during transmission due to changes made by the transmitters, for reasons such as the frailty of human memory. At each step in transmission, the material becomes a little different from the previous step and may wind up completely different from the original expression. The contents are preserved best when all parties are part of the same culture or subculture, all attentive to and interested in the material, all speak the same language and all have good memories.
Transfers of material happen between these two forms of communication, but it works better in one direction than the other, from oral to written. There are written communications which it is impossible to transmit orally beyond one or two hops. After that the details drop out rapidly until nothing is left.
Transfer is harder from written to oral due to the nature of written material, which has a format and usually a content diametrically opposed to what transmits well orally.  I’ll have much more to say about this in the last part of the blog.
A Danish professor and his mentor studied this transfer phenomenon.  I will explain their work in detail in the last part of the blog instead of here, so as not to interrupt the points I need you to understand about translations and commentaries. Besides, only in the fourth part of the blog will I discuss the alternatives to understanding the work of Axel Olrik.
The attested oral origin of a major Jewish classic had consequences both for its structure and content and I’m going to have to spend a couple of weeks on that because unless you already know about this, I will have to explain some details.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Thursday, March 9, 2017

21st century Bible Hebrew -- Genesis 1:2; "to be"

Genesis 1:2.
 
ב וְהָאָרֶץ הָיְתָה תֹהוּ וָבֹהוּ וְחשֶׁךְ עַל־פְּנֵי תְהוֹם וְרוּחַ אֱלֹהִים מְרַחֶפֶת עַל־פְּנֵי הַמָּיִם:
 
Transliteration: V’ha-arets haitah tohu va-vohu v’choshekh al-p’nei t’hom v’ruach elohim m’rachefet al-p’nei ha-maim.
Translation:     The earth was empty and chaotic and dark above the depths and a spirit of Gd was wafting back and forth above the water.
Letters in this lesson: (“oo”) ח, ך, ע, פּ, נ, וּ
 
Vocabulary in this lesson:
 
הָיְתָה
was (f.s.)
תֹהוּ
empty
בֹהוּ
chaotic
חשֶׁךְ
dark, darkness
עַל
on, over, above
תְהוֹם
depths
רוּחַ
spirit, wind
מְרַחֶפֶת
waft, 3rd f. s., piel form (repetitive)
עַל־פְּנֵי
above
פְּנֵי
face, construct state, masculine plural
 
All right. It won’t take 7 weeks to explain every verse, I promise.
 
The first word in this verse is vav plus ha-arets. We can translate this “and the earth” but let me get you started on a concept that will show up again in Genesis 2. We just said that Gd created earth and the first assumption somebody might make is that how it was created is the same as how it is now. Verse 2 says something quite different and in English, when that happens, we say “but”, not “and”. So here is your first example that a vav prefix doesn’t necessarily mean “and”.
 
Second, here is a crucial verb in every language, “be”, in perfect aspect.
 
Singular
Plural
Person/gender
הָיִיתִי
הָיִינוּ
First
הָיִיתָ
הֱיִיתֶם
Second/masculine
הָיִית
הֱיִיתֶם
Second/feminine
הָיָה
הָיוּ
Third/masculine
הָיְתָה
 
Third/feminine
 
Notice the vowel under the first letter in 2nd person plural, both masculine and feminine, and remember that in bara, there was a shva here.
 
Because heh is a guttural (what are the other three, do you remember?), it can’t do that. It needs a vowel. Why the vowel has to be “e”, is beyond the scope of this course.
 
Also notice that the second vowel is “i", not “a” as in bara.
 
Probably the most important thing in “be” in BH is that it’s not like “be” in other languages. In Western languages, “be” is usually classed as “irregular” meaning that compared to other verbs that look like it, it doesn’t conjugate the same.
 
The conjugation rules in BH partly depend on the root letters. In hayah, we have heh at the start and end, and heh is a guttural which works by different rules than other letters. Also, the middle letter is yod and that puts hayah in a verb root class called ayin yod. Once all the rules are adjusted, the conjugation of hayah falls out so it’s not an irregular verb.

Next: something on nouns.
 
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Knitting -- Completed project

So here it is, my Fair Isle sweater.


Seen "in person" there's a hint of blue behind the geometrics and of green behind the trees. That's due to the weaving in (see below).  Feitelson shows pictures of what it looks like with the traditional way of carrying the yarns.  I found that too difficult; the weaving-in is simple and effective.  The "bleed through" with weaving-in is no worse and I think better than with the traditional method.

There's a round of pink sparkles under the neck.  The ribbing has shades of brown in the  purling.


This shows the yarn woven in on the reverse side.  It prevents "floaties" which can snag on buttons if you layer Fair Isle over an Oxford or other classic shirt.


This shows the feathering of the underarm to decrease it from top to bottom.  See how the pink sparkles angle out and some of the green stitches look half made? Those are where motifs disappeared as the number of stitches decreased.



The motifs are from the 1920s; Ann Feitelson published them in her book.

The sizing is similar to my pullover pattern.

The yarn is Wool of the Andes. I used the worsted weight, which is not usual; Palette is a lighter weight and has more colors.  But I was able to use up some leftover yarn from other projects, which  is kind of how Fair Isle got its start as well as re-imagining old Norwegian patterns.

Lessons learned:
Spreadsheets are a big help in planning your pattern.  I found some electronic graph paper that works in Word, but replicating pieces of the pattern was a mess.  I was able to copy and paste to a spreadsheet, although it didn't show all the colors the same.  What I lost in reproducing the colors, I made up in easy copying and pasting, cutting and inserting.  I was able to mark where the centers were and make sure the centers of the motifs lined up with the center of the front.  I'm working on doing the same thing with an argyle pattern which I may do by weaving in yarn instead of using bobbins to hold the yarn.

You might find you can't make your chosen motifs work out exactly with your stitch count. Don't worry about having to increase or decrease a couple of stitches for some rounds. Feitelson specifically tells you to do that in some of her patterns.  I had to decrease a couple of stitches in the rounds with the trees.  You can't tell, can you?  That's because once you finish that part, you reverse whatever you did and go on.  It should only be 2-4 stitches; if it's more, maybe you should rethink your design.

Don't be afraid to backtrack.  Normally I can knit a pullover in a couple of weeks.  This took a month mostly because I gave up trying to do the yellow sections at night. The shades were too close and I would lose track of where I was and mess it up.   So I would backtrack to a row I knew was right and then start over in daylight.

The weaving in of the yarn takes some of the elasticity out of your knitting.  To get the motifs to work out evenly, you may have to make your pullover wider than usual in the first place.  But in the second place you need to start with a larger stitch count because the weaving-in produces less stretchability.  You can compensate while blocking but you'll never get it all back. I started with 216 stitches instead of 200 like with a normal pullover. 

The sweater dried faster than I expected.  I let it drip in the bathroom for about 6 hours. Then I brought it downstairs where I mostly work and keep the temps higher.  It only took about 48 hours to dry. It's a good thing, but include it when you're trying to meet a deadline. Feitelson tells a story of a woman in the Fair Isles who did an entire special-order sweater in 48 hours. Just imagine what she had to do to get everything done in time!

Because of the weaving in, this will be warmer than your average pullover because essentially you have two layers of knitting.  That made it even more surprising that it dried so fast.

The loft in Wool of the Andes means that this sweater isn't as heavy as it would be with some worsted yarns. I read comments on the website where I buy it, about respinning it tighter. That turns it into a DK or sport gauge and also removes the loft. The same company sells a sport gauge in this fiber but again, spinning it tighter would make it more like fingering weight.  I like the loft and how fast this yarn knits up so I would never respin it. YMMV

I'm going to get some Palette and work out stitch counts for the argyle and also for this next project.

If you haven't found the garnstudio website do it. There are free patterns on it and photos of the finished work. The patterns with men in the photos also have stitch counts for sizes that will fit women. Many of them have children's versions.  I marked a huge number of Norwegian patterns to drool over; I plan to make at least two, in different weights. If you don't want to have to work out how much of each color to buy, you can buy kits from them.  My fingers are still itching but I have old projects to finish up so those will have to wait for autumn.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Coming to the USA: third world weather forecasting?

Use the buttons at the bottom to forward this to Congress and your governor.

Trump has told Congress to cut the NOAA satellite budget by 22%.

 
We all know that severe weather is occurring in places it didn’t happen before. This February there were tornadoes in Maryland, the southeast, and Illinois, very unusual happenings. The 2012 derecho that started in the heartland and took out power to nearly a million people in the DC region was another one. It could be tracked along its entire path due to NOAA satellites.

This affects boaters as well as landlubbers. The fishing industry is going to take a hit when its boats can’t get a solid forecast about whether it’s safe to go out. To say nothing of pleasure boaters.
It affects the military. We have over 400 navy vessels, 170 merchant marine, 200 Coast Guard aircraft and dozens of kinds of Coast Guard water vessels. They cannot navigate safely in home waters without accurate forecasting.

We have fighter planes assigned to hassle possible terrorist planes in no-fly zones. Sending them up without a forecast kills badly needed pilots.

Let’s talk about commercial flying. Everybody knows how much they hate hearing that their flight might be grounded, worse yet getting to the airport and finding out a flight has been canceled for bad weather at either end or at any hub. It’s going to get worse without weather satellites for good forecasting.
Internet sales? What if they can’t get here from there due to bad weather? Fedex regularly posts on its tracking site about known hazards. The unknown hazards are about to bite all the shippers because they may have to retrieve packages rerouted from one airport to another due to bad weather – that they didn’t expect because the satellites couldn’t feed data to the FAA or the radar is broken.

Some companies are hoping to use drones to ship. This is a forlorn hope without NOAA satellites. Drones smaller than airplanes are more vulnerable to bad weather.
And ground shipping? Where there are expressways there are overpasses. Overpasses are vulnerable to high winds. In the DC region radio stations report when overpasses and bridges are closed to empty trucks or big rigs due to wind.

Eastern Shore Maryland, this means you! Stock up now and prepare to become more self-sufficient, because the goods and tourists you are used to, won’t be able to get there. The bridges will be unsafe at any speed without good weather forecasting and the tourists will keep away, fearing to waste their bucks.
Now here’s one issue that didn’t occur to me until somebody brought it up on Twitter. All construction will hurt from this cut. Schedules will stretch because people reporting to the building site will have to just go home when the weather turns out bad.

We can’t fix our highway infrastructure under these conditions. Those of us in metropolitan regions are familiar with traffic reports saying that the work on Highway X is closed today due to the weather.
As schedules creep out, costs mount up. Every budget for construction will blow out.

The roads that already exist will be treacherous more often. Municipalities rely on good weather forecasting to know when to brine their roads and when to gear up the snow plows.
Which will kill people on the roads when it doesn’t simply make it impossible to get to work.

The power companies will not have forecasts that let them pre-position repair trucks. For the safety of their crews, they cannot start restoring power until the bad weather has completely passed. You do not put a guy up in a bucket truck until you are sure no more tornadoes will be spawned or the other side of the hurricane or derecho has passed.

And without power company crews to clear live wires, fire and police will not be able to rescue people from destroyed houses.
But first, you have to be able to call the power company to report the outage or 911 for emergency assistance. If you are still on landlines and the wires are down, you are, as we say in the business, SOL.

This budget cut makes it impossible to maintain weather radar at its current level. It reduces U.S. weather forecasting capabilities to something more like Brazil, a third-world nation despite its hosting of the Olympics -- in polluted water venues (wait, it’s coming now that Pruitt has swung his pen) and with such a high risk of Zika infection that some athletes pulled out.

Contact Congress and  your governor; tell them NOAA satellites have to be fully funded to maintain state and national economies.  Our lives as well as our way of life depend on it.

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