Everything you think you know about kids today may be wrong, shuttle pictures worth oogling, the Red River wins in Moorhead, cigarettes and the Constitution, and landing a plane on a highway.
Once you get past the Arizona phobia against foreign things, the dust-up created by the use of the term "haboob" by meteorologists is worth considering.
The New York Times, riffing off a series of letters to the Arizona Republic newspaper, says the use of "haboob" to describe the dust storms that have plagued the state this summer is causing plenty of angst:
Dust storms are a regular summer phenomenon in Arizona, and the news media typically label them as nothing more than that. But the National Weather Service, in describing this month's particularly thick storm, used the term haboob, which was widely picked up by the news media.
"Meteorologists in the Southwest have used the term for decades," said Randy Cerveny, a climatologist at Arizona State University. "The media usually avoid it because they don't think anyone will understand it."
Well, yeah. Because a dust storm by any other name is still a dust storm. Why not just call it what it is and spare the meteorologicalspeak?
A haboob is a particularly intense dust storm, not unlike what you might call a "big honkin' dust storm."
Years ago, we referred to tornadoes as "tornadoes," not "tornadaic activity." Last week, a local meteorologist tweeted, "tornado vortex signature (TVS) near Milaca." Vortex. Latin. Don't try that in Arizona.
We don't get tornadoes and thunderstorms anymore. We get approaching bow echoes or hook echoes. I forget which is which, which is why they're lousy ways to tell us what's coming.
That, of course, is an entirely different issue than the xenophobia that some of the letters seem to betray.
Excuse me, Mr. Weatherman!
Who gave you the right to use the word "haboob" in describing our recent dust storm?
While you may think there are similarities, don't forget that in these parts our dust is mixed with the whoop of the Indian's dance, the progression of the cattle herd and warning of the rattlesnake as it lifts its head to strike.
We have our own culture, too, sir, and we don't take kindly to being robbed of it. - Diane Robinson, Wickenburg
Why does it surprise Arizonans when our legal aliens (non-natives) call dust storms haboobs?
These are the same strangers who have made no attempt to learn how to pronounce state names and landmarks given to us by our pioneers, Native Americans and Hispanic cultures, ranging back hundreds of years.
We can help by correcting the average newcomer.
But when the media throw out these mangled attempts to the masses, we have to put our foot down.
I say tie them to a wagon wheel and run 'em off the Mogollon Rim. - Bill West, Tempe
I remember I first heard the word in a weather report about 15 years ago. A self-satisfied young reporter said on TV that a haboob had hit the East Valley.
I figured it was the reporter's way of distinguishing himself from the pack. I laughed at his use of fancy words to describe a good old-fashioned dust storm.
As any longtime Arizonan can attest, there is nothing better to a kid than to see a dust storm approach and to run out and meet it.
We'd jump, yell and scrunch up our face so that the dust would gather in the wrinkles. We could hold our hand in front of our face and not be able to see it. Arizona dust storms were a thing of wonder.
Now, "haboob" has been imposed on us, and we can do nothing about it.
Just check the headline on Tuesday's Valley & State section, "Haboobs hit again."
Haboob doesn't even sound pretty. - Mary C. Leon, Phoenix
The situation in Oslo today is, of course, horrendous. An apparent car bomb decimated the area around the government headquarters, and a gunman opened fire at a party youth camp where the prime minister was to make an appearance. Are they connected? We don't know. In fact, while we know what is going on, we don't really have a clue why.
A YouTube video captured the initial scene of devastation.
Now imagine if that were Times Square in New York. Wired suggests the method of attack -- no one has yet said for sure it was a car bomb -- mirrors the technique that a would-be bomber tried in Times Square last year:
As of this writing, there don't appear to be body parts around the hulk of the car, or other indications that it was set off by a suicide driver. That would indicate the style of attack aped that of would-be Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad, who loaded an SUV with fireworks, gas and propane, ignited the device and walked away, expecting the car to detonate.
"That's been so common that it's not necessarily so sophisticated," says Hank Crumpton, the former State Department counterterrorism chief. "Hezbollah's used both suicide driver & remote detonations. Oklahoma City was remotely detonated, no suicide driver."
Here's live coverage from the BBC.
update 2:34 p.m. - Colleague Michael Olson has sent along a longer video taken in the immediate aftermath of the bombing.(1 Comments)
There's a suspect in the horrible shootings on Norway's Utoeya island in which at least 80 people are said to have been killed. He's not an Islamic militant (the stereotype of the terrorist as portrayed by the early speculation); he's a Norwegian Christian.
Anders Behring Breivik, 32, reportedly acted alone in the shooting and the earlier bombing in Oslo.
He's got a Twitter account with one tweet he made last week:
For some reason, 518 people are following Breivik on Twitter.
Mashable says the man also had a Facebook page, but it's been removed:
In Breivik's Facebook account, now removed, the suspect identifies himself as a Christian conservative. However, that was far from his only interest. Breivik also listed himself as a fan of World of Warcraft, Modern Warfare 2, bodybuilding and stock analysis. The account, which appeared to have only been started last week, was mostly filled with music videos. Breivik, who listed himself as single, said he had completed "3,000 hours of study in micro and macro finance, religion."
Reuters says the man's arrest may signal new fears that right-wing extremists will be a growing threat in Europe:
"If true this would be pretty significant - such a far-right attack in Europe, and certainly Scandinavia, would be unprecedented," said Hagai Segal, a security specialist at New York University in London.
"It would be the European/Scandinavian equivalent of Oklahoma City - an attack by a individual (with extremist anti-government views, linked to certain groups) aimed at the government by attacking its buildings/institutions."
Prior to the 9/11 attacks nearly 10 years ago, the threat of domestic extremist groups was the number-one security concern in the United States, too. Terrorism can be its most terrifying when the perpetrator looks like you.