Dave Barry

A tip for the hurricane season: Try to have some kind of a clue

The 2006 hurricane season is here, and if you’re a resident of Florida, you know what that means: It means you have the IQ of bean dip. If you had any working brain cells, by now you’d have moved to some less risky place, such as Iraq. This is especially true after last hurricane season, which was so bad that we went all the way through the alphabet of official names and had to refer to the last batch of hurricanes by making primitive grunting sounds.

Unfortunately, it appears we’re in for another bad season. The National Center for Making Everybody Nervous About Hurricanes is predicting that this season there will be 10 major hurricanes, defined as “hurricanes that cause Bryan Norcross to lose his voice.” According to the center’s computer simulations, at least four of those storms will hit the mainland United States, and at least one of those will come directly to your house and cause a tree branch, traveling at 150 mph, to impale you through your chest. (Bear in mind that these are only predictions. It could also be your skull.)


That’s why it is so important that you be ready for hurricane season. Here are some tips to help you prepare:

When a hurricane is approaching South Florida, we get a LOT of advance warning. Usually for the entire week leading up to its arrival, the newspaper prints large headlines that say HURRICANE COMING, along with many stories reminding people to stock up on water, gas and food. All the radio stations announce roughly every 25 seconds that a hurricane is coming and people will need water, gas and food. On TV, Bryan spends hour after hour pointing at the oncoming radar blob and rasping, in the voice of an ailing seal, about the need to stock up on water, gas and food.

So what happens, EVERY SINGLE TIME? I’ll tell you! Immediately after the hurricane passes, lines begin to form all over South Florida – lines of people, thousands of them, who are in desperate need of – water, gas and food! WHERE HAVE THESE PEOPLE BEEN? Did the hurricane winds just carry them here from Madagascar? Can they not function on their own for 24 hours without having to get into a line? How can they not even have WATER?? Were they not aware that, as the hurricane approached, they could have gotten all the water they needed MERELY BY TURNING ON THE FREAKING WATER FAUCET???

80% Fat Free Notebook

I’ve added another item to the “80% Fat-Free” universe… the 80% Fat Free Notebook. This is built with the new “Google Notebook” technology. Not sure how I’ll use it compared to how I use this blog or my del.icio.us site. I’ve heard this called “Google’s del.icio.us killer” but I don’t see it as the same thing. One is for noting sites, one is for noting fragments of content.

Four new search tools from Google…

Official Google Blog: Yes, we are still all about search: “Yes, we are still all about search

5/10/2006 12:20:00 PM
Written by Marissa Mayer, Vice President of Search Products and User Experience, Google

We are often asked at Google what we are doing to improve regular web search. There’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes, but today, at our press event, we announced four new products that will give you a better sense of how all this work becomes reality.

Our new products offer a pretty wide range of services and capabilities, but they have one thing in common: They all enhance and improve the search experience for our users.

– Google Co-op is a way for users to help us improve search. It lets people and organizations label web pages and create specialized links related to their unique expertise. Whether it’s information about a hobby, a profession, or an unusual interest, everyone can contribute to making Google search more relevant and useful for the entire community.

– Google Desktop 4 gives you another way to improve search, by personalizing your desktop. New ‘Google Gadgets’ deliver an array of information–ranging from games and media players to weather updates and news–straight to your desktop.

– Google Notebook (which we’ll be launching next week) is a personal browser tool that lets you clip text, images, and links from the pages you’re searching, save clippings to an online notebook, and then share notebooks with others.

Google Trends builds on the idea behind the Google Zeitgeist, allowing you to sort through several years of Google search queries from around the world to get a general idea of everything from user preferences on ice-cream flavors to the relative popularity of politicians in their respective cities or countries.