Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog
Monday 6 July 2015

Astronomers have discovered compelling evidence of alien life on the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko:

Evidence of alien life is "unequivocal" on the comet carrying the Philae probe through space, two leading astronomers have said.

[Astrobiologist] Chandra Wickramasinghe said: "What we're saying is that data coming from the comet seems to unequivocally, in my opinion, point to micro-organisms being involved in the formation of the icy structures, the preponderance of aromatic hydrocarbons, and the very dark surface.

"These are not easily explained in terms of pre-biotic chemistry.

"The dark material is being constantly replenished as it is boiled off by heat from the Sun. Something must be doing that at a fairly prolific rate."

Welcome to the future.

Monday 6 July 2015 10:27:32 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Astronomy#
Sunday 5 July 2015

The weather's perfect, there are holiday parties, and possibly some hiking. So not much blogging this weekend. There was also a small Ribfest nearby, but aside from Rod Tuffcurls & the Bench Presses, kind of disappointing (especially the vendor who ran out of ribs).

More later as circumstances warrant.

Sunday 5 July 2015 09:12:35 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Chicago | Kitchen Sink | Weather#
Thursday 2 July 2015

Here's the semi-annual Chicago sunrise chart . (You can get one for your own location at http://www.wx-now.com/Sunrise/SunriseChart.aspx .)

Thursday 2 July 2015 12:22:59 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Astronomy#

Remy Porter at The Daily WTF points out the implementation issues with marriage equality:

In a landmark decision, the United States Supreme Court revised the business requirements and integrity constraints on the marriage relationship, removing some legacy constraints and essentially updating to better reflect the actual needs of their end users. This policy decision now has to be implemented in every state, county, town and hamlet across the country. Every change breaks somebody’s workflow, and this one is no exception.

In the end, this might not be changing requirements, as much as it might be poor assumptions. We’ve all seen articles like Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Time and Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Names. The choices we make in writing software can reveal our own assumptions and biases, and it behooves us in the industry to keep that in mind when interpreting business requirements. @qntm explores that idea from a database design perspective, both before the Supreme Court’s decision, and after.

Porter's post got me thinking about data design for marriage licenses, and the bad designs I've had to implement because of politics.

Thursday 2 July 2015 11:14:13 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | US | Software | Business#
Wednesday 1 July 2015

As feared, last month was the wettest June on record in Illinois, and the second-wettest month of all time:

The statewide average precipitation for June 2015 in Illinois was 242.1 mm, based on available data through June 30. That is 135.4 mm above the average June precipitation, and the wettest June on record for Illinois.

In addition to being the wettest June on record, it is the second wettest month on record for Illinois. Only September 1926 was wetter at 244.4 mm – just 2.3 mm higher.

Meanwhile, in Chicago, it was the cloudiest June in all 122 years of records, in part because we're covered in Canadian wildfire smoke making everything a little hazy.

On the other hand, it got up to 35°C in London today—and they don't generally have air conditioning over there. Yow.

Wednesday 1 July 2015 14:04:47 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Chicago | London | Weather#

For no reason other than it was out last night:

Wednesday 1 July 2015 10:56:01 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Photography | Astronomy#
Tuesday 30 June 2015

And the Daily Parker suffers. This is my 38th post this month, making June 2015 the slowest month on the blog since November 2010, the last month of my MBA.

Let's see if I can do better in July.

Tuesday 30 June 2015 17:07:55 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Blogs#

No, really. Today will have 86,401 seconds in it, as opposed to the usual 86,400 seconds that every day for the last 18 years has had.

Because the earth interacts with lots of other gravity sources in the universe—most notably the moon—its rotation sometimes speeds up and sometimes slows down. Over the last 18 years or so, the planet has lost an entire second because of these perturbations, requiring us to update our most accurate clocks to compensate. Of course, when those clocks get updated, there's a trickle-down effect, because so much of what we do in the 21st Century requires really, really accurate timekeeping.

So, this evening in Chicago, the 6pm hour will have 3,601 seconds in it as the master clocks all over the planet add their leap second at 23:59:60 UTC.

Enjoy your extra second.

Tuesday 30 June 2015 09:11:24 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Software | Cool links | Security | Astronomy#
Monday 29 June 2015

People in Los Angeles talk about the "June Gloom," a common weather pattern that makes L.A. weather gloomy in the late spring. We don't typically have this phenomenon in Chicago. This month, however, is the gloomiest June ever here, with only 45.7% of possible sunshine through yesterday, and clouds today and predicted for tomorrow.

This month is already the fourth wettest month in Illinois history (and the wettest June in state history) with statewide average precipitation of 227.8 mm through Saturday. Much of the state is having more rain today, so it's reasonably likely that June 2015 will end as the second-wettest month in state history. We'll find out Thursday or next Monday when all the figures are in.

We Chicagoans are used to changing weather, and to some degree we enjoy it. We really dislike persistent stretches of unpleasant weather. Let's hope the weather changes in a few days. We're tired of the clouds and rain.

Monday 29 June 2015 14:10:57 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Chicago | Weather#
Sunday 28 June 2015

The Chicago Pride Parade staging area is at the end of my street, so Parker and I had to at least see it. Money shot:

That's the Stanley Cup, back in Chicago where it belongs.

And just think of the hundreds of couples breaking up this weekend:

"Honey! We can get married now!"

"...um..."

Sunday 28 June 2015 13:42:48 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Chicago | Kitchen Sink | US#
Saturday 27 June 2015

Oh, shit.

Tomorrow will be the most epic Pride Parade in Chicago's history.

It starts four blocks from my house, and the staging area extends down Montrose past the end of my street.

Good thing I'm not going to be exhausted from having a party tonight, or have anywhere to go tomorrow morning...

On the other hand, this is the coolest map I've seen in a long time:

States where Same-Sex Marriage is Legal

Updated 26 June 2015

Know hope.

Saturday 27 June 2015 07:56:59 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Chicago | US#
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David Braverman and Parker
David Braverman is the Chief Technology Officer of Holden International in Chicago, and the creator of Weather Now. Parker is the most adorable dog on the planet, 80% of the time.
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