Posted by: Patrick Allen Foster | January 30, 2014

The Snow that Paralyzed the South, and Other Miscellaneous Links

1. Earlier this week, snow and bitterly cold temperatures incapacitated the American Southeast. Birmingham, Alabama (where one local meteorologist had predicted “light dusting of snow and no travel complications”) received between 1 and 2 inches of snow, which turned to ice. The “dusting” turned interstate lanes into parking lots. Birmingham police and Jefferson County sheriff’s deputies responded to over 400 traffic accidents on Tuesday and Wednesday. In Hoover, a suburb of Birmingham, more than 4,000 students (and their teachers) spent the night on January 28-29 at their schools.

And two Waffle Houses in the Birmingham area closed at some point on Tuesday. People, this is serious.

2. In Atlanta, where schoolchildren also slept in school gyms and where some 2,000 cars were abandoned on the roads leading out of the city, a lot of people are asking why the state and city governments were so unprepared to manage the effects of 2 inches of snow. See also this piece.

3. This has potential: the Smarter Sentencing Act (S. 1410) has passed the Senate Judiciary Committee by 13-5 vote.

4. The subtle art of building around local building laws, or something.

5. This link has some truly awesome pictures of the old Cincinnati public library (which was demolished in 1955). This photo collection occasioned this discussion thread, where one commenter says:

As a librarian my reactions are 1. That must be sooooo noisy, 2. How do people who can’t use stairs get books, and 3. That space is crap for preserving books! How you gonna keep the heat and humidity at standard levels with those big windows?

Still beautiful architecture, though. (H/T: Prof. Althouse.)

6. A Pew Poll indicates that 23% of Americans did not read a book last year. (H/T: Chris Blattman.)

7. Scholars have discovered two previously unknown poems by Sappho. (H/T: Anderson.) Very cool. Here is a translation of one of the poems. Also, via Tyler Cowen, see this paper (pdf, 10 pages). A taste:

For the rest,
Let us turn it all over to higher powers;
For periods of calm quickly follow after
Great squalls.

~~~~~

“It is cold in the scriptorium, my thumb aches.”

Due to a combination of professional and personal commitments, blogging will be light in the near future.

Image Credit: Traffic in Woodstock, Georgia (north of Atlanta). Photo by William Brawley, January 28, 2014. Used under a CC BY 2.0 license. Source: Flickr.

Update (Friday, Jan. 31, 2014, 10:55 AM): io9 points to Redditor atrubetskoy’s map showing how much snow it takes to cancel school in different parts of the United States. Neat.

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