Talk about deja vu! Last month, as I was writing my welcome column, the Kansas City area was bracing for the second of two heavy snow storms to hit the city. Between those two storms, we received in excess of 20 inches (50.8 cm) of snow.
As late winter and early spring snow storms do, the heavy snow fell, then it warmed up and it melted. All of the original snow from the first two snow storms is (was?) completely gone. Now, sitting here writing this month's welcome column, we got hit with yet another spring snow storm. As I'm writing this, we've received another 8+ inches (20.3 cm) of the cold, white precipitation overnight -- and it's still coming down.
The precipitation -- in whatever form -- is welcome relief. In 2012, as the folks in London were lamenting the excessive rain during the 2012 Summer Olympics, the U.S. suffered through one of its worst droughts since the dust bowl days of the Great Depression. Last July, over 55 percent of the U.S. had been experiencing conditions of severe or extreme drought. In some areas, like western Kansas, it has been described as a drought feeding upon itself. With little to no moisture to evaporate from the ground and plants, the atmosphere remains dry and cloud formation suffers, nixing chances for any significant precipitation.
Even now, the drought has maintained its grip on the country. Here is a graphic from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's National Drought Mitigation Center, with co-sponsorship from NOAA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, that illustrates the situation quite well.
I could bore you to tears with graphic after graphic about the situation around the area where I live -- but I won't. The information is quite easy enough to find on your own, if you are interested in this topic.
So, why all the talk about the weather and the protracted drought we've experienced around my area of this world? Earth Day 2013 is on April 22, and this year's theme is "the face of climate change." I created this month's magazine cover to highlight Earth Day 2013, and we've also run a press release from the Earth Day folks in the pages of this month's magazine.
It doesn't matter on which side of the climate change debate you reside. The climate affects each and every one of us on a daily basis. Around my part of the world, the protracted drought has had a profound effect. Not only has it affected agriculture (a huge concern around my part of the world), but it has affected how people care for their lawns and gardens (many have given up until relief from the drought is seen), it has driven food prices higher at a time when most people's financial situation is weakening, it has caused groundwater reserves to be reduced to historically low levels, and these things represent just barely the tip of the problem.
These effects ripple outward to affect all areas of society on a global scale. Even if you aren't directly affected by the drought that me, Meemaw, BubbaBlues, grnich and many other PCLinuxOS community members are enduring, you are affected by higher food prices, since a lot of food grown around this area is exported to other areas of the world. The farther you are from the impact that causes the ripple, the less the ripple's effect -- but you are affected, nonetheless.
Now ... to completely change the topic. Take a look at this:
Yep! Another future PCLinuxOS user is on his way! After trying -- and failing -- to "get pregnant" for much of seven years, my wife Laura, is carrying our first child. We are excited beyond description. Our new little, future PCLinuxOS user is due to arrive August 29. The picture above is from the sonogram done at 11 weeks, 1 day gestation.
By the time this issue of the magazine is released, Laura will be somewhere between weeks 18 and 19 of the pregnancy. Yes, we kept it quiet for a while, given the huge obstacles we had to overcome to get here. We wanted to be sure everything was going well before we announced our news. To top it off, we received the best Christmas present of all last Christmas. That is when (Christmas morning) we first confirmed the pregnancy with a home pregnancy test.
We just refer to him as "Little Fella," although we don't yet know the gender. In "babyland," all babies are referred to as "hims" or "hes" until and unless proven otherwise. We, unlike many expectant parents, do not want to find out the gender of the baby until it is born. We figure it was good enough for our grandparents and parents, so it'll be good enough for us. We're just happy to be having a baby, after all of the trouble we've had "getting there." When people ask what do we want, our reply is "healthy."
So until next month, I wish each of you peace, tranquility, serenity and prosperity.