Κυριακή, Ιανουαρίου 23, 2005

New Favorite Blogs

First off, if you're not reading the blogs from the State Department Republican Underground, you really should be.
Who are they?

The Diplomad, who is somewhere in S.E. Asia at the moment, observing the UN 'help' the tsunami victims -- just keep scrolling

The Daily Demarche (which has a great post about power politics and France here)

New Sisyphus, a FSO in the "Near Abroad"

Also, I've become a big fan of Mirabilis, a blog about history, archeology, science, and other highly nifty things. I could read it for hours. Not that I do. Because I do useful things. Really.

From the Department of Inadvertently Tasteless Juxtapositions

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Captions, anyone?

Δευτέρα, Ιανουαρίου 17, 2005

Anybody Wanna Be A Watcher?

We've got another vacancy on the Council, so if you want to be cool like us, you should apply! (Hey Caltechgirl!)

Also, if you really want us to notice you, you can take the Watcher up on his weekly offer of link whorage.

Now go! Seek attention!

Σάββατο, Ιανουαρίου 15, 2005

Katie The Bass

Because I've been sick, my voice is about an octave lower than usual (I sang a perfectly respectable low G yesterday, a fifth lower than my usual mezzo range) and my speaking voice is much lower as well -- so much so that, when I picked up the phone, my (gay) friend exclaimed, "Wow! I could almost date you now!"

Cutenessblogging

Speaking of extremely cute things [Were we? -- ed.], here we have Grandma, at Christmas dinner, wearing a cracker hat, dancing and singing "Hawaiian Rainbow" for reasons that were never adequately explained. Although, the fact that it's Grandma renders the incident very close to self-explanitory.
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Also rounding out the cuteness, my puppy, Howie.
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All together now: "AWW!"

More Totalitarian Hair Propaganda

This time from the Islamic Republic:
In 1981, Abol-Hassan Bani-Sadr, the first president of the Islamic Republic, announced that “scientific research had shown that women’s hair emitted rays that drove men insane” (sic). To protect the public, the new Islamist regime passed a law in 1982 making the hijab mandatory for females aged above six, regardless of religious faith. Violating the hijab code was made punishable by 100 lashes of the cane and six months imprisonment.
What WOULD dictators do without science?

Phantom, Abridged

Activity of the Evening: Phantom of the Opera, the Movie. I'll do a full review tomorrow, but let me just give you the general conclusion of myself and my friends.

At the end of the film, opinion was split into two camps -- the camp that felt Phantom was the worst movie they had ever seen, and the camp that had seen Gigli.

Παρασκευή, Ιανουαρίου 14, 2005

Artblogging

Ith's friend Tammy paints beautiful boxes. With dragons and griffins and other cool stuff. She has pictures. Go, be amazed!

Winners!

Council
CBS' Memogate Report Comes Out But It Won't Stem the Controversy
The Moderate Voice

Non-Council
Today, I Was "Unprofessional"...
Varifrank

Full results

Friday Vicarious Catblogging

I don't have a cat. Likely never will, because I'm allergic. Consequently, I cannot, usually, participate in the catblogging festivities. However, my friend Amy and her husband just got two new cats, and they have pictures. And they're cute! Go look!

Evolution, Sex, and other Dilemmas

Do you read JunkYardBlog religiously? You really ought to. It's one of the best blogs out there, hands down. Any time I'm in a time crunch looking for a post to nominate for the Council (usually I pick one during the week, but sometimes I forget) that's where I start, because within about 5 minutes, I can usually find a post that is on par with or better than anything else I've read that week. Anyway, enough preamble. Here's what I actually have to say:

In this post, JYB takes on evolution, creation, ID, and however else you might care to think about us getting here in one of the most calm, well reasoned, and well spoken ways I've heard in a long time. And if you were wondering, after my earlier post, what I think about evolution, the best answer may in fact be, what he said.
The problem with the Darwinian model is that it doesn't really stand up too well to microbiology, a world Darwin knew nothing about. He built his theory watching turtles and bird beaks; he didn't know a thing about forms smaller than his microscope could see, and that's the majority of all lifeforms on earth.

In the world of microbiology, there are tiny entities made of multiple parts that cannot survive if they lose any of those parts, and there are complex micro systems that must be in entirely in place and functional in order for higher lifeforms to survive and thrive. To take just one example, humans need the ability to coagulate blood in order to survive. If we didn't have that ability, the first of our kind would have bled to death after his first fleshwound. The process of coagulation requires more than 20 separate chemicals in the blood, all of which must be present, and they are unique to that process. They don't do anything else when they're not coagulating our blood, and they must be triggered in succession at the right times or they will either act to coagulate our blood when we don't need it--forming lethal clots--or they won't act and we'd all bleed to death. The coagulation system is irreducibly complex, since it can't function without all of its parts. Take out even one chemical and it's useless. Disturb its chain reaction and we die. And why would a species' biology retain chemicals 1-20--just on the off chance that #21 is the one that makes the system work? That's not how blind nature is supposed to work.


Darwin would have that system built chemical by chemical until it worked. Meanwhile, the organism that needs that system now dies the first time it cuts itself on a blade of grass and the species never gets fruitful and multiplies, and never evolves into anything else. Do you see the problem here? Darwinian evolotion is inadequate to understanding the irreducibly complex biological systems nearly all lifeforms need to survive, systems that can't be built block by block. These systems either work in whole or not at all, and if they don't work the species dies out. Noting similarities between beaks or feet isn't going to cut it anymore. You have to understand the systems inside those feet that power the thing that walks around on them, and Darwin does a poor job of it.
This has been my objection to evolution all along. Also sexual reproduction. In my last biology class, we learned about all of the evolutionary advantages of sexual reproduction. I never really understood, however, how sexual reproduction evolved. I mean, even if the first sexually reproducing male critter did manage to evolve a penis and testicles and the appropriate duct work and somehow figure out how to undergo meiosis, and not only undergo meiosis, but create cells through meiosis that were either ambulatory or had a really good delivery system (and by the way, this is one of my pet peeves about evolutionary theories as they were taught to me -- you can't "learn" meiosis, you can't "decide" to make sperm, etc! Why do all the textbooks say things like "the bacteria learned to live in the fireswamp." They're bacteria! A) they can't learn, and B) if you go into the fireswamp and die, you're dead, game over, no more learning. End rant), all in one generation (because until it all works, it's not a natural advantage, which is why under Darwin, there's no good reason for these things to randomly build up over time), he'd have to be in the same swamp/forest/field of another of his kind who had mutated in such a way as to develop all the appropriate female hardware, and not just any female reproductive organs -- the sorts that would fit with his organs, and meiosis, and her cells produced by meiosis would have to be the sorts of cells that would be receptive to combining with the sorts of cells lurking inside the male critter, and they'd have to be at the same place, at the same time in the gazillion years of evolutionary history, and have to find each other, and figure out what to do with each other once they found each other, and then "figure out" how to lay an egg or have a pregnancy or whatever it is they were equipped to do, and then those little things would have to be born both male and female and not get eaten by the nearest asexual thing or squashed or whatever, and then... yeah. Maybe you believe in chance on that level. I don't. I also don't buy lottery tickets. In any case, I'm not trying to stir up a whole evolution vs creation vs ID vs whatever else ails you debate. I just don't buy it. You can buy it. I consider it defective.

Career Change!

Had I known about opportunities such as these, perhaps I would have stayed in the sciences and not become a musician after all:
THE Pentagon considered developing a host of non-lethal chemical weapons that would disrupt discipline and morale among enemy troops, newly declassified documents reveal.

Most bizarre among the plans was one for the development of an "aphrodisiac" chemical weapon that would make enemy soldiers sexually irresistible to each other. Provoking widespread homosexual behaviour among troops would cause a "distasteful but completely non-lethal" blow to morale, the proposal says.

Other ideas included chemical weapons that attract swarms of enraged wasps or angry rats to troop positions, making them uninhabitable. Another was to develop a chemical that caused "severe and lasting halitosis", making it easy to identify guerrillas trying to blend in with civilians. There was also the idea of making troops' skin unbearably sensitive to sunlight.

The proposals, from the US Air Force Wright Laboratory in Dayton, Ohio, date from 1994. The lab sought Pentagon funding for research into what it called "harassing, annoying and 'bad guy'-identifying chemicals". The plans have been posted online by the Sunshine Project, an organisation that exposes research into chemical and biological weapons.

Spokesman Edward Hammond says it was not known if the proposed $7.5 million, six-year research plan was ever pursued.
On second thought, I think I'll keep my day job.

Oh, and one other thing -- once the Pentagon makes this aphrodisiac, what if we get into a "friendly fire" situation, or have some of our guys down wind? What will that do to Don't-Ask, Don't Tell? And more importantly, can I have some?

Πέμπτη, Ιανουαρίου 13, 2005

Shrum

I'm glad my tuition dollars are going to good use.

Pysankyblogging

Tonight, while I ought to have been writing, but was instead engaging in the far more pleasurable activity of talking to Heidi, I decided to work on some pysanky. For those of you who aren't familiar with it, pysanky is the ancient Ukranian (and other places in that neck of the woods) art of egg decorating. They're generally referred to as Ukranian Easter Eggs, although they predate Christ by a good long while. In any case, my (non-Ukranian) grandmother taught me how when I was about 9 and I've been doing them ever since. If you want to see a full page of my work, you can go here. Otherwise, just scroll down. I made an egg for one of my good friends. Here's what it looked like when I'd only done the white and yellow:

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This was after I'd added the orange and red:

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This was I'd done the final color, black, but before I'd taken off the wax:

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And this is the final product from the top:

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And from the side:

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Bonus: Note Katie's amazing technicolor dreamhands!


UPDATE: Now the link to my other work isn't broken. Go look, they're pretty!

Calling a Theory a Theory

So a judge in Georgia blocked an Atlanta school system from placing the following stickers on their science textbooks:
This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered.
Okay, two things.

1) Evolution IS a theory. Or, rather, evolution as an origin of life, is a theory. Micro-evolution, at least, is a fact, because we are able to observe it. As for the origins of life, we weren't there, we can't test it, the best we're ever gonna get in this world is a theory. You can take it as fact, but if you're following the scientific method, if you can't PROVE it, it's a theory. If evolution was a fact, we'd call it Darwin's Law of Evolution, not his Theory of Evolution. Nothing wrong with being a theory -- plenty of important things that we base our scientific understanding around are theories and that's fine. In science, being elevated to the level of theory is a nice promotion over being a lowly hypothesis. It's still one rung below being a Law, but you know, not everything can be. So don't get too bent out of shape about it.

2) It is a sad commentary on the state of our schools that any admonition to approach any sort of material with an open mind, to study it carefully and to critically consider it is ever required. If we're not teaching that, we're screwing up somewhere along the way. When it comes down to it, it would be more useful for students to be able to evaluate evidence clearly than to know ten "facts" about evolution.

Some choice quotes from people interviewed for the article:
''By denigrating evolution, the school board appears to be endorsing the well-known prevailing alternative theory, creationism or variations thereof, even though the sticker does not specifically reference any alternative theories,'' U.S. District Judge Clarence Cooper said.
Once again, calling a theory a theory doesn't denigrate it.
''This is a great day for Cobb County students,'' said Michael Manely, an attorney for the parents who sued over the stickers. ''They're going to be permitted to learn science unadulterated by religious dogma.''
Um, no, not exactly. The belief that evolution is a fact is a belief, just like the belief that creationism is a fact is a belief. Evolution is a belief backed up by a widely held scientific theory, but if you go about asserting that it's a fact, you're the one being dogmatic, sorry. Science calls evolution a theory. So should you.

From the Department of Not How I Would Have Solved It

Pyongyang's new nutritional strategy
North Korea has launched an intensive media assault on its latest arch enemy - the wrong haircut.

A campaign exhorting men to get a proper short-back-and-sides has been aired by state-run Pyongyang television.

The series is entitled Let us trim our hair in accordance with Socialist lifestyle.

While the campaign has been carried out primarily on television, reports have appeared in North Korean press and radio, urging tidy hairstyles and proper attire.

It is the strongest media campaign against men's sloppy appearances mounted in the reclusive and impoverished Communist state in recent years.

The propaganda drive on grooming standards has gone a stage further than previous attempts. This time television identifies specific individuals deemed too shoddy.

Pyongyang television started the campaign last autumn with a five-part series in its regular TV Common Sense programme.

Stressing hygiene and health, it showed various state-approved short hairstyles including the "flat-top crew cut," "middle hairstyle," "low hairstyle," and "high hairstyle" - variations from one to five centimetres in length.

The programme allowed men aged over 50 seven centimetres of upper hair to cover balding.

It stressed the "negative effects" of long hair on "human intelligence development", noting that long hair "consumes a great deal of nutrition" and could thus rob the brain of energy.

Men should get a haircut every 15 days, it recommended.
Well, that's one way of ensuring that your population is properly nourished. Another might be, oh, FEEDING THEM? That's a novel idea!

Oh, and another thing -- do women not need their intelligence to develop? Do they not need brain energy? Apparently the hair in the Propaganda Department isn't short enough yet, because this campaign seems to be the result of a weak intellect.

Oh, and one MORE thing -- what about the Dear Leader, His Hairness himself? I've heard that he may be a bit of a persona non grata around those parts now, but if he's not -- what about HIS hair?

Subway Mayhem

I've been sick for the past few days, and so today I decided to go down to the University Health Clinic in the hope that they'd give me drugs (they did -- a decongestant and a new inhaler). The one major glitch in this whole adventure was trying to actually get there. The clinic is at 8th and Broadway, and I smack dab in the middle of the Upper East Side. I take the 6 train, usually, and it's busy and crowded, but it works. The trouble is, the 4-5-6 line is the only one that services the UES and if something happens to it, a very sizable chunk of the population of Manhattan is stranded. Also parts of the Bronx. So today, I got to my usual stop (77th street) and was told there was no downtown service on the 6. Okay, fair enough, decided I'd do the old "take the uptown train to 86th street and ride express downtown" switcheroo, but that turned out to be a definitive no-bo as well, because by that time, there was no express service either. And this is the middle of rush hour, now. They're herding us all upstairs to take buses, which is in defiance of commuting physics, because a fully packed rush-hour subway train can hold about 2000 folks, and a bus, even a double one, can't hold anything near that many people. And it takes FOREVER to jam people onto a bus, much longer than it does a subway train, and the next buses can't pull up until the old ones have left and the people are packed so densely on the sidewalk that people are walking in the street and then traffic's getting backed up and more people are coming every minute and yeah. Not good. At least the west side has 3 subway lines. We only have 1. In any case, eventually, after nearly getting on about 9 buses, I eventually made it on one, rode it to 59th street, and transfered to a W which took me down to 8th and Broadway, depositing me at the clinic just shy of 2 hours from when I had left my apartment. In retrospect, walking would have been significantly faster. Anyway, lest you think my plight bad, consider that of the man who was the cause of all this mess:
Rush-hour subway service on the east side of Manhattan was nightmarish this morning for thousands of commuters after a man was pinned underneath a No. 6 train at the 110 Street station.

Downtown local service was suspended from 7:20 to shortly after 9 a.m. and all service on the 4, 5 and 6 lines throughout Manhattan ceased entirely during a stretch.

By 9:30 a.m., it had all been cleared, transit officials said.

It was unclear if the man, who later died, jumped, fell or was pushed onto the tracks, said James Anyansi, a spokesman for NYC Transit.

He said the agency was investigating.

Τετάρτη, Ιανουαρίου 12, 2005

This Is Depressing

I realize I'm a little behind on this, but I had company and then I was sick and am just now getting around to complaining about this:
The study found the likelihood of marriage increased by 35 percent for boys for each 16-point increase in IQ.

But for girls, there is a 40-percent drop for each 16-point rise, according to the survey by the universities of Aberdeen, Bristol, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

The study is based on the IQs of 900 men and women between their 10th and 40th birthdays.
Now, I did some math, and a little bit of research and it's not pretty. I couldn't find a good statistic for the chances that a woman in her 20s would marry at some point, but even if you assumed the rate as an impossible 100%, my chances suck. Really suck. I range from a fairly generous 12.9% to the more depressing 2.79%. If you put the marriage rate at, say 75%, things get worse. And they say science makes life better.

Oh, and if you factor in, for example, Caltechgirl, who is married and throwing off the statistics for all of us, what it all boils down to is that I'm doomed.

Via Althouse

Ask The Mango

Every now an again, as a public service, I answer your search strings, just in case you didn't find what you were looking for and happen back. Or in case someone has a similar problem of knowledge. In the past, I've provided the lyrics to The Victors and I've provided the identity of its composer (Elbel), I've provided pictures of Mary Beth Cahill. That's just how helpful I am.

...Which leads us to today's query.
what century is Arthur Miller
Well, my friend, the answer is "Just short of a full one". I had several encounters with him, in person, in April, and he's very much still alive. There's no photographic evidence that I've ever met him, which is a long and traumatic story that I'll tell if you really want me to, but the long and the short of it is that he's still alive and as liberal as ever. He's really old though -- Arthur Miller was born in 1915 and will, Lord willing, be celebrating his 90th birthday this year. Arthur Miller is still writing, and has at least one new play (Resurrection Blues, 2002) in the 21st century, but basically, Arthur Miller the dominant American playwright of the 20th century.

Any other questions? Ask the Mango.

Proud to Be A Missourian

< sarcasm >Heartwarming tales like thisare the reason I'm so proud to be from Missouri. < /sarcasm >
Washington, DC, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- The U.S. Supreme Court Monday let stand a lower-court ruling that forces Missouri to let the Klan participate in an "Adopt-a-Highway program.

The Missouri program lets volunteers pick up litter along a designated section of highway every six months and put the litter in bags. The bags are carted away by state employees.

Signs at each end of the designated section contain the name of the adopter.

The Ku Klux Klan applied to adopt a highway section, and when denied, went to federal court. When a federal judge ruled for the Klan, saying the denial violated their First Amendment rights, the state amended the program to exclude participants with a history of violence, as noted by state or federal courts.

The Klan filed a new application in 2001. That too was rejected, but a federal judge and then a federal appeals court ruled against the state, again citing the First Amendment.

The state then asked the Supreme Court for review, which was denied Monday without comment.
We call this the "White Trash Picks up Highway Trash" program. If I recall correctly, they very nearly had their participation in the program revoked a few years back for not keeping their bit of highway adequately clean. Figures.

Τρίτη, Ιανουαρίου 11, 2005

Yeah

This makes me very happy.

Winners!

This week's winners are:

Council:
Student's Classroom Beating Caught On Videotape
The Education Wonks

Non-council:
More UNreality... But the Dutch Get It
The Diplomad


Full results here

I Knew I Loved Him!

So he sings, he dances, he acts, he's beautiful, and most importantly, he supports new works of musical theatre! Look!
He's the best at what he does, and what he does is dance and sing. Who would have imagined that taking the role of feral, berserker mutant Wolverine in the first X-Men film would lead in a straight line to making a three show deal with Disney to produce musicals?

Good for Hugh Jackman. The boy likes to sing and dance, and with this big deal he'll be getting plenty of chances to do just that. In talking about the deal, Jackman mixed his metaphors like greens in a salad:  "As an art form, the musical is Mount Everest. Tough to pull off, but exhilarating and timeless when it works. And when it is done badly, it stinks to high heaven." It's little known that Everest is known locally as Smelly Mountain.

Disney and Jackman's new production company (which includes John Palermo, Bryan Singer's assistant on X-Men, and Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who executive produced the feature version of Chicago and are producing Hairspray) will be producing as many as three shows at the same time, including possible remakes, but Jackman is hoping for only originals. Don't be surprised to see some of these entering film development either.
A good guy, that Hugh Jackman.

Δευτέρα, Ιανουαρίου 10, 2005

A Letter

Dear New York Times,

You seem to be laboring under the impression that you are indispensible. You're not. If you would like to continue to be an important part of how people process their news, you won't go to an expensive subscription model. The fact is, you just aren't worth it. $39.95 a month? To subscribe to the New York Friggin' Times Website? Are you NUTS? I get unlimited access to the whole friggin' internet for less than that a month. If you were thinking along the lines of TNR or NRO -- a subscription in the neighborhood of $20 a year for premium content, plus plenty of free content, you might be able to get away with it. But $9.95-$39.95 a month? No. Just...no. Your reporting is generally okay, but not anything that can't be covered by a reading CNN.com/FoxNews, the AP wire, the Post, and Drudge. You've got a couple of decent editorialists, and a fair number of really horrid editorialists, and when it all comes down to it, I can find better, more interesting opinion columns on any number of blogs provided, again, for free. Oh, and one more thing -- we're not puppies.
Sulzberger declines to take a side in this debate, but sounds as if he is leaning toward a pay site. "It gets to the issue of how comfortable are we training a generation of readers to get quality information for free," he says. "That is troubling."
You're not trainin' us nothin'. Or in any case, we're already very trained, and there's no going back from that. Information has been getting progressively freer since, oh, about 1950, and it's not going to get less so. We'll give up our NYTimes before we'll give up our informational freedom. I'm sorry, it's just not going to happen.

That is all.

Wicked

Poor Idina! She was scheduled to do her last performance as Elphaba on Sunday, but apparently injured herself at the very end of the show and they had to send out Shoshana two days early. I hadn't realized Idina was leaving so soon (I knew she was leaving sometime this month) -- that would explain the lottery line at the Gershwin being literally around the block Saturday night. It would also, explain, incidentally, the fact that the matinee was getting out at about 5:30 -- it should have been done at about 4:45, but at 5:30 people were pouring out of the building, which I though was odd. Apparently, however, because of Idina's injury, they had to hold the show (or at least, the last 5 or so minutes of it) for 45 minutes while they greened up Shoshana. Everything makes sense now.

Παρασκευή, Ιανουαρίου 07, 2005

An Equation

Me: What should I wear for [situation X]?
Gay Friend: Hot, red, low-cut.

Solve for X.

Τετάρτη, Ιανουαρίου 05, 2005

Airport Blogging

Here I am in the Springfield-Branson Regional Airport, trying to get back to New York City. Thus far, it's not going well. My flight first flight was supposed to leave here for O'Hare (curses be upon it) at 2:45, but as you can see, it's about 5PM CST and I'm still here. Our plane, thankfully, is here, has been since 3 something, but we're not on it and we're not going anywhere soon. Well, maybe. We have a 5:19 departure time, supposedly, but really, we don't know. I had a pleasant surprise upon arriving at the airport, when I learned that the airline (American) had automatically put me on a later connecting flight cuz there was no way in heck I was going to make it onto the original one. Hopefully I'll make my new flight. Whatever happens, I really really don't want to spend the night at O'Hare. Been there, done that.

Tomorrow, my best friend, Susan, will be attempting to fly to New York on United Airlines. It's like a race -- hopefully, given that I have a 24 hour head start, I'll win. Once she gets to New York, she'll be staying with me for the next week and we'll be doing all sorts of fun touristy and non-touristy and otherwise New Yorky things. Among our plans: the Met, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, a Broadway (or maybe Off-, better stuff there anyway) show that meets my exacting specifications, and lots of other stuff.

Σάββατο, Ιανουαρίου 01, 2005

Council Results, Double Edition

Another double-dose of Watchersy goodness!

Last week's results:
COUNCIL
Witchhunt
Dr. Sanity

NON-COUNCIL
Ratman of the Far Abroad
The Diplomad

Ten More Reasons to Hate Rumsfeld
Sean Gleeson


This week's results:
COUNCIL
Spinning the Numbers
Alpha Patriot

NON-COUNCIL
Academic Freedom, Hate Mail and David Horowitz
La Shawn Barber's Corner

Evacuation

How do you evacuate Manhattan? Can it be done? Has anyone thought about this? I'd really like an answer, partially because I live there and partially because a lot of other people do too, and partially because, if you think 9/11 did nasty things to the global economy, just imagine what taking out the whole island would do to it. It wouldn't be pretty. I don't think Manhattan Island is at a huge tsunami risk, largely because a tsunami would take out Staten Island, Queens, Brooklyn and the rest of Long Island, but Manhattan and the Bronx are relatively protected. However, I once read that about the worst natural disaster possible in the US would be for a hurricane to hit New York City. Now, I realize that if we had a major Atlantic Ocean hurricane, it would definitely affect the whole of the eastern seaboard and we'd need to evacuate them too, but I think New York City's a special case. Here's why:

In pretty much all of the US, the car to adult people ratio is real close to 1:1. If you need to evacuate, say, Springfield, MO, you have a certain amount of task in front of you in getting the word to everyone, but that's the hardest part. Then everyone can get in their car and drive someplace else. Sure, traffic is a problem, but for the most part, it's not that hard of an evacuation becaue people can self-evacuate. Manhattan, however, is different. For a long list of reasons, almost no one has a car, 78% I read some where. The population is over 1.5 million. Do the math -- we're talking about 1.2 million pedestrians on a smallish island. Furthermore, if you've got a big hurricane coming, you pretty much need to evacuate the other boroughs and Long Island too, and probably eastern New Jersey , which means a) that effectively wipes out any easy-to-get-to spots to put the Manhattanites, and b) you now have a problem about 8-14 million people strong, not just 1.2 million. And not that many people in the outer boroughs have cars either. So how do you get everyone out? There aren't any subways that go to New Jersey and a limited number of trains. Certainly not enough to move 10 million people in 24 hours. Maybe you can't evacuate it. The trouble is, though, you can't very well ride out a hurricane there either. A big hurricane with 17-20 foot storm surges would put JFK underwater, as well as parts of Manhattan. Furthermore, it would flood most of the subway tunnels which would a) drown anyone in them and b) do some nasty things to the electrical grid, most likely. High winds could very easily shatter the windows in most of the skyscrapers, and you can't very well board up the Empire State Building or the gazillion smaller huge glass buildings. And it's not as if you can move inland while remaining on the island -- you're never more than a mile and a half from water, and rarely even that. As for myself, I live one block from the East River. That's not far. You're the mayor or governor -- you've got a huge hurricane coming and about 14 million people on about 4 islands, 1.2 on one of them. So what do you do?