My Dear Americans,
From time to time, I've had comments about the digressive-ity and aside-iness of these essays, not to mention the fact that up to half the content, and often almost all of the meaning in them is hidden away in footnotes which aren't even available without going to the considerable effort of getting online, going to my website, finding the essay, reading the bloody thing and finally scrolling down to the putative note, an effort which is, I freely admit, sometimes just not worth the effort.
And I really can't come up with an answer to this (since writing and speaking more clearly is clearly out of the question) apart from really just echoing Horace Greely and saying "Go On-line Young Man ...Woman, Child, Elderly Person of Unspecified Sex", I mean, how on earth can you do footnotes without recourse to paper?
Anyway, since there is no obvious solution, let's just get on with this week's essay and forget all about my many feetnote1.
I've noticed, for a long time now, that those in authority who are charged with the responsibility for warning We-the-People about various things are loth to admit to that responsibility, at least not in their pronouncements. You never, for example, hear them in the USA actively saying "Hey! Hey! This is Joe Blow over at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration2, an' I'm a-tellin' you folks to high-tail it out-a town 'cause there's a storm a-coming!" O-oh! No! They anonymously, and indirectly, and passively (sneakily even) let it be known that there is a a...a 'weather advisory' in effect. And it's worse over here in the UK. Here in addition to that warnings are incomprehensively colour coded.3
I suspect that this is due, in part, to the fear they have that if you do high-tail it out of town on their advice, and if it so happens that, as you do, you get struck by a meteorite hurtling through the atmosphere, that your vapourised molecules will get together and sue them, just as soon as they cool down a bit.4
And (presumably under legal advice) this advisory habit is spreading, often accompanied by the equally passive "A Something-or-Other Warning has ben issued" or in less extreme or less immediate cases "A Something-or-Other Watch", and now the poor, skulking, timorous beastie has spread to the utter reductio ad maxima absurdum that I once got on my iPhone when I lived in Texas, and which, indeed, precipitated this essay: I got a "non-precipitation advisory"!!
---NON-PRECIPITATION!!? I can see that spreading panic throughout the streets of Plano "OhGodOhGodOhGodOhGodOhGodOhGodOhGodOhGod!! It's not going to rain ...or snow ...or sleet, or hail, or" ...Oh! No!! We have just all realised, to our absolute horror, that there is NOT going to be the formation of a solid in a solution during a chemical reaction, resulting in particles coming out of suspension and leaving a, presumably clear, supernate.5 Oh! The horror, the pity of it all! Of course it's pretty obvious that a non precipitation advisory is really only a coy way of issuing a heat advisory without being so blatant or so useful as to actually say so.6
Anyway, if I ever do solve the footnote problem7 NOAA will have to issue a Note-Feat Advisory.
and, of course,
Cheerio for now
1 The plural of 'footnote' surely ought, out of common decency, to be 'feetnote': the word 'footnotes' being so predictably sad, boring and, quite frankly, poopy.
2 The fact that they normally call themselves by their initials, NOAA, and that they apparently pronounce this 'Noah' tells you all you need to know about their attitude towards life, liberty and the pursuit of rain; not to mention the quality of their sense of humour.
3 For example there is the ever-popular 'Yellow Snow Warning' which rather surprisingly isn't to avoid eating it.
4 One study, by Halliday et al ("Meteorite Impacts on Humans and Buildings." in the journal Nature, 1985) calculates the rate of impacts to humans as 0.0055 per year, or 1 event every 180 years.
5 That last was a joke for research chemists, and the like sort of person, and was very funny.
6 Actually an 'NPA' covers more than just heat, rendering it even less useful. A list of the things it covers can be found at www.crh.noaa.gov/lmk/prod..o...d
7 Which I pretty obviously haven't.
* Damn! I failed!! You'll still have to go to the bloody site!
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